If you find little, if any, time and energy left at the end of the day to take care of yourself, you are not alone. More mothers in the United States are working today than ever before. According to the US Department of Labor nearly 70% of mothers with children under 18 are currently employed.
You can make changes in your life that affect your business and personal life in profound ways by becoming more personally and professionally attractive to yourself and others by practicing essential self-care. Increasing your level of self-care ultimately allows you to be more generous and supportive of others because you are honoring your own needs, as well as theirs. Taking care of yourself allows you to better care for others. Similar to the oxygen mask theory on an airplane, you must put your own mask on first; otherwise you won't be able to effectively take care of anyone else.
Your health, attitude, and energy levels are important and will provide you with the ability to thrive in your busy life. However, in order to fit in improved self-care you'll probably need to eliminate something else to make space, time and energy for these important activities. This may mean eliminating some volunteer activities, decreasing the amount of time you spend watching television, or curtailing Internet surfing. It may also mean multi-tasking some activities so that you are exercising while you watch TV or read, working physical activity into play time with the kids, planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks in advance that you can take on-the-go.
Make healthy choices a regular part of your lifestyle. Activities that nurture your body, mind, spirit, and feelings should be part of your regular daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Examples of essential self-care include getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, drinking enough fluids, participating in exercise regimens, nurturing your spirit, connecting with nature, and spending time doing things you enjoy. A sense of inner balance needs to be your permanent anchor in your efforts to balance work and family.
Your physical and mental wellness are not only important to you, but to your family and your work, too. Your choice to honor your health will benefit everyone and improve the overall quality of your life.
Assess your physical and mental health to be sure you are healthy both inside and out. Schedule an appointment to get a full exam as often as is recommended for your age and known health conditions. When you are experiencing symptoms, don't ignore them hoping they'll go away or because you are worried about the news you may hear. Instead, take the symptoms as your body's way of communicating to you that there's a problem that needs your immediate attention. Don't ignore the message!
By being proactive and getting regular check-ups (and when you experience symptoms) everyone will have more time to plan and adjust accordingly if an issue arises. Just think of how upsetting it would be for everyone involved if you were suddenly hospitalized, incapacitated, or worse, dead, due to ignoring the message. Many illnesses, diseases and other conditions are treatable when diagnosed early. Take care of your physical and mental wellness and experience greater success in your life.
To begin, create a list of at least 25 things you would like to do to take better care of yourself. Ensure your list is comprehensive with actions that can be done daily (e.g., meditation, journaling, exercise), weekly (e.g., watching a movie, getting a manicure), and occasionally (e.g., visiting a friend, taking a vacation, getting your annual mammogram). After you have made your list, designate the activities that nourish the body with a "B", the mind with an "M", an "S" for spirit, and an "F" for feelings to indicate what aspect of yourself you are nurturing. Be sure to identify activities in every realm so that you focus your self-care on all of you.
Now, open your planner and schedule time for exercise, meal planning, and other essential self-care activities. If it doesn't get scheduled it probably won't happen!
1. by Philip T. Hagen, MD (Kensington Publishing Corp., 1999)
2. Self-Care Cards by Cheryl Richardson (Cards Edition by Hay House, 2001)
3. Self-Nurture: Learning To Care For Yourself As Effectively As You Care For Everyone Else by Alice D. Domar and Henry Dreher (Viking Press, 1999)
4. Succeeding as a Super Busy Parent by Natalie R. Gahrmann (Infinity Publishing, 2003)
5. Take Care of Yourself: The Complete Illustrated Guide To Medical Self-Care by Donald M. Vickery and James F. Fries (Perseus Publishing, 2000)
Copyright 2003-2004 by Natalie Gahrmann. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author: