“If you don’t make time for wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for illness” ~ Unknown (Please contact me for attribution).
Someone shared this quote with me today when we talked about self-care. This isn’t to scare you by any means, but to think about taking the time now to reduce your stress.
According to a 2010 study by the American Psychological Association, moms are some of the most stressed out people. Ever. And are more likely to report headaches, wanting to cry or have upset stomach/indigestion than men.
The thing is, as a mom, you’re responsible for so much: work, kids, home, etc. Even if you have a spouse or partner, you’re still more likely to take everything on. And experience higher levels of stress as a result.
So, if you’re reading this and seeing some of this stress in your life, I’m challenging you right now to consider taking time out for you, for your self-care. Because it matters so much. Because you matter so much.
There’s an illusion at work that has you pushing even though you’re exhausted. It’s called the “I can keep going even if I feel like crap” or “Moms are supposed to give everything for their families including their happiness and well-being.” We’re conditioned from a young age that becoming a mother and sacrificing ourselves is the end all and be all. And that if we take time out for ourselves, we aren’t good mothers or partners.
Listen up, mama, I’ve got news for you.
You were a person before you became a mom and partner.
Before joining the ranks of women everywhere being called “mama” about 5 million times a day, you were an individual with needs, wants, dreams and goals. You had a life of your own. And it takes a back seat when you’ve got kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to disappear completely.
For months last year, I kept my head barely above water, focusing on doing my work and flying under the radar. Here’s what happened: I was anxious and exhausted. Living on coffee most of the day and eating only one meal per day. I kept making mistakes, which made me more anxious and led to more mistakes. And my idea of self-care at the time was to stay up late after my boys went to bed to scroll through the search function on Instagram. And then I was exhausted when I got up in the morning. And the cycle began again. No self-care. Just barely surviving.
Then I was fired and forced to take a good, hard look at my life. At how I was living. And it wasn’t good. I was doing NOTHING to take care of myself and reduce my stress. I wasn’t standing up for myself when things got hard at work because I was so tired and so scared. Life caught up with me and stopped me when I didn’t listen to what my body and emotions were telling me. Since I didn’t make time for wellness, I was forced to make time for illness (except the illness was the job itself).
Self-care was a life-saver. Slowly, I started doing things I enjoyed. Like writing, going on quiet walks and even listening to music again. I realized that under all of the stress, anxiety, work and responsibilities, I lost my voice. The simple things in life that made me happy. And honestly, I wasn’t the mom or the person I knew I could be. The one who made me proud to be me.
But, my experience isn’t the only reason I’m passionate about helping you get your self-care. There’s a woman I know who worked hard, had kids, grand-kids and a ton of social responsibilities. She was always running from one thing to the next and I wondered if she ever got any sleep. This woman was counting the days until retirement, waiting for that glorious time when she could happy dance her way out of her job.
One day, everything changed.
Her time ran out.
She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and was gone 6 months later. This woman died without having slowed down long enough to smell the roses. Her illness and passing were the wake up call I needed to take care of myself better. To live my life happier by making time for myself, my dreams and my family.
You may asking yourself, why is this woman’s story so special and why did it have such a profound impact on me? Because, she was my mom.
Here’s the thing I learned from losing her. I learned that the time is NOW. There’s no waiting, no hesitating. My life has been much more enjoyable, good and bad, because I chose to do the things I wanted now. Whether it was a job change, or finishing college or even just making time for myself everyday for self-care. The time in each of those moments was now.
YOUR time is now.
Make it happen. 5 minutes a day for self-care is all you need to start. And if you need more ideas on how to make self-care happen now, check out my free guide “Steal Your Time Back: 6 Secrets for Busy Working Moms” here.