May 2012 Reflections

MOTHERS' DAY EDITION

 

THE MOTHERHOOD CHALLENGE - BALANCING SELFLESSNESS  AND SELF CARE

 

 

 

As Mothers' Day is only a few days away, it is timely to talk about the impact of motherhood on women's lives and how it affects our health and wellbeing.   For most women, becoming a mother represents the most dramatic change we will  experience in our lives.   For the first time we are responsible for the care and wellbeing of another human being who is solely dependant on us.  This event can bring a mix of emotions - enormous joy and sometimes overwhelming fear and anxiety as we struggle to meet the needs of this tiny infant.  

It is often from this time that women learn to put our own needs last, going through our days sleep deprived and being focused on being a "good mother" trying to live up to our own and other people's expectations.  One of the strengths of women is their ability and willingness to nurture those around them.  It is no surprise that so many women are found in the "helping" or "caring" professions.  As children grow and ageing parents need more help, women often find that they are so busy looking after other people in our lives and trying to combine work and family responsibities, that they neglect their own needs.  This has a cumulative affect on our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Women often pride ourselves on being multi-taskers - unlike men whom we laughingly joke seem only able to do one thing at a time.  Unfortunately, our multi-tasking skills can be our own worst enemy and lead to us over-committing ourselves and feeling stressed and depleted.  In my practice, I see many women who are exhausted and stressed as a result of trying to be "superwomen" - working in busy jobs, caring for children and increasingly taking responsibility for elderly parents.  It is hardly surprising that many of them find it is all too much and wonder what is happening to them and seek therapy. 

One of the things I focus on with these women is their own self care.  When I ask them what they do for themselves, they describe the range of demands on them in a day - driving the kids to school and activities, rushing home to cook dinner and spending their weekends house cleaning and shopping.   They frequently admit to being too tired to think about themselves and make themselves the last priority.  Many mothers yearn for some time to themselves without anyone making demands on their time and energy, but may feel guilty about this.

If you are a mother, when was the last time you took time out to do something for yourself?

Mothers' Day, despite its commercialism, is a great opportunity to enjoy being looked after, so make the most of offers of breakfast in bed, a meal cooked by someone else or whatever special treat your family has planned for you.  However, what I would encourage you to do for yourself is to set up your own Self Care Plan for the rest of the year. 

Take time to think about the things that give you pleasure which you have not done for a while and write them down on an A4 sheet of paper.  Make sure you include exercise which has been shown to be the most effective way to relieve stress, together with social activities,    relaxation, hobbies and interests plus some pampering.  Include simple things which do not cost money eg. walking in the park, reading a book, listening to music, journaling - anything that makes you feel good.  Identify 3 or 4 activities you could do over the next month, then share your plan with your family and gain their support.  Talk about any assistance you may need from them to enable your plan to be put into action.  Allocate the time you need for these things and be firm about keeping to your plan.  Make it a priority in your life. 

Remember, when you look after yourself, you are more able to have the energy to care for those who are important to you.  Self care is not about being selfish, it is about you taking responsibility for your own wellbeing and valuing yourself as well as those you love.

 

MOTHERS' DAY SPECIAL OFFER

I am offering all new women clients who book during May their choice of a complimentary manicure and pedicure or half hour massage session, so if you are thinking about making some changes and choices in your life or work, or want to learn more about looking after yourself better, then do take advantage of this offer.

Contact me on 0438 855328 for an appointment.

 

 HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY