I am not fully healed,
I am not fully wise,
I am still on my way.
What matters is that
I am moving forward.
Have you ever taken a flight anywhere? If so you will be familiar with the safety announcement that tells us adults if the oxygen mask is needed, that we should first fit our own and then help out any children, elderly, or other passengers having difficulty. As a parent it is natural to think we would want to place our child’s oxygen mask first, it is our instincts that tell us to protect our child at all costs. I mean if a bullet were coming towards our child I would naturally throw myself in front of it. When you think about it however, if we don’t fit our oxygen mask first we may pass out before properly fitting our child’s mask as we become disorientated from the lack of oxygen to our brain. Even if we manage to get our child’s mask on, we may have more than one child and then pass out before helping the next one. What if we get their mask on, but they are too young to help us and as we pass out they get so scared that they then take theirs off again! It is scary to think about, but the truth is this is a metaphor for most of our parenting. We give and give to our children, to our partners, and forget to look after our own health both physically, and mentally.
Of course it is not just our children, sometimes we are so focussed on helping everyone else that we neglect our needs to the point where we lay broken on the floor, exhausted, resentful, angry, disappointed in ourselves and the world.
Self-care has for too long been associated with vanity and selfishness, selfish is not the dirty word they tell us it is! We are all entitled to do what we need for our health and well-being. There is a difference between self-care, and being so self obsessed that we don’t notice anyones else’s needs. I am not saying we should have a grandiose sense of self, put others down in order to feel superior, or demand constant praise and admiration, that is called being a narcissist! What I am suggesting is treating ourselves like we would a friend. Slow down a little, there is a reason why slow living is becoming a trend, and if you get on instagram you will see it’s become a very popular hashtag, as has #simpleliving #simplelife #simplicity and even #slowdown.
Sometimes we don’t even realise we are becoming overly stressed, it is important to tune into our own bodies and recognise early warning signs that we may be taking on too much, trying to say yes to everything, or just neglecting ourselves. The problem can be when we are rushing around on autopilot we can easily miss those early warning signs. It can help to jot down some of your warning signs, or let close friends or family members know what to look out for. Usually the people who you live with, or those closest to you are the ones who notice when you seem to be taking on way too much.
Some Early Warning Signs may be;
- feeling more tired than usual
- eating less/ or more
- forgetting things you would normally remember
- feeling nauseous a lot of the time
- becoming emotional
- snapping at people
- putting yourself down
- hot flushes
- difficulty sleeping/ or sleeping a lot more
- finding it hard to say something nice about yourself
- crying, and not sure why
- eating on the run
- taking less care of your appearance
- lack of concentration
- feeling angry
- stomach pains
- drinking more alcohol
- missing gym classes you usually would never miss
- avoiding people
- symptoms similar to IBS
- heart palpitations
Some self-care ideas;
when you are noticing you are becoming burnt out, or are not feeling good about yourself, you need to take a big step back to evaluate the situation. Being there for everyone, and saying ‘yes’ and overcommitting is not helping you! If you completely fall apart it will be harder on everyone else in the long run, and harder on yourself. If you are noticing yourself snapping at people, crying, having trouble sitting still, or not sleeping, you truly need to step up and say enough is enough! Stop expecting so much of yourself, or letting people take advantage of you. Please know it is OK to say NO! Try to . . .
- get some fresh air.
- exercise gently.
- try Yoga, or Yoga Nidra, you can just look them up on Youtube and do this in your own home.
- talk to someone who actually listens.
- book a session with an osteopath, physiotherapist, or have a therapeutic massage.
- get a facial.
- have a social media free day.
- cook a healthy meal.
- drink lots of water, add a squeeze of citrus if you don’t like plain water.
- cut down on soft drink, excess sugar, or salt. Eat yummy food, some treats can be comforting, but over indulging will not help you feel better.
- avoid alcohol and drugs (obviously take prescribed medication).
- book a weekend, or night away.
- browse a bookstore for as long as you want.
- have a day off work, or ask someone to mind your kids for the day.
- go to see a funny movie.
- ask a loved one for help, or support.
- have a pijama day.
- hug your pet.
- build a sandcastle.
- go to bed early.
- download a mindful meditation app on your phone.
- buy some expensive chocolate. Then eat it of course.
- make a daisy chain.
- join a photography, cooking, pottery, art, acting class, or choir, whichever you like.
- put your favourite songs on and dance.
The biggest thing is to stop feeling guilty, you are entitled to a break too. We tend to compare ourselves to everyone, and feel we should be doing more. We are all different, and all have different thresholds. Every single person needs time out, even the ones who appear to have it all together.
If you have any further tips, or anything to add, please feel free to add a comment, or tweet me @macglanville, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take care of yourself, and look out for your friends and loved ones if you are noticing the warning signs I mentioned above. As this is quite a long post I will stop here, but This post is followed up with a post about what you can do to help a friend, or loved one who is struggling. Read HERE.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, please share with anyone you feel may benefit from this advice. If you are worried about yourself, or anyone please seek medical advice. Love, Mac xx
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