You know that old saying that hangs in some diners. “When Mamma ain’t happy, no one is happy!”? As silly as that may sound it rings with profound truth. If you do not take care of yourself, not only will you be miserable but your family will suffer from your unhappiness. Below are some tips to help you to take care of yourself.
Put yourself first.
It sounds counter-intuitive but this is what you need to do in order to have more joy in your life and bounce in your step. Sit down with your calendar and make time for self-care and let the family work around you. Start with giving yourself at least 3 hours a week.
Talk back to any voices that tell you that this is not right. Especially the voice of guilt that tells you there is something wrong with taking care of yourself.
There is an eight-year-old still living inside of you who still wants to always be “the good girl”. She is really afraid that she will not be loved. It is time that the strong and smart woman in you decides not to let the eight-year-old run her life. This is not selfishness. It is self-preservation.
Learn the fine art of saying “No”. If you can’t do that…pause and say, “Let me get back to you.”
It is hard the first time you do it but after that, it comes easier and easier. Just picture the “No or Let me get back to you” part of you as the bodyguard to your scared self. The self who feels she has to make everyone else happy. And remember whenever you say, “no” to someone else’s demands, you say “yes” to yourself!
Spend time delegating. And stick to it.
Sunday nights make a list of all the things you have to get done that week. Put what you can do in your calendar and delegate the rest. Or if that is not possible see what you can let go until the next week.
Make meals more of a breeze.
Plan three meals that are easy to prepare and that are good for leftovers. Write the meals down in a notebook and make a list of ingredients for them. This will be your shopping list.
So, if you make chicken and baked potatoes and green beans on Monday. On Tuesday, use the leftover chicken and green beans with pasta and add a fresh ingredient like roasted peppers. Wednesday, if you make a quinoa or couscous salad with vegetables, you can have fish and a salad with it on Thursday. It takes a small amount of planning but is worth its weight in gold.
Set clear boundaries.
Dr. Phil often says, “We teach people how to treat us.”
Sit down with your family and explain to them how you are trying to be a better wife, mom, etc. by taking better care of yourself. No attack or blame words are allowed. Just clearly and honestly state that you have been feeling depleted lately and need help in maintaining your energy.
Self-care will pay off in countless ways. You will be helping yourself to be an empowered woman, and empowered women have a lot more fun in life. You will a feel more alive and alert and have the energy to attend easily to what has to be done. I heard Cheryl Richardson say that if our moms had taken better care of themselves, our childhoods would have been a lot happier. I cannot agree more!
Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist with a practice in the Metro Detroit area who specializes in women’s issues. She is trained in Emotional Freedom Techniques, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Coaching and as a facilitator for You Can Heal Your Life Workshops. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.BrendaStrausz.com