We live in a world that is over saturated with distractions, materialistic happiness, and the mentality that busyness equals success. There are so many things that aren’t in our control that we tend to worry about, all of the time. We tend to over think the future, dwell on the past that we can not change, and get bombarded with distractions, such as Facebook and the media. No wonder so many people in the world are suffering from anxiety and depression.
On top of all this, add on being a mother! Oy!
Wanting to be successful and having a happy family is highly important to me but I was constantly going through my own waves of depression and anxieties.
And let me tell you, it sucks!
There were many times when I just shut down. The feelings of worthlessness and uselessness were suffocating. I would just sit down, watch tv, order food, and not do anything else. It was just too much for me to do anything else. I was done! But I noticed a pattern. These sensations always seemed happen when I felt overwhelmed. Seeing that life can be overwhelming, I was getting fed up of feeling like this and needed to find a way to beat this!
Why am I sharing all this? Why am I putting myself out there? Well because I think it can help someone else who may be going through this too, especially for those mothers who are doing what they can for their families. You aren’t alone! You aren’t crazy! You’re just stressed out!
So what did I do about it?
Well, after seeing a therapist, expressing myself and my troubles, and learning some simple techniques, I have become a firm believer of self-care! Something that we greatly overlook as a society.
As a mom and a businesswoman, I am so in tuned to taking care of others. My son, my husband, and my clients were always before me and in the mix of all that, I just forgot about me. I forgot how to love myself and enjoy my own company.
So, what is self-care?
Taken from Psychology Today’s article by Maria Baratta Ph.D., “Self care is in essence is the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.”
By putting aside some time every day to spoil myself rotten or just by doing things that elevates my health, I have created a balance within myself and it feels great! I am feeling more relaxed on a daily basis and more calm. When things happen now, as it always does, such is life, I am able to cope with it better than before. I can take care of my family, my clients, my business AND myself.
Here are some things that I have taken note of while embracing self-care:
- Being busy all the time does not make you productive, it just makes you stressed out! Before I started this self-care journey, I didn’t know what work-life balance truly was. I honestly thought it was just taking care of business, clients, and my family. I was not in that equation! I failed to realize that rest revitalizes you so that you can get more done. For instance, when we got back from our vacation I noticed how amped I was to get back in it. I was, and still am, on fire! Why? Because I was well rested and ready to go! I ensure that I get enough sleep every night and I continue to take relax time for myself daily, usually in the mornings, during lunch, and at night when I am alone or when everyone is sleeping. Taking time for yourself throughout your day gets you back on track with a clear mind.
- Too much stress isn’t a good thing. I never realized that the stress I was going though was causing my anxieties as well as triggering my depression. That isn’t good for your body either, by the way. Elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, rapid breathing all the time strains your body and it makes you so exhausted during the day.
- Just existing doesn’t cut it. Waking up, doing your daily must do’s, and going to sleep isn’t life. Experiencing things, helping someone, learning something new, meeting new people and learning about them, and seeing places is really living. I am so excited about helping out at a local animal shelter later this month. I plan on having my son help out from time to time. Not only will it be a great bonding experience but it will also feed my soul! I love animals and there are a lot of animals that would in turn, love to receive that love. That’s just one of the many things I am now doing to make my life more fulfilling.
- “Your body is your temple”, have you ever heard of that saying? I have been pushing myself to be more active. Going on walks instead of taking the bus or train if I can help it as well as going to the gym. I have also switched my diet to a Keto diet which has helped dramatically increase my energy levels and allowed me to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight (125lbs if you’re curious)!
- Learn to love yourself! Something that I was never taught to do nor did I even think about doing. There are things that I hate about myself but I am learning day by day that these things are a part of me and it is what makes me, me. Of course, there is always room for improvement. I am pushing myself to continue to grow and learn and I always strive to compete with only myself.
Well that’s just some of what I have noticed as I am in the early stages of this self-care journey! But I wanted to add a few simple things that I have done, and you can too, to improve my life and wellbeing.
- Walking in a park. I love Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Gantry State Park. Having a beautiful scenery to look at while practicing that zen helps a lot.
- Getting a pedicure and/or manicure or just going to a spa. I usually get a massage after my pedicure. It’s cheaper than a massage parlor and feels absolutely fabulous!
- Going speed walking because I can’t run any more. Unfortunately, I have bad knees so I am on the doctors orders to do only low impact cardio workouts, but if you have better joints than me, running is great a great way to clear your mind and work out that body! Cycling is awesome too.
- Heading to the gym for some strength training.
- Staying away from negative Nancy’s. You know who they are! They will suck the life out of you if they are given the chance and they can end up being family members. I have chosen to love those people from afar and chosen to only hang with people who will uplift me (and who I can also uplift) not drag me down with their negativity.
- Having hot bubble baths at home with some essential oils. So much yes with this one!! I like to add some good jazz or meditation tunes to make it a little spa at home treat. I would like to try to do an at home foot bath as well.
- Meditation works wonders! I have been using the Calm app and I absolutely love it. I usually do it right before bed but I have friends who tell me that they meditate right after they wake up.
- Writing your thoughts. Well, that’s what I am doing here huh? You can use a journal or blog about something that’s on your mind (if you don’t mind other people peering into your thoughts). Either way, getting it out of your head and on paper (or screen) helps greatly.
- Learning an instrument. Right now I am learning to play the guitar with my son. It’s very cool and adorable to have your little kid correct you as well as complement your playing.
- Learning a language. Yo soy aprender español con Fluenz (I am learning Spanish with Fluenz). I would love to learn French and Mandarin as well!
- Taking a break throughout the day, usually I take a little stroll before or after lunch and right before I pick up my son from school.
- Saying “no”. Yes, it took me some time to learn to use this one more but it has helped me manage my stress levels greatly. No is a powerful word and is a great friend to your health. You have to know your limits. If you can’t handle more, then just say no.
- I love going to museums as well, especially the MET.
Some other things you can do:
- Going to concerts.
- Traveling, even if its a local getaway.
- Going to the movies by yourself. Yes, by yourself! No, it’s not weird.
- Going to a comedy show or just watch a great comedy program at home.
I could go on but you get the point, just get creative! It can be something simple as having quiet tea time at home with your thoughts (or even at a really cozy cafe) or something more extravagant like a cruise.
And if you really do need help, please see someone! Don’t ever be too proud, embarrassed or ashamed of feeling down and out. Don’t ever brush it off, your mind and soul is telling you “help me”. Listen to it!
What do you do for your own self care? I am curious to hear any other tips that you may have so please do share.