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What does self-care mean anyways?

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I was chatting with a friend of a friend yesterday (funny enough, her name is Kelly too) and we were chatting about moms taking care of themselves.

It was a really interesting chat because we said you hear the terms self-care and mindfulness thrown around so much these days that they have almost lost meaning.

PLUS, with moms it can be hard to even think of self-care, doing anything extra, doing anything for ourselves, etc. because we have children to take care, we also work (stay-at-home moms this includes you!), have friends/families/partners… so where does self-care come into play?

And what is self-care anyways?

Really it is just listening to yourself and putting tools and habits in place so that you can be your best self.

You know, I get it…  I have been there too…  Not taking care of myself, feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, run down and some days it creeps back in, but I have the tools now to help me get through it.

We’re living in an interesting time where we have our mom role, plus a work role, plus our family role, but now we are also expected to:

  • take care of ourselves,
  • figure out who we are,
  • be healthy,
  • keep our kids healthy,
  • keep up with the Joneses,
  • do all of the crafts,
  • be on the PTA….

But the flip-side of that is that we are living in a time when we are starting to realize how important it is that we take care of ourselves and figure out who we are and what we want.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Our moms were at a bit of a forefront because they were one of the first generations of moms who had careers (maybe not the first, but one of).  So they were just doing the best that they could with what they had to work with. Many times dad was still the breadwinner and so mom may have had a career but still been expected to do the main parental duties.

Our generation is a step further than this where we now know that we have careers but we also know that we need to take care of ourselves.  The problem is, what does this look like?

For generations now, moms sacrificed everything for their families, so it’s almost like it’s bred into us.  It can almost be like a badge of honor to be the martyr mom… But does it truly feel good?

How do we change that?  Here are a few tips that you can start right away:

  • GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!!  Don’t try to make too many changes at a time.  Just 1 new habit a month, if that is too much then 1 new habit every 2 months.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Mother yourself (this came from our chat): How would you talk to your child?  When they are overwhelmed do you aggressively ask them what is wrong with them and why are they acting that way?  Do you berate them? No? Then why are you doing that to yourself? (and if you don’t do this to yourself then give me a virtual high-five).  Give yourself a hug and tell yourself it will be ok.
  • You know, you talk to yourself more than anyone else does, make sure you are saying nice things to yourself.
  • Set boundaries.  If you can’t do something it’s ok to say “no”.  I am giving you permission to do that.

If you start here, then everything else comes easier.

Kelly Hickey helps women be their strongest, happiest, healthiest selves.  If you want to find out more, check out her company Strong Woman Co.

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Take care,

Kelly

Kelly R Ryan

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