Have you ever cooked for hours, fed everyone at home, and lost your appetite by the time you sat down to eat? Or maybe you’ve stopped yourself from talking about a rough day with your child since you are supposed to be strong for them.
Most of us have grown up watching our parents, especially mothers, negate their feelings and overlook their needs to show up for their families. While we now know better than to subscribe to such limiting beliefs, there’s still some guilt around being a mother looking after yourself, isn’t there?
So this Valentines Day, we sat down with some incredible women to talk about how mothers can guiltlessly prioritize self-care in their busy lives.
This emotionally rich and insightful conversation was led by Women’s Biz Coach, Amruta Ram. Our guest speakers were Ranjitha Jeurkar, Founder of Connext and a Non-Violent Communications Trainer, Suchitra Komandur, certified zentangle art teacher, and the Happiness Coach, Janki Vyas.
Below are some key takeaways from this love-filled conversation. We hope these simple ideas help strengthen your relationship with yourself!
1. Having needs is not being needy.
“I don’t want to seem needy” is a common refrain that comes to mind when we think of sharing our needs with our loved ones. But having needs does not mean that we require too much!
Consider basic physical needs such as hunger and thirst. While these help us feed our bodies and stay alive, our emotional needs help us feel connected, loved, and cared for. So how can we get better at listening to them?
Feelings are feedback about our emotional needs. Positive feelings let us know that our needs are being met. Unpleasant feelings are also important information as they ask us to pause, reassess our needs, and come up with different ways to meet them.
2. Self-care changes according to context.
If you are worn out after a long day, you may want to watch a movie to unwind. If you’ve had a rough week at work, a family game night might just be the thing to recharge you. Remember that with self-care, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Instead, ask yourself what you need to care for and find the right strategy to do that. It can be watching a movie, spending time with your loved ones, or doing yoga. It is not always going to be the same so learn to tell apart and serve your various needs!
Want to host a family game night? From finding the right games to creating a structure, this blog will walk you through everything you need for a perfect evening with your loved ones!
3. By serving yourself first, you can serve others better.
There’s a flawed way of thinking that crops up in our inner dialogue every now and then – if I focus on my own needs, I won’t be able to look after the needs of others.
But we can care for ourselves and others, it’s not an either-or situation! When you feel stuck in such a spot, this simple exercise could help.
Imagine your child where you are at, what would you ask them to do? Chances are, you will tell them to look after themselves and go fulfil their own needs. So take that recommendation and implement it in your life because you are just as deserving!
4. Set boundaries before you reach your 10%
Boundaries have a rap for being something scary and rigid that we put in place to push people out of our lives. But the best boundaries come from a space of deep self-love and are simply about looking after ourselves. So invest some time in getting to know yourself, your hard and soft limits, and practice communicating them with kindness.
If you wait until you have 10% left to give, a boundary can end up coming from a place of fear and anger. Instead, set your boundaries at 50% or 40% so that there’s room for empathy and clarity. As researcher and writer Brené Brown says, clarity is kindness!
5. Find something you feel passionate about and nurture it.
Picture credits: Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
Self-care isn’t just reactive, you can also be proactive about it. One of the easiest ways to do this is by finding something that soothes and energizes you and adding it to your schedule. Committing just 10 or 15 minutes of your day to self-care will be therapeutic, help you feel calmer, and sleep better.
It could be something you used to enjoy in your childhood such as painting or writing. It could even be a new hobby that you pick up such as mediation or some other form of mindful exercise. You don’t need much to make art like zentangles, just a small piece of paper and a pen will do!
6. Give others a chance to help you!
We hear it all the time – it’s okay to ask for help, none of us can do it alone. But knowing that does not make it any easier to act on it. Instead, here’s another way of thinking about reaching out.
Recall the joy and fulfilment you felt when you last helped your partner, child, or a friend. Wouldn’t you want them to have a chance to feel that too? Asking for a helping hand when your plate is full is the perfect way to do that. Besides, showing people your vulnerable side will help them see and love all of you!
Are you teaching your child empathy along with their ABCs? This podcast has some simple ideas and practical tips to talk kindness at home.
7. What if there are no mistakes?
Suchitra reminded us of the zentangles tagline – there are no mistakes! While drawing zentangles, this means that you do not erase anything you put down but keep sketching and building a pattern, incorporating every line into the design.
This can be true of life too. Even if certain situations do not pan out how you hoped, perhaps they are part of a greater design. So find a way to embrace your mistakes and move forward, considering your life as your most beautiful piece of art.
You can watch the entire session here. If you enjoy the chat, drop a comment and let us know!