Lately, well most of the time I manage to keep the family running, kids organised, all of us feed and watered, clean etc but forget to look after myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m clean and tidy (99% of the time ;-)) etc, but honestly, sometimes my brain is so frazzled I don’t know if i’m coming or going. I’m sure lots of other parents feel like this, and often you won’t even realise until someone else mentions it. I have recently just finished some counselling which was recommended to help with my mental health (it really did help and recommend it to anyone struggling) and it wasn’t until my counsellor broke a few things down to me and made me realise that before I think about looking after anybody else I need to learn to look after myself. Recognising when you are feeling low, or struggling with life is so important and being able to talk about it and get help is the hardest but best hurdle to overcome. My counsellor explained it as imagine our family running as a machine, if the main “cog” isn’t working, then how can everyone else.
It can be hard to accept that you are not looking after yourself and that you are “fine” and coping, but when you are really honest with yourself, it can be very surprising! This blog post will hopefully help with a few ideas about putting yourself first and what you can do to help yourself., and what I like to do.
- Self Care – simple things such as having a nice long soak in the bath (uninterrupted), doing your hair, plucking those pesky eyebrows, doing your make up, whatever it takes for you to smile at your reflection in the mirror. I always try to have a nice long bath (although not as often as i’d like), and read in the bath and just simply relax.
- Exercise – I know to some people the idea of exercising is horrific, but it doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, it can be simply going out for a walk (again on your own, or at least childless) where you can just take a moment to relax and not stress. However, if you are able to do so, i do recommend joining a gym, its obviously good to exercise, and even though its so hard to go the gym, the feeling after you have worked out is always a good feeling, and if you are lucky like me and the gym has a pool and jacuzzi etc, then its a great place to escape for a bit, take a friend with you, have a goss and a cuppa after. I often like to walk the dog on my own, sometimes taking my camera with me and just relaxing and having some me time.
- Music – listening to music, is one of the easiest things anyone can do. You can pop some headphones on or you can blast it loud whilst doing the housework and have a good singalong and maybe dance depending where you are ;-). Music is so emotive and can really help. I personally love to put on some 90s/00s dance music whilst cleaning and I find it a lot easier. I also love a good old singalong and find 80s, some 90s and motown good for this.
- Treat – Treating yourself is or can be very hard, especially if finances are tight, but there is always a way. A treat can simply be a cream cake or your fave food, or it can be a new outfit, book, haircut-whatever makes YOU feel good. The other day I was able to treat myself with a new haircut. I went to a salon, had my hair washed with scalp massage (love that bit), sat in the massage chair and then had a lovely hair cut and it was all for FREE! I was a model for the apprentice hairdressers and I would recommend it to anyone, especially busy mums like me, who don’t prioritise things like their hair (it hadn’t been cut for over a year). it was so nice to have a coupe of hours to myself, being treated. I even got myself all dressed up, making myself feel good.
- Talk – Its so important. Talking to someone, whether its a family member, friend or total stranger can make you feel better. It may help just to be listened too, for someone to agree with you and make you feel better, or sometimes for someone to tell you stop being so silly and get on with it, but botteling things up just makes it worse and often means the smallest silliest thing can start feeling like a huge problem.
I admit, I still have trouble taking my own advice still with these tips and sometimes have to stop and refocus, but i’m glad that I am slowly beginning to recognise this and do what I can to make myself feel better. I hope these tips help and comment below if you have any other good tips or advice.