“Mom, you have friends?!”
It was my 5-year-old’s innocent response to me mentioning my girlfriends. Since having twins five years ago and then another son, I don’t get a chance to chat with, let alone see, my girlfriends as much as I would like. Yet, they still carry an important role in my life.
Girlfriends help each other carry their burdens, celebrate each others’ accomplishments and bring joy to each others’ lives. Girlfriends also have a keen sense of intuition. Despite miles of distance and months without communication, girlfriends are there when we need them most.
Take for example a dear friend who called me out of the blue as I was just beginning to miscarry my first pregnancy. Or another girlfriend who popped up on Google chat one day when I was having a terrible time coping with my son’s developmental delays. On two of the worst days of my life, these women
helped put everything into perspective. I hope I’ve been there to do the same.
When the teeter-totter of life drops you square into a puddle of mud, it’s usually a girlfriend that climbs on the opposite seat and lifts you back up (then helps you shop for new pants). As women we naturally care for and nurture others, and through the sisterhood of girlfriends we give that nurturing back to ourselves.
Today’s author is Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editor of St. Louis Sprout & About (www.stlsprout.com).
Regarding self-sacrifice as a badge of honor comes from our very best intentions. We’ve been told that when we put others’ needs first, we’ll feel so good about ourselves that our needs will diminish. While this is often true about our desires, it is dangerously incorrect about our needs.
Our primary need is for love. Conditioning taught us to look for others to meet this: parents, siblings, friends, lovers and even our children. This dynamic would often require our significant others to suppress their needs in favor of ours. This can’t be love. Furthermore, there is nobody who can love you
the way you need to be loved — with one exception: YOU!
Love is best demonstrated with time and attention. We must give ourselves all the time and attention we need, so that our soul is overflowing with love. We can’t contain it. We must give it away! Free from unmet needs, your loved ones will sense the pure joy you derive from the relationship. They’ll neither feel defensive about disappointing you, nor will they act out in order to get your attention.
Real Mom Laura Nash
Only you know what you need. Only you can provide it. Take the time to check-in with yourself. Discern your wants from your needs. Extend love to yourself through self-care and your soul will soar.
Today’s author Laura Nash is a consultant and Chopra-certified meditation instructor who teaches individuals and companies “peace of mind” skills. Visit her an http://www.lauranash.com.
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!