Self-Care for the Exhausted Parent
I often think back to the days when I didn’t have to plan ahead for any activities outside of the home. I could call up my friends and go shopping on a moment’s notice or have an impromptu dinner on a Saturday night. But alas, those carefree days are behind me.
Right now in order to have some time to myself, I have to check in with people to make sure that someone trustworthy can spend time with the never ending energy that is my sons. And despite longing for some freedom and well deserved adult time, I find it difficult to arrange child care to have a few hours to do it.
Let me preface it by saying that my husband is always up for some father-son bonding and will gladly take them off my hands so I can relax or do something fun with my friends. But I choose to stay put and take care of household duties while he plays with our children. Not to say that puttering around the house isn’t important, but I do that every day and it is simply neither fun nor relaxing. I feel no difference between my weekdays and my weekends. The only way I know it’s the weekend, my husband is home to help share the load. So I continue running in my hamster wheel, unable to get off but getting progressively more tired and agitated.
In my motherhood rat race, I forget to take care of a very important person, me. I pour all my energy into my sons, our animals and our house. I hardly have any resources left for my husband and definitely leave nothing for myself. But it is so important to recharge, so that I can have energy to take care of everything. That is why I wanted to talk about self-care.
“Those individuals who care for others, either professionally or in personal life, may find themselves especially drained if they do not devote enough time to self-care. Once they have met their own needs, they may often find themselves better able to assist others in meeting their needs“.
And isn’t that what most mothers do: take care of everyone around them?
Self-Care – is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is not doing anything that does not bring us pleasure and we feel obligated to do. Self-care is very individual, as one thing that recharges one person may completely deplete another.
I am not the most social person and being out with big groups of people all the time drains me. However, going out every few weeks with close friends and seeing close friends on weekly basis helps me feel like a human being. I also enjoy being locked away in a quiet room with either my cat or my dogs and browse the internet for interesting stories on various subjects. I enjoy being in nature and just being quiet. Quiet is something I no longer get to experience as much as I’d like to. But you cannot expect quiet in a house with a boisterous toddler and even more boisterous preschooler.
Having self-care events planned gives us something to look forward to and allow us to establish a finish line. Self-care is not a passive activity and should be planned, scheduled and indulged in mindfully. We should also keep in mind that self-care involves activities that take care of us physically and mentally.
Here is a list of some self-care activities: (this is just to get you started thinking about what you can do for self-care)
Taking a shower or bath
Eating nutritious meals
Getting enough sleep
Wearing clean clothes
Putting on make-up
Getting hair and/or nails done
Going for a walk
Reading a book
Spending time with loved ones
Spending time alone
Engaging in a favorite hobby
Take a pledge to take care of yourself today because motherhood is like being in an emergency on a plane: secure your oxygen mask first, and then help those around you. What self-care activities do you like to partake in?
Quote of the Day:
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. ” – Deborah Day
Mental Health Tip of the Day:
Identify an activity that brings you joy. Once you have identified it, make a commitment to engage in this activity at least once a week. Check in with yourself often about how this activity made you feel and whether you feel recharged after it. If not, seek out a different activity that will help you recharge.