I think one of the hardest things about being a new mom… one of many… is learning new ways to take care of yourself. I’m not necessarily talking about finding time to take a hot shower or eat a meal that is warm and fresh… although these are lovely luxuries when they happen for us, aren’t they mamas?
What I am talking about is carving out some time for YOU. Like, actual true you-time. FILL your cup up/your cup runneth over type time. Fill your tank, type time.
This has truly been some of the hardest work for me, as a new mama.
With so much else to focus on, with so many other things taking our time and energy as new moms, I’ve discovered (the hard way?!) how easy it is to just let my tank be empty. And quite honestly, I’ve learnt to function on empty. I’m sure all the other new moms can relate.
Let it be known, this is not my best form of functioning nor my favorite state of being. But, you do what you have to do to get by.
But – I don’t believe that we are meant to run on empty for years on end. It’s not meant to be a permanent state. For any of us. New moms or not.
My son has just turned nine months old. And it has gotten to this point in his life where I’m starting to really know our groove and begin to add back in some stuff for moi.
Maybe you don’t have a kid but have been up to your neck in extra projects or tasks at work. In doing so, the end of your long work days look like you collapsing on the couch, to veg out and your weekends are spent “catching up” on sleep or chores. Before you know it you’re back at work. The cycle repeats.
You’re empty too, sis. You don’t have to have a new baby to be running on empty.
Empty is empty. No matter how we got there.
And how we got to that point doesn’t matter so much as to how we turn it around.
Maybe you get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. You decide to start working out, drink more water and eat more nutritious foods.
Maybe you decide enough is enough at work, and start putting your foot down as to what you can take on at this particular point in time.
Whatever the thing that has caused you to be on empty, it’s time to move on from it and practice some self care.
Self-care might be a bit of a woo woo, new agey phrase for you. Many people have a hard time caring for themselves because they have some deep-rooted belief that they don’t need it or deserve it. Some people believe that the care needs to be distributed elsewhere first, before they can care for themselves.
We are all in need and deserving of self-care. And how it is practiced looks different for everyone.
Perhaps for you it’s committing to five hard gym sessions each week. Maybe its meal prepping a week’s work of lunches and dinners on Sunday afternoon to free up that time else during the week. How about dinner or drinks out with friends, to shoot the shit and unwind? It might be sleeping late on Saturdays with an unplanned day ahead of you to do as you please.
There are plenty of ways we can care for ourselves, to fill ourselves up, so that we don’t run on empty.
Figure out what fills you up and start doing more of that.
What makes you feel better after doing it? What leaves you energized and grateful you had the time to partake?
For me? It’s reading a good book at the end of a long day. It’s hot baths, with beautiful smelling essential oils, dim lighting, and soft gentle spa-like music with no lyrics. It’s walks in nature, preferably in dense trees, alone. It’s eating my greens and drinking plenty of water. It’s sitting in stillness and silence for a few minutes everyday and taking long deep breaths. It’s hard yet satisfying workouts and it’s hot yoga.
Some of these I am doing more regularly now that I am getting my me-time back and taking better care of myself. Some are still a work in progress and haven’t fully been integrated back into my life. But I’m working on it. I want it so I’m trying to make it happen.
Even a half full tank is better than completely empty. We just have to keep doing the work to be happy and healthy. Self-care is that work.
Take some time for yourself over the next couple of days. What can you do to fill your cup, your tank? What’s the first thing that comes to mind, something you could do if you had the time?
Self-care can change day to day, as well as over time as our needs change. Check in with yourself and then do what you can do to take care of yourself. You need it and deserve it.