Caring for Yourself!
As moms, it is our natural instinct to take care of our kids. It sometimes comes without a thought. But, maybe we should stop and think. Is this absolutely important right now? Is there a way to work smarter not harder on this task? Is this something I can ask someone to help me with? Can I carve out some time today to make time for ME?
Exhaustion, stress, feeling overwhelmed; these are things we all feel time to time. What if we start to feel this way too often? What are the effects on our bodies?
Feeling over tired / exhausted
Lower immune system and getting sick more often
Feeling depressed and disconnected
Everyone has possibly felt one or more of these feelings from time to time, but if we allow stress to creep in too often our minds and bodies will pay a price. So, how can we combat these negative effects?
Seek Support - this can take many forms. Rely on friends and family for physical help, moral support, and a shoulder to lean on. Seek out support from your Church groups or other support groups (like Foster Love Ministries!). Maybe even ask a friend to write you a note every once in a while to give you a bit of encouragement.
Counselors- it is OK to seek out and accept professional help and advice. There is a negative stigma that we need to strike down when it comes to seeking professional help and advice. It can be a wonderful tool to help us work through hard times and emotions.
Journaling- this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes putting words to your feelings can be a huge release. Bible devotionals, see #4 for possible journaling topic, drawing/artistic expressions, diary type entries, letters to our children - these are all ideas of journaling.
Find Ways To Be Thankful- find blessings in the “small stuff”. Making a point to stop and be thankful can realign your thoughts some days.
Stay Organized - an organized life can make those crazy moments much easier to deal with. If your papers are organized they are easier to find in those important moments. Organized toy rooms make it easier to clean. Organized kitchens make cooking a faster process. See where this is going? Maybe consider having a teen help you with the kids while you organize - or have them help you organize.
Ask For Help - it’s ok sometimes to admit “I can not do this alone”. Can you hire someone to help with the lawn care, cooking, cleaning, homework, running errands? Maybe you can find a way to “swap skills” - can you offer something in exchange for help with things you’re having a hard time getting done? Ask a friend or family member for an hour a week to watch the kids so you can have time to focus on something you need to give your attention to. As we say “it takes a village” — sometimes we need to rely on our village and sometimes we need to be the village.
Exercise and Eat Well - this is fairly obvious, but hard to do! Even if it’s a 20 minute walk, a bit of yoga, meditation, or even a “real” workout. Move around because it helps in so many ways! Same for eating well - obvious, but hard to do some days. We’re so busy, that we eat fast food way too often! This part goes hand & hand with organization! Meal prep, purchase healthy “easy to grab” snacks, and so on. Unhealthy foods can contribute to a lower immune system as well!
Practice Forgiveness- find a way to forgive yourself - for your failures, faults, feelings & stress. Forgive those that you feel may have contributed to these things. We all are faulted & forgiveness is what God calls us to do - not only forgiveness of others but ourselves as well.
Thank Yourself - remind yourself regularly what you’re doing well. Maybe buy yourself something special you’ve had your eye on as a reward for getting through a rough patch! Give yourself a pat on the back so to speak!
Seek a Group of Similar-situation Peers - find a group that you can rely on to share your feelings with that understand the issues you’re dealing with. Again, one of the MAIN reasons we started Foster Love Ministries was to support other foster parents because it’s hard to understand what this journey is like unless you’ve been there!!
I’m sure there are many other ways you can find to relieve stress. These are just a few ideas. Whatever way works for you is fine — just remember to DO IT! Take time for yourself, because we can only give what we have and if we have left ourselves nothing our well will be dry!
Proverbs 11:17 A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.
“Be kind - to others as well as yourself!” kindness to ALL benefits you too!