The phrase ‘self care’ seems to be all the rage these days. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing…in fact…it’s a great thing to be talking and hearing about! But are we actually doing it? Do we know what it is? And what does this notion of ‘self care’ look like and feel like to each person as an individual? As a postpartum mom, you may be laughing at the notion of self care right now.
“Self care? Yeah right. I’m lucky if I get time to shit in peace by myself.”
“You mean spend time eating right, exercising, taking long baths, and meditating? Dream on. That ain’t happening in this household.”
Okay, fair. Self care isn’t always an easy thing to achieve for you busy, bustling moms. It often takes time, some thought, and even planning ahead. Worse yet, we may even have to ask for it. (if you’re anything like me, asking for anything isn’t easy) But let’s challenge those barriers for a minute. If you’re in pain (pelvic, low back, or otherwise) and/or your daily energy is in the tank, doesn’t self care seem like a necessity to get you back on your feet again in a less painful and more energetic way?
The good news is, self care can look like many things. And it’s a much bigger landscape than simply eating well, exercising, meditating, and taking long baths. Having self care is also about how you treat yourself. It’s like having self respect. It’s how you find enjoyment, play, happiness, balance, rest, and companionship. And these things look and feel differently to every mom (and every woman for that matter). All too often in the PT clinic and with my health coaching clients, I hear about the constant time constraints, the too-busy-of-schedules, the too-many-things-to-do, and the concept of “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done right, so I might as well just do it myself.” These are certainly barriers in our days and our mindsets that can keep us from getting those PT exercises in, or that daily brisk walk, or that extra 30 minutes of sleep, or even that socially distanced porch date that you keep putting off with your BFF.
Getting self care can be really hard. Mostly, because it requires boundaries. It requires knowing your yes/no compass and accepting the things you just don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Delegation and saying ‘no’ are forms of self care…Just because you’re really good at what you do, doesn’t mean you have to do it (especially if that thing doesn’t bring you joy nor serve you in your life’s purpose).
Once you figure out how to create boundaries in your life, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll see a correlation of having less pain, more energy, and more fun (yay!)…day by day…little by little…year by year…
I’m a recovering boundary annihilator – I realized that my issues surrounding boundaries in my work as a physical therapist was really a deeper values conflict. The conflict was between taking care of and supporting others or myself. After 10 years in, I finally realized I didn’t have to make that choice any longer, as that wasn’t the intended goal at all. Just giving myself permission to turn off and tune out was a game changer (and saying ‘sorry but no’ a little more often).
Only you can take care of you, but you deserve a team of support who can back you along the way.
(by the way, you’re totally right – no one can do it quite like you can, so take care of yourself so you can go out there and conquer the world…)