I know this is a little confronting but it’s only 92 days until summer hits us. That’s right, only 92 days….eeek!! That also means it’s only a little over 15 weeks until Christmas! I’m serious! And with term 3 school holidays just around the corner, it got me thinking about how there never seems to be enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to looking after our own needs.
Our days just seem to get busier, amiright? Between the kids, partners, part-time or full-time work, the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning a mum’s work is never truly done. We also seem to be the only ones doing it! Did you know that the recent 2016 Australian census showed that Aussie women on average do up to 14 hours of unpaid domestic work per week whereas men do less than 5 hours? That hardly seems right, does it – add a couple of kids to your happy home and suddenly, you’re not just caring for their needs but doing the majority of the domestic stuff as well!
It makes sense that in this time of our lives – when we are at our busiest – we should be more vigilant of taking care of ourselves and investing in our mental health and wellbeing. The sad truth is, though, that we don’t. Sometimes it’s just too hard to find the time (with the amount of washing I do each week, I swear there are people living in my house I haven’t met yet) and if you do find the time, it’s not as simple as just walking out the door with your keys and wallet anymore.
But here’s the thing so many mums struggle with – we are so busy focusing on everyone else’s needs we just don’t prioritise ourselves, or worse, we feel like we shouldn’t take that time out (oh, mummy guilt, you insidious creature). I don’t know how these feelings came to be such a common theme for women (I’m certainly not immune), but so many of us truly think that we can’t take the time for ourselves (there’s so much to do! I need to iron! I have to be there for bath time!) because our family’s needs come first. The simple truth is that making that time for yourself is not going to bring your family’s world crashing down around their ears and they will be able to carry on without you for a few hours. You, on the other hand, may not…well, at least your mental health may not.
Let me put it this way. In the safety presentation at the beginning of any flight, you will always be told that if an oxygen mask drops from the ceiling, you need to fit your own mask before helping others, even your children. It makes sense, right? Get yourself sorted so you can EFFECTIVELY help others. There’s no point helping everyone get their mask on if by the time you get to yours, you’re ready to pass out! And that’s the crux of it. If we don’t take time to look after ourselves, then it makes it harder for us to look after others. If you’re exhausted and stressed, it makes looking after your kids that much harder. Your temper is shorter, your attention is split and our bodies and minds become run down. Self-care gives us the opportunity to re-energise ourselves and treat ourselves as worthy and deserving of that care.
One great way to commit to self-care is to join a community, whether it be a book club, a fitness group or a regular scheduled catch up with your friends. This not only provides you with an activity to look forward to and participate in but you will be doing it with a bunch of people who will notice if you’re not quite OK and will listen if you need to talk or require support in other ways.
Other great ideas are taking some time out for yourself with a massage, a movie (kids movies don’t count) or going for a run. Just sitting in the park on your own enjoying the sun with a book is another great option. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do have to spend the time. It goes without saying that looking after your physical health will benefit your mental health which is where BounceBack Fitness comes to the party, but sometimes we also need to just look after ourselves with a good mani/pedi and a trashy mag. So please, make some time for yourself ASAP! Oh, and tell your hubby it’s his turn to cook dinner – there’s half an hour right there 😉
What does your self care look like? Comment in the box below