The idea of self-care sounds good, right? It’s accepted as being important and recognized as having great value. Yet, the gap between it being a nice thought and being implemented is wide. For moms, it can be more than just a wide gap between thought and action. That’s because for most of us there is an underlying stigma associated with self-care. It is so strategically placed in our minds that we might not even detect its presents. This underlying stigma might sound something like, “If I just liked being a mom more, I would be fine.”
The perception of self-care is that it is only needed when we are not blissfully happy in our roles as mothers. This thought process is dangerously debilitating. This toxic perception fuels the opposite of self-love and creates a pattern of thoughts that destroy any access to self-care we might have considered. Self-care is not selfish, it is not lavish, it is not only for the unhappy, stressed, and weary.
We fall into a trap of self-neglect, when we think self-care involves grand efforts. Having a weekend trip kid-free or a day at the spa can be rewarding activities to look forward to, but these aren’t events most of us can take advantage of frequently enough to sustain us daily. When we get set on big things, it’s easy to feel like, “I have no time, no money or no energy for self-care.”
Self-care also needs to be self-sustaining. We can set ourselves up for disappointment when we depend on others to provide the soothing effects self-care should provide. The Key is to think simple, think small.
Use this recipe for self-care to create your own self-care tools.
Here is a good example of how a mom named Jen that I worked with, used the self-care recipe to help her. Jen struggled with the post dinner clean up. It seemed to take so much time and she was already worn out from her long day. As a way to help her through this task, she thought of ways she could use her sense to create peace. She would turn on soothing music to listen to as she picked up dinner. She also kept the window covering opened over her sink because she loved the view from her kitchen window. Once the kitchen was picked up she would light a scented candle. Here she used sound, sight and smell as simple ways to self-care during a hectic time of day.
Self-care in its many forms increases our ability to exercise self-compassion. Self-compassion empowers us to sustain emotional health. Our inner peace is strengthened not because of the absence of difficulty but because of the stabilizing effect self-care and self-compassion can have. Just like pulling a ripcord opens a parachute to slow free-falling. Self-care figuratively can be the ripcord to open the parachute of self-compassion and together they slow emotional free-falling.