You cannot control all life events that come your way, but you can control how you react and respond to them. You can control how you take care of yourself to ensure that you respond the way you want, rather than react the way you regret.
Self-Care plain and simple is the daily activities we do to look after ourselves, the process of looking after one’s self. And it is the hardest thing for some of us to do, myself included.
I, by nature, am a giver. My chameleon self likes to please others, in turn disregarding my own needs and desires. I put others first, often times resulting in personal frustration for not getting done what I want to get done. Frustration with others lack of initiative and grace. Frustration with others not caring about other people, as much as I would like or do. All of this results in me having TERRIBLE self-care routines and often times being a crabby, grumpy mommy and wife.
In the next few weeks I will post 4 different pieces of a self-care series, in the hopes of accomplishing two different things. Changing my daily routines and habits to help me put myself first, which then in turn will help my family. Giving you a few ideas on how to improve or add to your self-care routines.
The first thing I have to get rid of is the mom guilt. It is not a selfish thing to want some peace and quiet, some “me time”, some pampering “just because”. It is absolutely necessary. Our brains are wired to put our needs first, it’s primal. Once our basic needs are met, then we are able to provide assistance to others. Anyone remembering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Physiological (air, water, food, shelter, clothing). Safety (personal safety, financial security, health and well-being). These are the first 2 sections of Maslow’s pyramid. If our own basic needs are not met, we CANNOT care for another efficiently.
When I did parent training with inner-city families, I often used the airplane metaphor to relate the importance of self-care. Most have been on a plane. Those who have flown with kiddos knows that the flight attendant walks the aisles before take-off, and when he or she gets to your row, they ALWAYS tell you “place the mask on you first, then your child”. ALWAYS! That’s because, if you try and put the mask on your kiddo first, you may run out of oxygen and what good are you, the parent, if you’re passed out? Always place it on yourself first, then your child. Always take care of yourself first, then take care of your child.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can give, either professionally or personally. Every component of therapy begins with a self assessment. Often times, parents note that they are too stressed, too busy, too XYZ to complete the tasks that the therapist is asking. When it comes down to it, they are busy and that busy-ness leads to a lack of self-care time, which leads to reacting rather than responding to their children’s behaviors.
When parents (myself included) take the time to read a book, exercise, have friend time, do some retail therapy, they find themselves in a better place. Their mood is increased, and they are able to RESPOND to their child’s behaviors. They are able to validate and empathize with their child. They are able to teach their child the correct behavior.
This series will include tips on how to pamper yourself, distract yourself, focus and practice mindfulness, and get rid of the mom/dad guilt. It is important to do so. It is important to get our needs met, too. Our children need us to be 100% present and focused. They need to see our positive examples. Stay tuned for some fun and practical ways to get self-care in your daily life.
I would love to incorporate some of your favorite and most effective ways of doing self-care! Comment below with what you do for yourself.