Hey Mom! It’s Time for a Time Out!
Most moms would agree that they don’t have time for self care because they are too busy caring for everyone else. Almost six months ago, the day after Thanksgiving, I found myself rushed to the hospital believing I was having a stroke. I remember the urgency of the nurses and technicians as they were examining me. I was experiencing slurred speech, left sided numbness, blurry vision, and an excruciating headache. While laying on a stretcher in the emergency room, the only thoughts running through my mind were:
“The kitchen sink has a pile of dishes!”
“The baby needs a bath.”
“There is no way I can stay here. The kids have a party to go to next week.”
As my blood pressure continue to climb well past the mid 200’s and I could not even speak or see clearly, my mind was still consumed with all of the things I needed to accomplish at home.
I don’t know about you, but for the most part, each day, my mind is filled with all of the things that I need to accomplish for those I love. School, finances, extra curricular activities, church, and so much more are always at the forefront of the day. From the moment I open my eyes to the time my head hits the pillow at night, my loved ones take the front seat.
Time for a Self Care Time Out
After what seemed like an eternity and an MRI, the doctors informed me that I did not have a stroke, but was experiencing the symptoms of having extremely high blood pressure. I was also told that because of my uncontrolled blood pressure over time, I now had damage to my heart and was at risk for heart failure. If I did not make major life changes, I would not be alive to see my children grow up. My tears stung my face as the doctor explained my next steps. First and most importantly, it was necessary to take TIME OUT for me! This mommy needed to become a task and priority on her own task list.
In order to accomplish this Time Out, I knew my self care plan could not feel like a chore and it needed to be flexible. After much thought, The Self Care Checklist was created. Focusing on only 4 areas of things I enjoyed the most, I was able to develop a gentle reminder to take care of myself.
Time Out #1 Eat Something Tasty
I come from a family where food is not just for nourishment. It is an experience! Most of the people in my family are chefs, so food is always delicious and plentiful. After several years of some really tough points in my life, I became an emotional eater. Along the way, I lost sight that I needed to be more mindful about what I was consuming as well as how much I was consuming. Thinking about what I was putting into my body became my number one on The Self Care Checklist because I knew that what I ate was going to have a huge impact on how I felt and my long term health. I started by making a list of the the Top 6 Foods I love to eat. Then, I found a healthy alternative and put those on my list. Each of the things on my list are foods I enjoy eating, but are also healthy. So, whatever you enjoy eating, find a healthy alternative and write it down.
Time Out #2 Read a Book
Hmm.. let me guess. The last book you read had brightly colored pictures, super heroes, animals, or famous cartoon characters. If that sounds about right, this Time Out is for you! Researchers at the National Library of New Zealand say that reading for pleasure “improves literacy, social skills, health and learning outcomes.” Who in the world has TIME to read a book for pleasure? Well, certainly before being Forced Into Self Care , reading for pleasure was the furthest thing from my mind. There was just too much to be done in the course of day. Then it hit me, reading for pleasure was the perfect way to momentarily forget and unwind, even if just for fifteen minutes a day. Don’t forget about the awesomeness of e-books and audio books. There are tons of ways to take this much needed Time Out.
Time Out #3 Get Yourself Something
How often do you walk into a store set on purchasing something for yourself and then buying something for the kids instead? Have you ever been given a gift card for a present and spent the money on someone other than you? I am guilty of this on a regular basis. My family knows that if they want me to buy something for myself, they have to practically take me to the store and buy it right then and there. Sure, there are tons of things I would love to buy for myself. I just end up thinking of all of the things the kids can use instead. This Time Out gives you permission to write down at least six things you really want. Putting those items on a list makes them tangible. It allows you to see that, although the kids have things they want and need, so do you!
Time Out #4 Enjoy Life
Two weeks ago, a few friends and I decided to go out for a bite to eat without our husbands and children. We chatted, caught up on all of the crazy things going on in our lives, and laughed at some of the old times we used to have. We had such a great time, we decided that we would make this a frequent activity. For many moms, finding time to go out seems like a daunting task. The planning and preparation involved feels like too much of a hassle. I have found myself cancelling an outing just because I didn’t want to go through the process of setting things up at home. After being Forced Into Self Care, I decided it was time to start enjoying life! I wrote of a list of a few activities and things I enjoy doing and made a goal to accomplish one each month. Taking time to enjoy life and do things you love will give you a renewed energy you forgot you had. Do you love walks in the park, having coffee with friends, getting a manicure? Sit back, call a friend, and make some plans.
Taking Time Out for yourself and practicing self care isn’t as hard as you think. All you need is a pen and The Self Care Checklist. Moms spend so much time pouring into their families that they often become the last person on their to do list. You are loved and you are important. Make yourself a priority this Mother’s Day!
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