As I move from clinical practice into my new venture, I get into the “flow” much more often. This flow is the state of being so involved and immersed in what I’m doing that time doesn’t matter. I’ll look up at the clock after what feels like 10 minutes and realize that 3 hours have passed! This state is one of being constantly present.
It’s not like I don’t notice things around me – I do. But when I’m in this immersed state, it is easier to ignore things that would have side-tracked me before. I know that those things will still be around when I’m done with my current project.
The problem is that I get so immersed that I end up “working” sometimes over 12 hours a day! I put working in quotation marks because for the most part, I am enjoying what I am doing, so it doesn’t feel like work, even though I may get paid for doing what I am doing. However, working that much means that I am not taking time for self-care! That’s a no-no!
About 2 weeks ago, I was looking at my calendar and calculating just how much time per day I was spending doing work projects. That’s when I realized that I was working too much! It didn’t feel like I was, but whether or not I am enjoying myself, it’s essential that I take time out for renewal and recharging. I know that eventually, working that many hours will lead to burn-out.
Now, I set the alarm on my phone to alert me at various intervals to stop and stretch, eat (yes, I have to remind myself to eat!), and check in with the rest of the world. I also now have an alarm that goes off at 5pm, which means that I have to find a stopping point and actually stop for the day. It’s hard sometimes, but I find that when I do make myself stop, I end up doing things for myself and end the day feeling relaxed and accomplished.
Whether you like your work or not, it’s very important to keep regular hours and to include self-care in every day!
Today’s Self-Care Month Guest Post is courtesy of Linda Meyer. Linda is a mother of two, a Postpartum Depression survivor and a Missouri Co-Coordinator for Postpartum Support International. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Linda!
The term self-care was not even on my radar as a new mom. You give birth and this becomes your 24 hr/day job until eternity, right? No more lazy mornings, naps, lingering showers, uninterrupted meals, or socializing with friends.
Imagine that you are performing a monotonous mommy routine all day every day without thinking about yourself or your needs; you’re losing yourself. Three months postpartum, motherhood became tremendously more difficult and overwhelming than I ever imagined. In fact, I was not in love with my new role, completely unaware that I was actually suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). I did eventually seek help (not an easy task!). After receiving a diagnosis, I began working with a healthcare provider and a therapist, and self-care became instrumental in my recovery.
Here are some simple self-care suggestions for the new mom:
- Get out by yourself without your baby (It’s okay to do this, I promise!)
- Shower/get dressed
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise
- Talk with a therapist/counselor (important for emotional distress)
- Stay in touch with supportive friends (or make new friends)
- Sneak in a date night every so often
- Occasionally ask a relative/friend to take your baby overnight (It’s okay to do this, really!)
It doesn’t matter if you choose to do one or several steps listed here. Choose whatever makes you happy, helps you relax and reminds you of the person you were before you became MOM.
We’ve deemed February as Self-Care Month! It’s a great time to do special things for YOU! Valentine’s Day focuses on relationships, but our February focuses on love for the Self.
We’re looking for a few good women to be guest bloggers on Saturdays during February. Have you got something to say about the importance of self-care? Have you established a self-care regimen that works for you? Do you have questions and would like to hear feedback from our readers? Have you made a video about self-care or wellness that you’d like to share? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then please contact us using the form below!
You may re-post things from your own blog or site (and we’ll put a link in your post to direct readers to your site), write something original or post something that someone else wrote along with your reaction to it (make sure to include any relevant links to the original article/author). Basically, our website is your canvas to paint whatever you’d like as long as it pertains to self-care, self-compassion, self-love, wellness, mind/body health or any other POSITIVE mental health topic.
We look forward to hearing from you, ladies! Let’s share the love in February!
Diane will be back posting next Monday after she gets back from her fabulous trip to Spain! Hopefully we’ll get to hear all about it!
In the meantime, I wanted to share an experience of my own with you. My family and I recently decided that it was time for my mother to move in with us for several reasons. I felt such a mixture of emotions at the thought: happiness because I’ll see her more and because I’ll be there if she needs anything medically; apprehension because of our past relationship (though it has since been healed); and wariness that I might fall back into my childhood relationship patterns with her.
She’s only been here a couple of days and I have to keep myself from treating her like a guest. My impulse is to ask, “Can I do something or get something for you?” In reality, all she wants is to find her own way and settle into her own routine that is harmonious with ours. My offers to do things for her would just enable her to be more dependent than independent, and neither of us want that.
We have agreed on a code of complete honesty, even if that may mean hurt feelings. We have discovered the hard way through the years that mind reading is just not possible!
This is a big change for all of us, and I struggle to remember that. Holding myself back from offering things and allowing myself to be calm in spite of my mother’s habitual anxiety is a challenge. But my intuition is telling me that this is a good situation, so I’m focusing on an attitude of gratitude instead of stressing out. It’s not easy, but I am worth it – and so are YOU!
Have you ever encountered someone that you’ve never met before, but it seems like you’ve known them forever? Someone that you knew within the first 5 minutes of talking to him/her that you want to be in his/her life (in friendship or romantic relationship)? If you have, you know how rare that is. If you haven’t, let me tell you about it!
Recently, I was on a writing assignment and went to interview my source for the story. The interview went very well and we were both professional. After the “official” work was over, this young lady and I sat around talking about this and that; it was surface chit-chat, but I felt as if I could tell her my deepest secrets – and I had only just met her!
It turns out that she had experienced the same phenomenon with me, and we found ourselves contacting each other to find ways to hang out. She’s a volunteer with a local animal charity, so I signed up too. I have made time to help out on 2 occasions so far, and while I enjoy working with the animals and people, it is nice to have extra time with my new friend!
If one of us is not feeling well, the other will offer (and mean it) to cook chicken soup or go to the store for remedies. If one of us is having a crisis, we instinctively contact each other. Keep in mind that I have known this woman for less than a month.
Somehow, I just know that I can trust her and that I can count on her. I also know that I feel a deep loyalty to her and will make myself available whenever I am able when she needs something. How can someone I just met feel like a best friend? How can such a short relationship feel like it’s taken years to build and cultivate?
I firmly believe that people are put in our lives for a reason: to teach us lessons, to see us through a crisis or victory, to be there when we need them. My “new” friend and I joke that we are long-lost sisters, but I know without a doubt that she is supposed to be in my life and I am grateful to have found her!
A friend recently directed me to a website called The Happiness Project. Basically, it chronicles a woman’s quest to find happiness in several areas of her life. She is very insightful and has some great ideas!
Happiness is something everyone aspires to, but have you given any thought to what happiness means to YOU? 99% of my clients list “to be happy” as one of their goals for therapy. When I ask them what “happy” means, I usually get confused or blank looks.
Happy means feeling happy, right? Well, do you think it’s possible to feel happy 100% of the time? Even the spiritually enlightened, such as Eckhart Tolle in modern days, and Buddha in times past, acknowledge that all feelings are fleeting – even happiness. So if it is not possible to feel happy all the time, how does one achieve the goal of “to be happy?”
I usually ask my clients to think of a time when they felt really happy, joyous even. I ask how long that feeling lasted. I have gotten answers anywhere from “a few minutes” to “a couple of weeks,” but no one has even said that the feeling was permanent. As I ask them to dissect that memory and feeling, setting the actual joy aside, most people come to the conclusion that inner peace and/or contentment is what lingered the longest.
The grand question is, “How do I get inner peace?” I wish I had a single answer that would work for everyone or have access to a magic pill. Since I don’t, let me tell you what I have learned from my clients and my own experiences. First, realize how little control you really have over your life. The only thing you have the ability to control is your own behavior. You can’t control other people, circumstances or events. So, if you are unhappy in some area of your life, either change your own behavior or work on accepting the fact that it is what it is and you can’t change it. Once you get a firm grasp of this concept, techniques such as meditation, yoga, aerobic exercise and mindfulness will be helpful in acquiring the inner peace you seek. Once you stop trying to control everything, you’ll free up some inner resources that can help lighten your emotional load.
If any of you have seen Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow on Showtime, then you know that this type of interaction is possible (though we hope no counselor is as awful as Kudrow’s character). Therapy is indeed coming into the 21st Century, with resources available to folks that may have had none before.
Regroup Therapy is one such example of how resources are reaching out to new moms instead of them having to research, coordinate and get to a therapist’s office. Regroup offers both group and individual sessions from the comfort of your own home or office. Each group and session is led by a licensed mental health professional with extensive training in the field of perinatal mood disorders. Clients just need a computer with a web cam, a microphone and head phones or earbuds, which most modern machines come equipped with.
This service is useful in many situations. Folks who live far away from any resources, moms who may be just too depressed to get to an appointment, new moms who want a group experience where no groups are available, and even moms who like the less personal interaction with a therapist on the computer screen can all benefit from Regroup’s services.
I am proud to be a part of Regroup, and ask that you spread the word to anyone who may benefit from a service like this. Please take a look at our website and stay tuned for exciting new things to come! Therapy can be a very vital part of self-care, and with Regroup, it can be much easier, too!
Regroup: We Bring the Support to You