How often in your day do you stop and think, I need to take some time for me now? I suspect rarely or never. As busy people we wear some many different hats during our day, parent, employee, entrepreneur, scientist, baker, nurse, teacher, counsellor and all round general problem solver. And sadly, a lot of these roles still fall on women, or as women we take them on. This is tricky when boundaries are blurred or become non-existent but the expectations, our own as well as others stay high to meet the challenges. And we are our own worst enemy- we agree to take on more, to help more, to organise and to drop everything to help others. Society definitely has placed expectations upon women to be the nurturers, as has our upbringing, and our need to be liked and to be needed. All we really want is some validation, and we feel resentful when we don't get it. My very wise son, Alex, told me recently that if you don't get it from others that you can give it to yourself. I am trying to practice this and find it helps me a great deal.
I think back to my time as a stay at home mum and how low I placed my needs compared to the others in my house. I loved being a stay at home mum, they are still my favourite times, but I simply did not consider my own needs as important so I was often quite exhausted. I wish I had modelled better self-care to my children as there are times I know I modelled people pleaser as my default and I really don't want that to be their default.
The problem with this is that we give everything to others but not to ourselves. Exhaustion and burnout are becoming more common. When you get to the end of the day having met the needs of everyone else there is very little time and space to nurture yourself. Why is it that we prioritise ourselves so little? We all know that for us to be in our best health that we must look after all aspects of our wellbeing. Mason Durie introduced the concept of Te Whare Tapa Whā which encompasses physical, spiritual, family and mental wellbeing. In order for us to be at our best we need to ensure that we look after ourselves, and all aspects of ourselves, so that we can look after others.
The importance of self-care is vital and without it you can become stressed, sick, and exhausted. Putting everything and everyone else above your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health means that you miss out on the important things in life like spending time with loved ones or doing what makes you happy.
Below is a list of self-care suggestions. Make it your plan to try and do one a day over the next few weeks and hopefully it will become a habit for you!
One of my favourite story books to remind you and your kids the importance of having some time, peace and quiet to yourself.
Self Care suggestions: