Give yourself permission to self care

Give yourself permission to self care

One of the biggest hurdles that mom’s have to get over before we can truly create self care in our lives is giving yourselves permission, to say yes to your needs! We feel guilty if we are not doing something, being with or caring for a need for our family. Where did this belief system come from? What is this guilt rooted in? Logically we all know that if we are not caring for ourselves then we have nothing to give to other’s. You have heard advice about putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child, but what stops us from doing this in our day to day lives? This is something that I have been exploring as part of my own personal recovery from mom burn out.
When I became a mom I set out on the impossible task of doing it all. As a self employed Naturopathic doctor I started back at work when my daughter was 4 months old, part time but working none the less. Still 100% committed to nursing my daughter my life became about nursing, pumping, working, running, commuting, disrupted sleeping, eating whatever was quick and easy and drinking lots of coffee to keep this cycle going. Whenever I was working I felt awful for not being with my daughter, whenever I was with my daughter I felt torn from being away from work that I loved. My remedy to this was a futile attempt to be 100% to both and 0% to me. The math did not add up. The result was burn out! I was so incredibly hard on myself and nothing about this process was loving. I also realize that during this time I was not an awesome Naturopathic doctor nor was I a present and centered mom for my daughter. This still brings me to tears.

Looking back, I truly believe there was room for family and career but I was missing a key component of self care and a gentle heart. It took an emotional as well as physical crash but when I knew better, I did better not only for me as well as my family, my work, my friends, my community.

It is something that I still have to check in with myself every single day: I ask myself is this choice loving and am I caring for myself? If the answer is a no, then I give myself permission to make a different choice that reflects my needs knowing it will ultimately have the positive domino effect on the people that I touch each day. I now say Yes to me!

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5 ways to give yourself permission

5 ways to give yourself permission

Giving yourself permission to take care and listen to your own needs is a really hard thing for a lot of mom’s to do. This difficulty actually comes from a really beautiful place, our children mean everything to us and we want what is best for them. The problem is that we have the misguided belief that if we give them all of us then we are being “good’ moms. This is just not true. We are good to others when we are good to ourselves! Our families need to see us in actions of self care as this will result in a happier and healthy you as well as teach your children what worthiness, self esteem and inner love looks like.

Here are 5 ways that you can give yourself permission and model self care for your family:

1. Go first:
Step ahead in the family line and take care of YOU first! If it is at meal time, bath time or bed time put your needs first and take your turn before anyone else in the family. Allow yourself to be nourished, relaxed or rested before your children or partner and get curious about the positive rippling effect this has on you and your family.

2. Take a planned time out every day:
Reflect on your day and pick a non-negotiable, never missed few minutes when you are able to with you and your breath. Create conscious awareness around this daily time slot. By putting one hand on your heart and the other on your belly for just a few minutes every day, you will connect to yourself in a beautiful and profound way. Communicate this “time out” with your family, so that everyone knows that you are NOT AVAILABLE during this time every day!

3. Let some things go
As a self proclaimed control freak this was really, really hard for me but once I embraced the necessity of letting some things go I could feel the pressure lift from me immediately.

Everyone has different values and only you know where you are putting energy that is not serving you. I love a clean and organized house, I wanted to let this go but it ultimately did not ease any pressure for me. I was however able to let go of the concept of perfect meals, I can share with you that at least 1 time per week we eat frozen pizza (with a side of veggies) and I buy -not bake – cookies, granola bars, muffins for my daughter’s lunches. What a relief when I put my gluten free, vegan, paleo cook books back on the shelf to collect dust once again! What can you let go of?

4. Ask for help
Mom’s martyr! We do! I had to get honest and admit that I was not asking for help because I felt that no one could do it as well as me. What a relief when I recognized this and now once a month we pay for a cleaning service to come to our home, a wonderful luxury and worth every cent to me. The other times of the month, my husband, daughter and I turn up the tunes and get to work. My daughter loves to clean the toilets and my husband is awesome with the floors. We try to make it a “funish” family affair and often go out for a treat after to celebrate our clean house! What can you get some help with? Maybe a teenager can come over a few hours a week to watch your little ones while you have a bath or read a book. Can you ask your husband to take over the laundry duties? Chances are you are holding on to a mom duty that you can pass along to someone else, they may even do it better than you!

5. Say No!
Sometimes the simple things are the hardest things. A big part of mom burn out is the need to take care of everything and everyone. What is that saying…want to get something done, give it to a busy person? Mom’s you are the perfect target for this! A little technique that has served me very well in the past few years is something I call the “pause button”. Whenever anyone asks me to do anything, I reply with “I will get back to you”. This allows me to walk away and think about if it serves me before responding with a reflexive yes when actually it is a resounding no!

Go deeper by accessing the accompanying Journal now!

5 ways to let go Mom guilt

5 ways to let go Mom guilt

All mom’s feel guilt, the stakes are high and we want what is best for our children. We have set out to do what is right, best and will most benefit our precious ones. For many mom’s when we perceive ourselves not doing, acting nor being in line with this intention we feel guilt.

This is such a vicious cycle and what we are expecting of ourselves is impossible without burn out or exhaustion while at the same time if we don’t stay true to this high intention we feel guilt and often shame. None of this sounds very hopeful!

The reality is there is no winning in this current model and we mom’s need to a) identify that what we are doing is not working and never will b) create space for a new belief system and expectations about what we can give to our family c) take care of your own needs so that you can come back to your family happy and healthy.
Inevitably you will feel guilt especially as you are transition into new behaviors of self care and listening to your needs, the challenge for you is to lean into the guilt. That voice in your head that is saying you are being selfish and the knot in your stomach that is pulling you back to your pouting child. Yep that is the guilt and it will be there, your goal is override those thoughts and sensations with the absolute truth – if you do not take care of you then you can not take care of your children with the open heart and present state that you are longing for.

So the next time your child is crying, your partner just walked through the door, the dog still needs to be fed and you have 7 minutes to get to your yoga class, here are some tips to a) tell everyone you love them and get in the car b) over ride that guilt and go enjoy the class c) come back to your family healthy and happy ready to dive in to their needs.

  1. Breath: with one hand on heart and the other on your stomach take 3 belly breaths and remind yourself about the benefits of self care
  2. Have a quote or mantra: something like “I take care of me so I can take care of my family” or “I am teaching my children how to self care by doing this”
  3. Realize this is also for your family: take some time to yourself allows you to come back to your children with joy and a present state of mind, just being there to be there is not benefiting anyone.
  4. Trust that you are not as needed as you think you are: this gives your children, partner, grandparents, neighbours and opportunity to connect with each other in a way that fosters relationships outside of you.
  5. Love yourself too: neglecting yourself is having serious mental, emotional and physical costs. Caring for yourself is less about guilt in not being there for your children and more about necessity for your well being.

Go deeper by accessing the accompanying Journal now!

Why Self care is a necessity?

Why Self care is a necessity?

After months and months of not listening to my body after my daughter was born, I suffered an extreme burn out. Time went by and I finally began to recover, my anxiety had lessened and my vitality was increasing. As soon as I started to feel better, I began to put more pressure on myself, working longer hours, hitting the gym harder, making all meals from scratch, planning that perfect birthday party….and then I crashed…again! I felt devastated, shameful and lost. Had I learned nothing? I knew I had to go deeper within to find the answers but where and how?

During my search, a beautiful wise soul looked me deep in the eyes without judgement and with an open heart asked me “Kristy, what will happen if you never learn the lesson of self love?”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I truly saw how little love I was showing myself and until that changed I would always be in this pattern of pressure followed by burn out. I knew that if I did not find the courage to be gentle and loving with myself that I would get sick, my daughter would never learn self worth and that I would always have a wall up around my husbands love for me.

This was no longer an option, self love was a necessity for me, my daughter and my husband. So began the big shift of kind thoughts, gentle expectations and loving body care. Before every action, I now ask myself “is this loving?” or “is this coming from a loving place”. Although I still slip up, push beyond my limits or put unneeded pressure on myself, I now see it sooner and respond quicker allowing myself to come back to a centered place. We are mom’s we will always be juggling many different things, that’s part of the job description but I have come to understand that how I am caring for myself within the chaos in no longer a nice to do but an absolute necessity!

Go deeper by accessing the accompanying Journal now!