photo by Sarah Comeau
We all hear the term 'self-care' being thrown around whenever we read anything to do with well-being. Whether it be on a positive social media post, in a book or in the therapy room. The increase in the use of the term is helping to raise awareness of how important self care is, in order to maintain an equilibrium with our mental health. We understand that by taking care of our bodies and minds we will live a happier, more fulfilled life.
All fair and well right?
Problem is, how do we care for ourselves if we spend all our time taking care of everyone else?
For me having four children, studying full time and being self employed can result in it feeling like I’m been selfish or even lazy for taking the time to take care for my mind and body.
With a never ending list of things which need doing, how dare I take the time out to go to a meditation class, book a massage or arrange a night out with friends. My mornings consist of breakfasts, packed lunches, uniforms and making sure my mini army don’t completely destroy the house before leaving for school. It’s then off to uni for a day of lectures, seminars and endless processing of information. After this it’s pick up, making tea, baths, bedtimes, before once again tidying the path of destruction from my little darlings. When all this is done, the majority of the time I’m too tired to focus on anything but my pillow.
Reading this it’s easy to see how taking time out for yourself can seem impossible……but it’s not impossible it’s an absolute necessity!
You see if you don’t take the time out to do a little of what you enjoy, rest and recuperate, you run the risk of the stresses of every day life building up and affecting your mental and physical health. From this your relationships can be affected.
With a busy mind full of stress and to do lists, it can be easy for loved ones to feel that they don’t have enough quality attention. They can begin to feel unappreciated or even unloved. I say this from an individual perspective, through my own personal experience of being ‘so busy’.
It has been a long road of self discovery since I first began training as a counsellor, but one major thing I have learnt throughout my journey is, in order to take care of everyone else, I need to be happy and healthy. A tutor once told me in my counsellor training ‘Happy Mum, Happy Children’ this has stuck with me ever since. Whenever those niggling feelings of guilt pop up when I’m about to do something which doesn’t involve anything off the list, I remember this and have a little word with myself.
For all you busy Mum’s/ Dad’s with tiny armies to take care of, your happiness and wellbeing is paramount in order to keep taking care of everyone else. So take the time to read that book, it doesn’t matter if the pots don’t get done until you finish another chapter.
Go for those drinks with your friends, connection is important and memories last a life time! Take the hour off to go to the meditation class, it will honestly do wonders for your peace of mind and you’ll actually feel more focussed for going. Whatever it takes to ease the stress of a busy life it is worth doing.
Self care is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity.
Jennifer Bates works with Children and Young People in a therapeutic manner to help support them in building aspirations. She is trained to level 4 in counselling and is currently studying full time for a BA (Hons) Degree in Childhood and Youth Studies. Jen shared "Having 4 children and a very busy life, I enjoy spending time with my crazy bunch of friends and writing in my spare time to help relax my mind".