As we head into the holiday season, a season of giving and doing for others, I invite you to look at giving and doing in a another context as well – giving and doing for yourself, or in Parent Coaching Institute-speak “self-care”. The concept of self-care is something I talk to every single one of my clients about, especially mothers, as it is an area of life that is neglected by so many despite its invaluable benefits. Have you ever felt guilty about leaving the kids and taking some time out for yourself, be it a weekend, a day, or even an hour? If you have, rest assured that you are not alone! So many moms tell me they wish they had more time for themselves to do things without the kids but “feel so guilty,” that they would rather disregard their own wishes and needs.
Of course as moms we often, if not almost always, put our kids first! But it is important to remember that we matter too! In fact, we matter more than we probably even realize, as our kids need us to be our best selves. Our kids thrive when we are energized, when our emotional tanks are full, when we are calm, centered and present. The paradox of self-care is that we moms often feel guilty about taking “unnecessary” time away from being with our kids, not realizing how much this mom-time will actually rejuvenate and energize us and make us happier, calmer and even more effective parents!
I invite you to try it out! Start by making a list of some things that feel nurturing to you, that are fun for you or that make you feel alive! This will look different for each of us as what energizes me may truly bore you. I feel fully alive within ten minutes at Barnes and Nobles, sipping my coffee, sitting among the books, reading, researching or writing! Even the mere thought of this awakens me! But I also carve time out to do other fun things such as pedicures with girlfriends, lunches and moms’ nights out, and 6 a.m. boot camp classes at the gym! Each energize me in a different way but all replenish my mental energy, ground my sense of self, and empower me to take on the rest of the day with more fun, joy and ease. And the bonus is that my son also gets a better version of me! What makes you feel fully alive? What makes you feel joyful and relaxed? Perhaps it is a massage or a pedicure, lunch or dinner with girlfriends, date-night, a favorite workout, an uninterrupted cup of coffee, a long shower or a weekend getaway?
Once you’ve made your list of potential self-care options, pick one to try this week and make it a priority. I rarely cancel a lunch date as I would rarely cancel a doctor’s appointment – it is for my (mental) health! Every mom needs to discover what feels nurturing to her, big or small, and give herself the gift of self-care! So in this month of giving, what gift will you give to yourself? What will you do to nurture yourself this month?