A few days ago I put out a blog asking what everyone's mindfulness practice was, and the feedback was amazing! I was so happy to hear that parents are taking care of themselves. But I’ve also heard from parents who have found that practicing mindfulness and self-care is a struggle and they just don’t feel like they have the time or the energy to do so. I want you to hear me loud and clear: ME TOO.
Mindfulness is a continuing practice, a practice that is part of our self- care. And self-care does not come naturally to me, not even a little. When things are getting overwhelming and I feel like I’m suffocating my first thought isn’t, “Ok, let’s go meditate!” It’s more like, “Holy Hell! Grab the M&M’s and hide under your comforter until the world gets less people-y!” The only way I can describe what it sounds like in my head at this point is like a toddler having a tantrum, screaming, “I don’t want to!” Why? Why do I fight self-care so hard sometimes? Well, it’s usually when I need it most! And that’s why I have to start using that self-care muscle the most and do something for my mental health because if I don’t I’ve seen where it will take me. A few parents emailed and asked me what I do to help with my own self-care, what helps get me out of the endless hamster wheel that is my brain? So here are some things that I like to do (some I really don’t like to do but found them necessary for my own long-term mental health and have had a huge pay off!) So, here we are, my list of, “Ronette’s Self-Care even when I don’t want to List”;
Meditate Explaining what meditation feels like is like explaining what burning smells like. You can have someone tell you what the feeling of mediation does to them, and 90% of the time you will think you're doing it wrong because you might not be feeling the same way. If something’s burning I don’t need someone to tell me, I just know. Well, that’s mediation. Don’t base it off someone else’s experience, what does it feel like to you? And be gentle with yourself, that committee of talkers in your brain will eventually be trained to shut their mouths when you start to change your thoughts. Speaking of...
Change your thoughts We each have the unique gift of free will and that means we can change our thoughts whenever we wish. Are you bad with money? What would happen if you told yourself your financially abundant and good with money? Reframing old thoughts into new, more powerful ones is not easy but so worth it! How many of us have negative thoughts about ourselves that were handed to us from someone else? Hand them back! You have the power to say who you are! If you let someone else decide your value I can guarantee they will set the value way too low. Stop being your own worst bully and decide to befriend that crazy unique human you are!
Be energy conscious No, I don’t mean make sure all the lights are off in empty rooms in your house. I mean to be conscious of the energy you let in your environment and this was a hard one for me to do. Have you ever been around someone and just felt like you haven’t slept in a week because your so exhausted? That’s an energy vampire, have any of those? What about people who just want to gossip and talk poorly about others? It’s essentially counterproductive to work on changing your thoughts about yourself if you're surrounding yourself with people who need you to stay the same. Why? Because if you change then they won’t have a scapegoat for their bad behavior and might actually (Gasp!) have to change themselves. We are all forever changing and (hopefully) growing, so I say throw them some grace, hold a space for them, but take no shit. Create boundaries that are healthy for you and give you peace of mind and stop being a people pleaser. The truth is we all are as happy as we make up our minds to be so you do you and let them worry amount themselves. Other people’s chaos has nothing to do with me no matter what spin I put on it. One of my favorite sayings I learned in rehab, “Not my monkeys, not my circus” which essentially means mind your own damn business and let others mind theirs.
Exercise This is no brainer, but how many of us make excuse after excuse not to take the time to nurture our bodies. It’s a great way to blow off some steam, regroup, and refocus. It’s a great way to generate ideas and get inspiration for me when I’m feeling stagnant. During the winter this is especially important for me because I’m one of many of you that will start to isolate and get depressed when I’m getting deficient on my vitamin D. Plus, sometimes you get some pretty sweet surprises - I took a break while writing this to go for a walk and found two local Little Libraries (if your not familiar with these please check them out, they are awesome!) and found some great books to spark my imagination!
Podcasts I have such a love affair with Podcasts, I seriously swoon over them. Whether it’s on meditation, addiction, relationships, manifestation, art, crime, history...you name it there’s a podcast on it! Need some help finding the one that speaks to you? Connect with me on social media or email and I’ll send you a few of my favs!
Journal I’ve always been a writer so journaling came naturally for me growing up. But as you get older and life gets busier it seems harder to find the time. A few years ago I recommitted to journaling because I was able to see the shift in my stress and anxiety by leaving my problems on the paper, even just for that day. It’s also something I’m having my daughter do to help her navigate things she is going through. It’s a truly underrated strategy for coping with life’s curve balls.
Have faith You don’t have to adhere to a certain religion to have faith. You can have faith in many things. I am more spiritual than religious, but I have a deep faith in many things. Faith helps me get through even the darkest of times, knowing that I was put here for a purpose and that purpose isn’t suffering. Having faith has helped me walk into the most difficult situations with an attitude of gratitude and know I will be ok and will learn something from this.
Nurture your passions What did you love to do as a kid? A teenager? What made you jump out of bed in the morning? Have you noticed how we tend to lose that passion when we start “adulting”? I tell myself I’ll write when my daughter goes to bed, I’ll draw when its’ the weekend (and it’s nice outside, and I have a cup of coffee, and the house is clean, and...and...and...), or I’ll finish that book (the one I’ve been reading for 2 years now) this afternoon. Anyone else does that? And why do we have to force ourselves to do something we love? Something we literally lose hours doing because we are so into it? Think of the amazing impact it would have on all of our children if they saw us doing the things we loved!
So here's my list so far, but daily I’m finding new ways to help me take care of myself and fill my cup up. And once my cup is filled I’m a way better momma, partner, and friend. What’s on your list? Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and tell me what’s on your Self-Care (even when you don’t want to) List!