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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Self Care and Why it is So Important

Question: What was the last thing you did for yourself and let it really matter?

I get to pop to the shops on my own every now and again but the knowledge of returning home to my 'jobs' often lingers in the back of my mind. This means I'm not focusing fully on myself and my time alone. It means, instead of thinking through other things whilst I sip my hot chocolate, I'm focusing on other people and not myself and my precious me time.
I may get to paint my nails in quiet but I find I never pick the right time and rush through what should be a more delicate and peaceful piece of me time for fear of getting interrupted.

Self care is so very important yet we as parents put our needs to the bottom of the pile and often forget to look after ourselves. To nourish ourselves physically and mentally. If we do not look after our own physical and mental health, our well being, if we continue to neglect ourselves and place ourselves to the bottom of the pile then we can become lost. We can become tired and frustrated and become heavy from the day to day lives we lead.

I'd like to share with you some ways I look after myself. I have always needed me time. I have always needed to be alone on occasions or to fulfill certain challenges and adventures either by myself or with friends. I have a husband who understands this and supports me. We recognise that we are not only parents but people too who have needs, wants and feelings that all need to be fulfilled in some way or another.

Self Care in my life:

Writing.
Have you ever heard of 'morning pages'? Before my SoMum retreat I certainly had not. After a session of yoga and meditation we opened our note books and let the pen flow. Find a space and close your eyes, relax and breathe, even if it's just for 5 minutes. After that time, open a notepad and write. Don't think anything in particular, just write. You can keep your written word or simply throw it away.
I also write a personal journal for my thoughts which I keep private and a prayer journal which is self explanatory. I like to think of others in my quiet time but I do not think of their problems too much, just write a simple prayer or note and leave the rest to those above.

Indulge without Guilt
I hate guilt. Really hate it. So I make a point to banish it from my moments of me time. I am a Mother, daughter, wife, friend and I share my love and time with many people both physically and mentally. It can be exhausting, so to shut the door and say to myself 'For half an hour I am me and I will focus on me without guilt for not thinking of others in this time.'
Same goes for having that time away from your children. I miss my children when I'm away, of course I do but I am a more refreshed and happier mother when I return. Why should I feel guilty!? Also enjoy those moments of a good food treat. Don't fill your mind with talk of fatter thighs and greed. Enjoy, indulge- be guilt free!

Mind the Language
How many times in a day do you put yourself down? About your appearance, your weight, your choices, your 'mum fail' (a term I hate no matter how playful!) I'm frequently guilty of saying how I feel is 'stupid' 'silly' how I'm 'such an idiot'. I would not say these words to another person, so recently have made a point to not say them to myself. My feelings are as valid as the people I frequently talk to. My mistakes are not due to being stupid or an idiot- they are mistakes and we all make them.

Self care can be incredibly simple. It can also need lots of searching and can call for change to our habits (the above should be easy but yet we make it quite the opposite) I invite you to think about how you care for yourself and whether you could do more. If you can make improvements to your self care, how do you think this will change you and make you feel as a person?

Keep smiling wonderful people!


*I wrote this post inspired by Pippa and her work at Story of Mum. She is holding a wonderful Blogging Self Care Carnival that I hope you'd like to check out. I'd also like to take the time to mention a wonderful new kit that Story of Mum has released: The DIY Mama's Retreat Kit! This kit is full of creative ideas, a lovely yoga session, tips on how to make various crafts and spread the love with your fellow Mothers and friends. Please do have a peek! I was lucky enough to go along to an actual  Mama's Retreat with Pippa and some other wonderful Mothers. It is so worth the effort to gather some friends, leave the children for an evening to rest, nourish and find that part of you again.


6 comments:

  1. Good post, I've spent half a life time convincing your Mum that thinking of yourself first isn't a negative thing, it's a relief that I won't have to spend the other half convincing you too, keep on building your confidence. I usually say to people when emphasizing the importance of respecting ourselves, if you don't believe in yourself no one else will, looking in the mirror sometimes and saying, yeah, I'm brilliant is something we should all do.

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    1. Funny that, I look at M<um and how she behaves, or has behaved in terms of self care and putting herself first and as it was lacking as I grew up I have a great need to not be like that!

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  2. Such wise words, Hannah. I'm so glad that the 'morning pages' (from The Artists' Way) resonated with you - I find them such a useful way to release stressful thoughts, and also to get in touch with what I am really thinking - I find if I write the same frustration over and over enough times, eventually I'm encouraged to get on and deal with it! I love your idea of writing out prayers for your family and friends as a way of letting go of those worries and responsibilities too. I might try that!

    I also think that your point about language is really important - it's amazing how we believe what we tell ourselves about ourselves, and changing that can be really impactful (Having said that, you know I love a bit of 'Bad Mummy' Bingo - but for me, that's about mocking the guilt and reclaiming our positivity in spite of those negative voices...!)

    Much love to you and thanks so much for bringing your wisdom to the Mama Self-Care Carnival x

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    1. Thank-you pippa. I have always written, but never quite like that, thank-you for introducing me to this very relaxing way of writing. I'm also pleased you like my prayer book idea, it really does help me feel i am helping family and friends in my own personal way and releasing some of me worry (I worry a lot about people!)
      Thank-you for hosting this carnival and being a wonderful mother and friend as always. hannah x

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