Is self-care selfish? This is a belief I held for many years and words I often hear from mums that I work with. For me, discovering a sense of myself was the key to my self-care.
In getting to know me, I mean truly understanding how I think, feel and act, I’m now aware of what gives me energy and what drains me. I have had to consciously practice how best to balance both and this can be challenging!
You see, when we want to change something in our lives or practice a new way of being it isn’t as easy as it sounds or how others often tell us it is. This takes effort and repetition, until it becomes automatic and a part of us. Becoming aware of what ‘feeds’ me was only the beginning. Ensuring that I have the space and time and also remember to regularly practice self-care is ongoing.
I now listen to my body when it whispers to me. Leading a busy lifestyle, I have learned to recognise when I need to slow down and when my mind and body need time out before I burn out. We are not designed to live in stress and survival mode, we are only meant to visit here to protect ourselves from danger. Being aware of and looking after my emotional and physical needs (guilt free) gives me the energy and focus to truly give to others and perform at my best.
I focus on not reducing the load but how I carry it.
I practice self-love and self-compassion. I am aware of my self-talk, the pictures I make and how my thoughts influence my feelings and behaviours. Letting go of perfection and giving myself permission to learn from my mistakes has been a significant positive shift in my self-care. Is it failure or is it feedback that I should try a different way? I set healthy boundaries and I am realistic about what is achievable, this limits the amount of negative chatter that goes on in my mind.
I understand that my daughters will mirror my behaviour before they will do what I say.
It is important to me as a parent and foster carer that my children see and hear me practice being kind, compassionate and understanding of myself, exercise my right to say no and know when to ask for help. I want them to know that they are loved and loveable and raise them in an environment where their thoughts and opinions are valued and recognised. I believe we can’t give our children what we don’t have ourselves and try my best to practice what I preach with authenticity. Taking care of ourselves helps us take care of our children.
So, what helps me thrive, what energises me?
When I focus on nourishing myself I feel more connected to me, the world around me and the people in it. I get up early to work on myself, I practice mindfulness, meditate and read and I am intentional with my thoughts in creating my day. I value sleep, it restores my body and mind. I love learning, I will never stop. I love spending time with my family, this energises me. I surround myself with people who bring out the best in me and protect myself from those who don’t. Spending time outside in nature feeds me, I like to walk and feel connected to my senses. Animals have always been a big part of my life, they help me thrive and are among my greatest teachers. I love to laugh and dance and sing, it makes me feel good. When I feel connected to something greater than me, like helping and supporting others, I feel inspired and motivated. This is a snapshot in time of what self-care means to me and as I continue to grow and develop, how I look after my mind, body and soul will also evolve.
Research shows that there are many benefits to self-care and I view it is as a broad subject that we make individual to us, while creating a sense of ‘self’ and becoming aware of what promotes our self-care and what is self-destructive. I realised some time ago that it isn’t selfish, it’s essential.
We started Fearless Family Coaching with a desire to support parents and young people to overcome challenges, barriers and fear in their lives. At the heart of our work we help clients recognise the critical role that self-care plays in their emotional and physical wellbeing. Through our individual and family coaching sessions clients work towards developing their self-awareness and gain a better understanding of how to positively manage their emotions. They learn how to use practical techniques to let go of limiting beliefs and move forward with their lives.
Tina xTagged with: advice for mums, fearless family coaching, self care, tina symington, what does self care mean, what is self care, what self care means to me
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