I feel a little like Self Care is the ‘it’ word these days. Along with ‘balance’. Any mom blog or website you read will reiterate over and over again the importance of taking time for you, reminding you that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Every page differs on exactly what that self care looks like and ultimately I think it varies for everyone. Some swear by sweating it out at the gym (ha! not me!). Others curl up with a good book, or go out with friends, or walk in nature, or find a weekend to go away alone or with their partner, the list goes on. I think the point is that doing something for you that is fulfilling for you, that recharges your batteries is important to do as often as you can. I get my nails done. 🙂
But self-care is more than things you do, its a way of thinking, of being. It’s about putting your needs at the forefront. An afternoon at the spa results in amazing feeling feet and beautiful nails, but it doesn’t fill my soul. A walk in the woods may accomplish some soul filling but it too doesn’t quite fulfill the whole thing. Caring for myself would mean sometimes putting my needs first, it would mean making decisions that ultimately made my day to day life easier or less stressed. Self-care also means sometimes letting things go, letting go of perfection, or needing to be involved, or whatever it is that isn’t happening the way I wanted. For me right now self-care is my focus. Or at least I’m trying to make it my focus. Sometimes what my soul wants is a day in front of the TV, and I’m going to let that happen and not feel guilty about it. Other days my soul is ready for fun with the kids, or walks in the neighbourhood, or cookie baking, occasionally it’s even in the mood for school work and feeling that sense of accomplishment. I’m deciding, or rather trying, to put myself and my needs first because what those mom blogs say is true, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I have made the Dean’s Honours List at school, anyone who knows me knows that this is no small feat for me, have I mentioned how much I dislike school? I’m getting good grades, the kids are doing well, life is going on as it should but I’m still struggling. So self-care for me is taking a new road. I’m taking the advice of doctors and starting medication to help regulate my depression. Hopefully, with the aid of some balancing meds, I can find the self-care routine that actually works for me. That helps me ‘live my best life’ (to continue on the pop culture catchphrase road).
So what’s the point of this post anyway? (Beyond telling you that I got my nails done this afternoon and they look amazing.) Well, I believe that mental health is an important issue, and I believe that it still has this stigma around it as something that only ‘they’ have. And while I’m struggling in a very private way I’m also not an overly private person and I believe that the only way to make something less of a ‘them’ thing and more of an ‘everyone’ thing is for people to talk, and to recognize that there are lots of people who struggle with depression and other mental illness and it’s okay to get help for that. More importantly, it’s okay to talk about it, because I really want my kids to grow up in a world where if they’re struggling they can feel confident and comfortable enough to talk to anyone about it and that person will not judge or make them feel small or inferior because they are hurting in a way that others can’t see.
Talk about it, open up and take a chance that the individual you’re opening up to might be understanding. If you’re being talked to, shut up and listen. That’s all. Give a hug, don’t judge, don’t offer solutions, don’t attempt to ‘fix’ the problem, it’s not a problem you are qualified to fix and attempting to do so makes the other person feel like they are ‘broken’ or ‘wrong’ in some way. So again, shut up and listen. Give a hug. Then ask, how can I help you? Or just say I’m here for you. And remember, shut up and listen. 😉