As a therapist, my NUMBER ONE recommendation for any of my clients’ first sessions is usually this:
MAKE. SELF. CARE. A. NON. NEGOTABLE.
Cliché, I know. I feel like there is so much out there across all media platforms about “self-care”, and how moms in particular, need to be doing it. And on the flip side, there are a million posts and articles about how moms don’t have the time, or the resources, or the energy. I know. I get it. I’m a mom too! But follow along with me for a minute while I explain some math…and a little imaginary/visualization exercise…
OK. I explain self-care using a cup. Usually, it’s my Starbucks cup that’s sitting next to me in my comfy office (I’m a therapist for MOMS and my office is directly next to a Starbucks AND a Target…how GENIOUS?!). OK. Back to my lesson…
SELF-CARE IS WHAT FILLS OUR CUPS. It doesn’t have to involve a 6-figure trip to the spa, or a vacation! It can be FREE, and only last 5 MINUTES! Self-care is anything that brings a smile to your face, a breath of fresh air into your day, an “aaahhhhh’ kind of moment. It can be a leisurely walk or a hard run. It can be 5 minutes of peace and quiet (maybe you have to lock yourself in your closet…you do what you can!) or a phone (not text) convo with your college bestie. It can be a mani or pedi, sure, or a date night! It can also be saying “no” to something that feels like an obligation and “yes” to yourself. See where I’m going with this? All of these “little” things, can add up, as they drop more into our cup. Lots of little droplets CAN ADD UP to having a full(ish) cup!
When our cup is FULL (ish), we are happier, more patient, show more compassion and grace, yell less, laugh more, have clearer minds and hearts, love harder, feel refreshed/rejuvenated (don’t go TOO crazy, we’re still moms…we just feel more refreshed than maybe newborn stage of mommin’??), breathe easier, work harder….do you feel me? Does anything resonate with you about feeling like your cup is FULL? It feels pretty darn awesome.
Here’s the flip side. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS IN A SINGLE DAY THAT TAKE FROM OUR CUP. POURS OUT OUR FULLNESS. OUR SENSE OF CALM. Rushed morning routine, meltdowns before 8am (yours or the kids...), email blowing up before you get into the office, kids arguing because one looked at the other, you didn’t sleep well last night, no coffee in the house (the WORST). And this can all happen before 9am! All of those “stressors”, we’ll call them….pour more and more from your cup. Take from your reserves. Little by little, or in full-on spill the whole cup on the floor.
Now, when our cup is EMPTY (or on fumes), we can feel anxious, even depressed. We tend to be more irritable, less compassionate, more exhausted, yell more, laugh less, worry more, sleep less, feel burnt out, have a harder time joining in, connect less, argue more. Not. Fun. Right? Anyone know the feeling when their cup is empty?? I do. It’s not pretty. Ask my husband! OR my kids…
REMEMBER I said it was a simple math equation? Or would this be a math manipulative? I don’t know….
SELF-CARE > LIFE STRESSORS IN ORDER TO KEEP SOMETHING IN YOUR CUP. So, not an “equation” but more of a word problem? Whatever. Read that again and take it in. If you have a TON of life stressors, add more self-care. If you do one thing for yourself and think “I’m good! I’d be selfish to do more!”, look at your life stressors again. And adjust. Am I making sense?
Self-care is NOT SELFISH. It is NOT a luxury (remember, it can be free and only take 5 minutes???). Self-care is a NON-NEGOTIABLE if we want to make it, mamas. Or ANYONE! Dads, millennials, single Gen Z-ers, baby-boomers. Anyone! And if you feel guilty taking care of yourself, or time away from the kids or family, that’s a WHOLE other blog post, so stay tuned ;-)