Self care is a buzz word at the moment, I keep seeing it pop up. So, what does self care mean? At first glance, it might just seem to be taking time out to have a spa day, do a face mask or have an undisturbed lie in.
But, if we dig a little deeper, it is actually so much more than that. It’s not about saying to hell with everything and doing your own thing, it’s more about self awareness and taking care of yourself on a deeper level.
Ever heard that saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup? When you’re a Mum, an employee, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister and countless other roles, it can all get a bit overwhelming. If you don’t look after yourself and your own well being, then how can you look after anyone else? If you were on an aeroplane and the oxygen masks came down, always apply your mask first before the children’s, so that you are OK to provide for them in the best way possible.
But I haven’t got time!
Of course, there are only so many hours in the day, we all know that. But just stop for one minute and take a look at what you’re doing in the day. Are you spending a lot of time scrolling through social media? I know I do, and it’s such a time suck. If I put the phone down and look around a bit, the other jobs call me, so it’s a kind of procrastination for me. The trick is to work out what you need to make you less stressed. Ha! The million dollar question.
It can be something as simple as taking a shower and loading the dishwasher, putting a wash on and putting the clothes away, so that you can concentrate on other tasks for your work or just chill out for an hour watching Netflix.
Try getting up just 10 minutes earlier to give you more time in the morning, to either get a couple of easy jobs done or just to have a less stressful school run.
Get the kids involved. I promise if you tell them every single day to turn the lights off, take their plates in and put their shoes away it does actually sink in eventually. All children can be given age appropriate chores and they love helping out. Older kids can do it for a bit of pocket money. Partners should be taking an equal role in the household chores, and I’m not just talking about the hoovering. Admin jobs like meter reading, school forms, comparing broadband providers and pet insurance should also be shared. Sometimes it’s the invisible load that women bear which gets too much. We take it all on ourselves thinking no one else could do it, when in fact it’s not true.
We have a calendar with five columns and everything goes on there. We both check it, and discuss things as equals. If your partner is the only one working then roles can be adjusted, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, ask them to be more involved, or take a look at what you’ve taken on, and cut back. You are the most important one, so learn to say NO!
One of the worst times I remember was before I had my third, my eldest was about to start school and my youngest was not yet 3. My husband broke his acetabelum, and was off his feet for three months! My workload doubled, plus I was still working 3 days a week as a midwife. We even had to get mobility aids like these from Fenetic Wellbeing. I got through it somehow, and we managed.
What self care means to me
For me, it’s knowing when I need time out. I don’t take on as much all myself now, and if I need a rest, I have it. I used to look at my partner sitting down relaxing and feel resentment towards him – how dare he relax when there’s all this mess everywhere and xyz to do! I’d end up causing an argument or just bottling it up. Now, we have a more equal role, and if he is resting, I may be busy, but then he will take over things when I need to rest. He’s better at some things, and I’m better at others, it works.
If I’m really tired and ratty, I’ll rest. If the children want me to do things with them, I’ll tell them I need to rest, or to ask Daddy. If Daddy isn’t there then they can snuggle up with me and we can do quiet things together. If I really don’t want to do something, I won’t. Saying no to your children is really hard, but it’s better than being Jekyll and Hyde, or rather Mary Poppins or Supernanny.
How do you practice self care? If you’re stuck on ideas, here’s 74!
Disclosure: collaborative post