So much responsibility, so many things to do… Are you running out of steam? You are managing:
Your Job / Business
And that’s without considering what you do with/for friends, community, school involvement, church and everything else.
I for one am not disputing these top-level relationships should be nurtured. They are key to being connected as human beings, they are often the source of our love, joy and commitment to living. However, there is another top-level relationship missing… You!
Sadly, this is the biggest issue of all, the lack of recognition given to self-care, its importance and relevance in today’s demanding world.
Whilst you are running from pillow to post, how are the other people in these top level relationships assisting?
Partners & Children
If you have a partner, is your partner free to focus solely on work, make appointments to go to the gym or sport activity without question, rely on a cooked meal, the kids being in order, the home being organised? Or does your partner play an active role in the distribution of tasks?
Do your children have any responsibilities (that they follow through on)? Are you teaching them how to help themselves or how to rely on someone to do everything for them? When is the right time to let them begin to do things for themselves?
I grew up with parents who demonstrated the importance of sharing the load. Yes, my mum cooked most of the time but when needed, my dad jumped in, no question, no problem.
Getting 4 kids ready for school was a shared duty; I can remember my dad doing my hair when mum could not, taking us to school when mum was at work and vice versa (something they chose to do for all of our secondary school life! Wondering if they didn’t trust us to go 😊).
They cleaned the home together and each of us had a duty to take care of our personal space, after all we were fortunate enough to have personal space!
They showed us that together, more gets done in less time and that means everyone gets “some time”.
As a single mum I had to get my head around letting my son do things for himself although I also had the good fortune of having parents who wanted to have quality time with their grandson and made going back to work easy for me. He traveled quite some distance on his own or with a friend to his first secondary school and I encouraged him to look after his personal space; not always successfully I can tell you! But you have to start somewhere…
As your parents age, do you happily support them any way you can when you can, knowing it is appreciated or do you feel you do more & more for them through expectation? After all, they did it for you for years so it’s the very least you can do.
The place you do anything from affects everything; how you think, how you feel and how you do what you do – affecting your energy accordingly. So, it’s important to operate from a place of love not fear, from joy not resentment.
Sadly. I lost my dad back in 2013. He was my dad, my top cheerleader, my encourager and reality checker. He kept me grounded and I miss our conversations, sitting watching a film together and of course, I wish we had, had more time together. But I do know we had quality time together and that counts for so much.
Fortunately. my mum is alive & well, a wonderful woman who I love dearly and who also drives me insane with her never-ending worrying – it is what it is. I rarely have a week without having time with her and learning to appreciate & enjoy ‘being’ with her, not necessarily doing things with her unless we want to.
What’s really going on with you and how are these key level relationships playing out? (We haven’t touched on work/business here)
Ask yourself, are the kids appreciating less and expecting more? Your kids don’t have to think; you do it for them. pack their PE kit regardless of them being 6 or 16, you prepare their lunch or organise their lunch money, you give them a lift to school or purchase their travel pass, they get a dinner on the table, taken to & from every out of school/college activity and so much more.
You become the constant go to resource for all things they don’t want to do or can’t be asked to do. Lack of responsibility becomes their norm (even if they are saying thank you) and you just keep on feeding into that. Behaviours that may well impact them in later life.
Is your partner, while appreciative of what you do, unaware of all the things you actually do, so when your health takes a downturn for the worst, is genuinely shocked? “What do you mean she’s over-stressed? How did this happen? She’s always kept the family ticking over, even with her job/business/community work. Why didn’t she say something? I didn’t realise”.
And your parents, whilst your support is required & welcomed, no parent, certainly not one I’ve met, wants to see their child’s health deteriorate faster than their own; no parent wants that level of emotional pain. Are you getting the help & support you need to nurture them and are you communicating what is actually possible or playing superwoman?
Ultimately, the question is, how are you currently operating and is it sustainable? What will have to give for you to keep serving everyone in every way? Your emotional wellbeing, your mental health & /or your physical wellbeing?
There must be a better way of serving others without killing yourself in the process… And self-care is the answer.
If you don’t want to burn out and run out of steam, you must start putting your health and wellbeing on the map and it begins with open and honest conversations…
Michelle Obama stated:
“Many of us, we have a hard time putting ourselves on our own priority list, let alone at the top of it, and that’s what happens when it comes to our health as women. We are so busy giving and doing for others that we almost feel guilty to take that time out for ourselves.”
“We are trained that way and we have to have a different set of conversations to un-train us. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight,” Obama continued. “But if we don’t start having conversations about this as women, because, forget what anyone says, we still control what happens in the household, so if we don’t have our act together as women, as mothers, as grandmothers, we still aren’t going to be able to get our kids on track.”
Couldn’t agree more… It’s time for change. Come and join the conversation at www.selfcarematters.online – your thoughts & opinions matter!