I feel like I’ve been getting some strong signals lately that I need to do a better job at self-care. To be honest, I really suck at it and to be even more honest, I don’t even know how to take care of myself. I never learned healthy coping strategies growing up, not faulting my parents for this but just providing a big part of the picture. I’ve been a runner ever since I was 15 and while I love the way it makes me feel I (1) find less time to fit in a run now that I’m a parent & (2) running, while great, doesn’t work as the sole healthy source of self-care in my fairly empty toolkit.
I consider myself to be a highly sensitive person (thank you Kate Street for introducing me to this terminology). I feel other people’s emotions deeply, like to an unhealthy level where I take them on as my own. I can feel energies in the air even when no one is speaking. I’ve joked about feeling like an emotional sponge but it’s really not funny in reality. It’s hard and painful a lot of the time. Self-care is important for all moms, but especially for those of us who are extra in-tune with emotions and energies. Figuring out how to take care of myself with kindness is a journey I’m just beginning.
And what’s coming up for me so far includes giving myself the permission to say no to things. I’m a passionate person and care greatly about social justice. I also have a tendency to dive right into things without even a thought to how it may impact me because I put the issue/cause above myself. My fellow blogger Sharlene wrote about this very thing a few days ago and I really identified with this sentence from her piece: “I learned that you can care passionately about something, and that doesn’t require you to be the one to tend to it.” It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that at 31 years old I’m just starting to believe that.
I’ve also realized I need to spend less time on the internet. I need more time to myself (which is kind of impossible considering my schedule). I need to find time to be out in the woods, where I feel so good. I need to keep taking meditation classes and continue to be in tune with my spirituality. While it’s great that I’m starting to identify more of what I need, it’s hard to actually figure out how to give myself these things as a busy working mom.
And I suppose even more than that, it’s hard to give myself permission to actually need anything at all. Now there’s my deepest confession – my inability to even believe it’s OK for me to have needs in the first place. So hard to admit that on the internet, but so very true.