This week I am calling out to all of those Mums who consistently prioritise everyone else ahead of themselves!! Believe me, I am so guilty of this too but it’s something I constantly work hard on because I truly believe that by investing some time into myself, it actually makes me a better Mum in the long run! You know that old cliché ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ – well I believe it actually goes deeper than that, it’s not about just making sure you’re not empty, it’s about filling yourself up so full that you have plenty to spill over to those around you. And before you start rolling your eyes at me because you’re knee deep in dirty laundry and the baby has just been sick on your last clean top I am not talking about sending yourself off to a yoga retreat every month or doing a 2 hour meditation every night (although both of those sound pretty appealing right now!!) There are so many small things that we, as busy Mums, can do to prioritise ourselves just a little bit more.
And it starts, I believe, with simply speaking up for yourself. It has taken me far too long to come to this realisation but sometimes all it takes is just to say what you actually need (or don’t need!) As a self-confessed, life-long people pleaser my default is always to just go with the flow, agree to things that maybe I don’t actually want to do or volunteer to do things that I really don’t have time for! How often do we do these things without even questioning whether they are right for us and our families!?! These days I try much harder to stop and think before responding to that text from a friend inviting me on a big night out, or the email from the school PA asking for volunteers for the next fundraising event or even simply my husband asking me what I want to watch on the TV! I know I personally get fulfilment from helping others so I definitely don’t always say no to helping out with things, far from it, but what I do do is ensure that what I do say yes to aligns with my own personal values. I’ve also found what a massive difference speaking up can make in my home too! You know how crazy the mornings can be – making packed lunches, getting the kids ready for school, getting myself ready for the day, sorting breakfasts, etc. I used to just do all this without even thinking but I’ve learnt what a massive difference it can make to just speak up. I say to my daughter - I actually need you to make your own breakfast or ask my husband to make sure our son is out of bed while I’m busy making the packed lunches. We really don’t have to do it all, and neither should we, it really is OK to speak up!
So I mentioned earlier that there are many small things we can do to invest into ourselves a little more. I’d be here until next week trying to list them all but I thought it might be helpful to share with you a few little things that I add into my life to ensure I keep topping that cup up!!
1. Fresh air/a quick walk - When I’m feeling a bit down or overwhelmed, when my brain is spinning at 200 mph a quick walk in the fresh air really helps me. It really doesn’t need to be an hour long ramble through the countryside, I mean, we rarely have time for that but literally a 10 minute walk around the block can make a massive difference to my day!
2. Listening to uplifting/inspiring podcasts – I know, I would obviously advocate for podcasts but I love them and learn so much from them and the beauty of it is, you can listen to them whilst doing something else! So if you’ve got to clean the bathroom or sort the laundry then you can learn something or be inspired or entertained by a podcast at the same time!! A win-win in my book!!
3. Tapping meditations/Emotional freedom technique. I am a fairly new convert to this but I really love it. I know the benefit of meditation but often found myself distracted or struggled to sit still and truly relax so once I discovered the Tapping Solution app from Nick Ortner it was a bit of a game changer! Gives me something to focus on whilst meditating, something to do with my hands!! And the tapping calms your nervous system unlike any other meditations I’ve tried before. The majority of meditations are about 10 mins long so no massive time commitment and they even have little micro boosts that are only about 3 minutes long, perfect for those crazy, busy days. For a complete beginner's intro to tapping, I love this video of Nick Ortner with Marie Forleo (this is how I first became interested in the technique.
4. Watching a bit of trashy TV!! I know, I know, it’s not very enlightening and doesn’t expand my mind or develop me in any way but I honestly love a little bit of escapism! Half an hour watching a little bit of crap on the TV can make me smile on a day where I’ve been grumpy or help me to relax when I’m feeling stressed out!
5. Finally – breathing!! I know, I know – a basic bodily function that we really shouldn’t have to think about but I don’t know about you but I often find myself not breathing deeply if I’m rushing about or even holding my breath when I’m concentrating too hard on something so I try to take a few minutes each day just to take a few deep breaths and force myself to stop if only for a minute or two. I use the power breath technique introduced to me at a Tony Robbins event, essentially just breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 20 seconds and breathe out for 10. I also try to do my own version of 'priming' when I wake up in the morning: Here's Tony Robbins explaining how he does it. I've modified this over the last few years to better suit me and what I need in the mornings. Takes me a maximum of 5 minutes!!
So I hope you’ve found that helpful and I hope that you too can find some little pockets of time in your day to prioritise yourself a little bit more. Consider this your official permission to take that 5 minute walk, to say no to something you don’t want to do or to enjoy your cup of coffee warm for once!
Until next time,