Standing in line at the grocery store you’re privy to a lot of conversations – whether you like it or not. You’re stuck there because you don’t dare move or you’ll lose your place in line and checking out will take even longer. So, you try not to listen to what people in line behind you are talking about, but there is always one in every crowd. It’s that person who talks loud enough for everyone miles away to hear.
She is behind you and talking about how some people are so selfish. An acquaintance of hers took the whole day off to go to a retreat and her husband is taking care of the kids.
“I can’t believe she’s being so selfish and making her husband the babysitter, so she could take a break.”
No wonder women feel so guilty when they have to leave their kids with their spouse to go to work or run errands. All family roles aren’t what they used to be. We have taught ourselves that self-care is wrong when it takes time away from others. How dare she think of herself at a time like this? Well, why shouldn’t she? Her husband is not a babysitter, he is obviously a caring parent who shares equal responsibility for raising the children and understands that his wife needs a break sometimes. We all do. To our single moms, your self care is SO important as well!
Self Sacrifice is Not Love, It’s Martyrdom
Women nurture children, run the household, manage a business, and all of that can take a toll on us mentally and physically. If you don’t allow yourself that occasional break you run the risk of falling into depression or suffer mental health issues. An engine can’t run when it is empty. You can’t help others when you yourself need help.
As mothers, we always put the needs of our children first. Our spouses are second, and family members third. We put ourselves last and taking care of our own needs often takes a back seat to everything else going on in our life. There is always something more important to be done. That’s why we seldom ever take a vacation, go to a hairstylist, or spend time alone doing something we love.
No One Is Capable of Being the Energizer Bunny… Give it up
The definition of selfish is being concerned with your own needs above anyone else. It is not selfish to need to recharge your batteries every now and again so you can keep going. Images of the energizer bunny come to mind, but it’s the same thing. How can you give to others if you drain yourself and have nothing left to give? It is essential to set and maintain boundaries, so our batteries don’t run out.
Put Your Own Mask on First!
Another example is when you board a plane anywhere you are given the airline travel tutorial that explains about the oxygen masks that will come down in the event the cabin loses air pressure. You are instructed to put your own mask on first, then put on your child’s mask. The reason for this is because at low air pressure you will pass out and lose consciousness; if you have your oxygen mask on it will not affect you. But should you be like many dutiful mothers out there and fumble trying to get your child’s mask on first and pass out before getting it on, you are no help to anyone because now all of you are unconscious. Who will make sure you get out safely?
Ladies, it is not selfish to take care of yourself first sometimes. You give to everyone else and sometimes it’s okay to say, “Hey, I need about an hour or so. Do you mind keeping an eye on the kids for a bit?” Husbands who know how much you do for others and value you as a person totally understand this and are fine with it. If you need an hour, a day, or a week at a special retreat, take it as an opportunity to recharge and re-energize yourself for your own mental health and well-being.
Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to go on a retreat, but there are little things you can do to practice good self-care and keep yourself healthy and balanced. Here are a few tips:
Eat Healthy Meals
It’s hard to come home at the end of the day and try to cook meals for your family that doesn’t come out of a can. One solution to this is to invest in a crockpot and prep all your meals for a week to save time.
Practice Good Hygiene
After the kids are fed and in bed, treat yourself to a nice hot shower. Turn off your phone (FB and Instagram can wait), take a long, luxurious shower or bubble bath, if you prefer. Lather up your hair and use the steam from the shower to apply a face and body scrub, shave legs, groom eyebrows, and apply moisturizer to your skin while it’s still damp from the shower. Take this time to pamper yourself with a mini – facial or oil treatment for your hair.
Maintain a Social Life
Keep in touch with friends and schedule time to spend doing fun things. Even if you don’t live in the same state, a weekly Skype call or video chat makes people feel more connected in their relationships. You’ve got to put yourself out there and be vulnerable.
Take Time to Relax
Try to do something you enjoy every day. That might mean dancing, watching a favorite TV show, working in the garden, painting or reading.
Find ways to relax and de-stress. Go for a walk in the park, do some yoga, take up meditation, or just sit and read a good book. All of these activities take you on a mental trip somewhere and you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel afterward.
So, to keep ourselves healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually we need to practice self-care daily and don’t listen to people who try to make you feel guilty for taking a little time for yourself. The lady in the grocery store is clueless and that type of thinking is why so many women suffer anxiety, depression, and mental stress.