Feeling good is more important than anything else.
Life is short, especially our time being a parent. As a mother of a 22-year-old, I know this to be true. As moms, we spend way too much time worrying – worrying about what others think of us, worrying about getting things done, worrying about what our kids are doing and how to get them to cooperate more fully. All this worry is sucking our energy and vitality. It doesn’t help anyone and it’s not good.
The one thing that I regret about my parenting is that as a single mom, I spent way too much time worrying about all sorts of things and it affected my sleep, so I was tired much of the time. I wish I had taken better care of myself during those years. Here is an article I wrote about the Art of Self-Care for Mothers, describing a healing crisis I went through when my daughter was two:
20 years later, I’ve just recovered from a health issue that has shaken me to my core, turned my life upside down, and forced me to focus on self-care. I won’t go into the complex details, just know that it has not been fun. I am casting off old skin (literally) and releasing old ways of being. In addition to doing all the physical things that contribute to healing, I’ve been delving into the emotional and spiritual depths of myself. And that is where all the gifts are!
I’m trusting my inner wisdom in a deeper way. I’m learning to get out of my head and into my heart more frequently. I’m committed to noticing and deeply feeling everything I am feeling.
And I’m trying to find the joy in every moment, no matter how mundane, chaotic, annoying, or tragic it may seem. There is always something to be grateful for or happy about in every moment.
Feel as good as you can as often as you can!
In my opinion, this is the ultimate work of parenting.
But it’s so difficult, isn’t it?
Especially if you work outside the home in a full-time job, and many of you do. It’s a major challenge to balance work with family. Are you feeling stressed, rushed and tired a lot of the time?
What does your “happy place” look like? What does it take for you to get there?
It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Sometimes you need an afternoon off to get a massage and go for a walk in nature. But everyday self-care can be done in any moment; sometimes all it takes is just a few deep breaths and just a little shift in thinking.
Here are some suggestions for maintaining a happier, more peaceful state of mind:
- Recognize your stressors and do whatever you can to minimize them or cut them out entirely
- Be in Nature. Nature is good medicine
- Breathe deeply, frequently.
- Exercise – do some sort of exercise every day, even if it’s only for about 10-20 minutes. The key is doing exercise that is the most fun for you.
- Meditate (even 3-5 minutes can make a difference)
- Practice yoga – if you can’t get to a class, there are yoga videos that you can follow, or just take a short break sometime during your day to do a couple of poses on your own.
- Take an aromatherapy bath
- Eat chocolate!
- Visualize how you want your life to be
- Find something to be happy about in each moment
- Self-expression – for me it’s singing, dancing, and writing. For you it may be painting or some other form of art.
- Let go of the need to control others’ perceptions, opinions and just BE you. There is no need to prove yourself to anyone.
- Cultivate empathy for yourself. You are doing the best you can.
- Try not to take it personally when your kids act out.
- Trust your intuition. Go with what feels right, what your natural instincts are telling you.
- Create more playtime with your children
- Sing, dance, and laugh a lot with your children
- Turn conflicts into playful fun – you can do this by doing something funny and unexpected to get your child to laugh.
- Make a list of all your child’s positive aspects. Focus on this.
- If you find yourself in fear or worry, find your natural state of love by getting out of your head and into your heart as often as you can.
- Ask for help. Just pick up the phone and ask a friend or family member for what you need to make your life easier.
- Find a supportive group of moms in your area and meet regularly to laugh, to cry, to support each other
- Ask yourself: Where are you sacrificing yourself to others and giving yourself away to the detriment of your integrity, health and well-being?