Self Care- an act of love to myself

I’m back! I took a year out to grow a life and bring my daughter into the world. Pregnancy is not easy for me and takes all my energy and focus to keep it together. The past year has had many challenges and I can’t wait to post about them.

Today I wanted to share something I have been working on very hard the past 6 months. Since having my 3rd child I have experienced anxiety and rage like never before. The slightest thing will trigger me and I will yell at those i love the most. I have very little patience and find it hard to socialize in large groups. Turns out that a 3rd child was my breaking point. Back in September I decided to get help. I found a therapist and a psychiatrist and got myself evaluated. I was afraid that I was suffering from postpartum depression. Turns out I was experiencing postpartum anxiety. I meet with a therapist once a fortnight and we talk about everything. I never realized how much this would help. To have someone who is impartial listen and help me navigate my thoughts and feelings has helped alleviate a lot of the anxiety and rage I was experiencing.

I figured out that one of the main reasons why I was experiencing so much anxiety and rage is because for the past 9 years (since I fist became a mom) I have been neglecting myself. I have been putting my needs last and those of my family first. Many of you may be thinking that sounds normal. That sounds like what happens when you become a parent. Well, that is what I used to think too. I believed that being a good mother meant looking after my child first and then attending to my needs. That my time needed to be utilized to look after my children and ensure they had the best childhood possible.

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At meal times, I feed them first and then after everyone has all they need then I feed myself. Sometimes things get so chaotic that I forget to eat. When I first wake up I serve them in what ever way is needed sometimes not even allowing myself to go to the bathroom first. My free time is not really free time at all because it all gets invested in playing them, serving them, caring for them.

I accidentally became a mother. I hadn’t intended for it to happen to me so young. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I felt unprepared. I was inadequate. I had life growing inside of me and I didn’t know the first thing about being a mother. I decided that the best way to ensure I didn’t ruin my child’s life was to do my very best to give them everything they needed to grow up strong, loved, protected and cared for. Over the years this turned into many great parenting accomplishments but it took a toll on my personal health.

Motherhood has left me clueless when it comes to looking after myself. Finally I have realized that just like they tell you on an airplane- first put your oxygen mask on before assisting others- I need to invest time in looking after myself. The sad thing is that I don’t know where to begin. After nearly a decade of neglect starting to put myself first has been tough. I chose an instrument. I chose to learn how to play the guitar. I get to do that for 30 min. once a week. In the past couple of months I have seen the difference it has made in my life. I feel less anxious, less agitated, less resentful and more fulfilled. I wish I could find more time to focus on myself and so I will. I will spend 2018 getting to know myself again. Trying new things, asking for what I need, forcing myself to take better care of myself will all be what I strive for this year.

Thank you to those that in the past year have shown my kindness, encouragement and complemented me. I find your words comforting and motivating. I also feel uplifted by your virtual kindness.

If you are someone that is very good at self-love and care please could you comment and share what you do to relax, unwind, explore, grown and look after your own mental health? I need inspiration.

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Totally addicted to……ME!!!

As a mommy (actually as a human)  I think it is very important to have a sense of well-being, being able to function during everyday life and feeling confident to rise to a challenge when the opportunity arises. Just like you go to the gym or an exercise class to look after your physical health, there are actions you can take to increase your mental health. You can boost your wellbeing and stay mentally healthy for your family by following a few simple steps.

  1. Connect with others. As a mom its easy to sacrifice your own friendships and get completely swallowed up in your kids lives. It’s important though to maintain your friendships and develop new ones with people who will support and enrich your life.
  2. Take time to enjoy. Making sure that before the day is over you have set aside time for hobbies, activities or projects you enjoy is important. Let yourself be spontaneous and creative when the urge takes you. You may not be able to take time to enjoy yourself everyday but make sure you get a babysitter, set up a playdate or get your other half to look after the kiddos while you indulge in something that makes you happy. Hiking
  3. Participate and share interests. Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for your mental health. Taking the time to join a club or a group who share your interests will keep you motivated and will help you connect.
  4. Contribute to your community. Volunteer your time for a cause or issue that you care about. Do something nice for a friend, a neighbor. Get involved in your child’s school. There are so many great ways to contribute that can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world. They say that an effort to improve the lives of others is sure to improve your life too.
  5. Take care of yourself. As I have said before being active and eating well are important – these help maintain a healthy body. Physical and mental health are closely linked; it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good. You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise – stay active. Combine physical activity with a balanced diet to nourish your body and mind and keep you feeling good, inside and out.              healthy mind.png
  6. Challenge yourself.  I find that as a mother I am challenged every day. Perhaps you need an extra challenge so you could learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a goal. You could take on something different at work; commit to a fitness goal or learn to cook a new recipe. Your mental fitness is improved when you learn. Meeting your own goals builds skills and confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement.
  7. Deal with stress. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. Find a way to wind down every day.
  8. Rest and refresh. Sleep restores both your mind and body. As a new mom it is hard to make sure you get plenty of sleep. It is important to try to go to bed at a regular time each day and practice good habits to get better sleep.
  9. Notice the here and now. As life gets chaotic around you don’t forget to simply ‘be’ in the moment. It’s easy to be caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of experiencing the present.
  10. Ask for help. This can be as simple as asking a friend to babysit while you have some time out or speaking to your doctor about where to find a counsellor or community mental health service. The perfect, worry-free life does not exist. Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need first off, keep asking until you do.

A mentally stable and happy mother is the best thing for her kiddos. It is easy to push our needs and prioritize those of the family. It’s tempting to do this but it is not sustainable, eventually you will crash and burn. You may find yourself screaming at your three year old for something minor or that you are constantly arguing with your other half. Before you know it things will be a mess and you won’t even know where to start to fix it. Make mental health and wellbeing a priority in your life today- Your family will thank you for it!