I see you standing over there girl alone with a tornado happening around you. With your head hung low, the tears begin to fall. Exhaustion is at an all time high. Exhaustion that you didn’t even know was possible. You work constantly every morning, all day long. Every night when you reach your pillow at the end of the day, you’re not even certain when you slept last, but here you are again in bed, ready to be called on throughout the night by the children, the dogs and by what else have you. All day long, you have cared for everyone else in your life, but have you thought about your own self care?
The emotional and mental exhaustion you feel will not be cured with a gift card, massage or a trip to Target. You need to take care of yourself. The reality is as mothers, wives, sisters, friends and nurturers of all of those that have been placed into our lives, we are responsible for taking care of ourselves as well.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Self Care For Busy Moms Is Not a Manicure, Massage or a Trip to Target
The emotional and mental exhaustion you feel will not be cured with a gift card, massage or a trip to Target. They say, “Here’s a gift card to get your nails done, and for a massage for Mother’s Day Mom you deserve it !” If only getting your nails done, taking a hot bath or walking around Target once a week could be the cure for that emotional and mental exhaustion that you feel.
Self-care would no longer be one of the top research topics on Pinterest among women if this was true. There are thousands of blog posts currently circling around the internet, mastermind groups and local women meet-ups all focusing on self care. There are top selling books that are all about tips and tricks to do self care for moms and women. We wouldn’t need that if walking around Target, getting our hair done and hanging out with girlfriends was the cure.
Overwhelm Is a Sign That You Need to Prioritize Your Own Self Care
This season will change but our roles are static day in and day out. We take care of, and love the people that need us in one capacity or another. There is a common thread in all of our lives that leaves us feeling like no one is caring for us. That we have to do it all, and there is no time left in the days or the weeks or the months for us. The reality is as mothers, wives, sisters, friends and nurturers of all of those that have been placed into our lives, we are responsible for taking care of ourselves as well.
I’ve spent years observing women on every part of the self-care spectrum. From the ones that have done nothing for themselves in the name of honoring and serving, just to end up growing old and bitter. All the way to the women who dive in head first on the other end of the spectrum who are in it for self-gratification all day, everyday. They have completely given up on serving everyone around them in attempts to regain parts of themselves that they never thought that they had even lost or that they want to lose.
The Self Care System That Is Achievable and Sustainable
Then, there are the women that are in that sweet spot right in between. I’ve been watching them for years. I’ve grown up watching my mother and my grandmother, other friends and their parents. As I grew into adulthood, I began to watch some of my older friends that were doing it really well, that had children and seemed to be taking care of themselves. I’ve watched the moms that were a mess and they didn’t want anybody to know.
I’ve spent all of my adulthood trying to figure out how to take care of myself while serving everyone else around me. I had no idea what that looked like. No one has ever sat me down and said this is what it looks like to take care of yourself. Maybe it’s time to do that
Your Loved Ones Are Not Responsible for the Overwhelm and Mom Guilt You Are Feeling
The overwhelm and mom guilt you are feeling is not caused by the ones you are serving. The reality is we are the ones who run ourselves ragged. They don’t do that to us. Where are the boundaries? What are your needs, do you know them? Do you even care about them? Why are you so afraid to assert yourself and take care of your own needs?
An Overwhelmed Mom is Like An “Out Of Order” Vending Machine
When you put aside your own wants, goals and desires to be able to give and serve others, you are being used as a vending machine. I started to see this pattern in nearly all of the women that I was talking to. Imagine there were these women, and they were full of tricks, tips and remedies for other people’s needs. All someone had to do was just walk up and put a few emotional pennies and push a couple buttons and out came the fix they needed. Sometimes, the vending machine would run dry for a time and need a refill. And again, this machine of sorts would hand out help, love and care for everyone else, until it had been completely tapped out. Completely depleted, dry as a bone.
Some of these vending machines were completely malfunctioning, temporarily out of order. The demand on that vending machine was just far too much to keep up with.
You Were Meant for More Than Just Serving
You probably have never thought about yourself as a vending machine but you may have felt like it from time to time. It’s always been so meaningful to help me visualize what I do not want to be. I do not want to be a vending machine nor do I want my daughters to grow up and become vending machines. I’ve always listened to the voice inside me that met me in those quiet moments. It always said that there was more to just depleting myself. There was more than just serving. There was a little bit of me that was what I was working towards becoming, while I was trying to serve everyone else.
The Self Care Plan For The Overwhelmed And Stressed Mom
This is the system that has allowed me to care for myself. I saw this happening in my own life. I knew that I needed to put a different system in place. This system allows me to care for myself. This is my self-care system. I also want to tell you how to maintain this self-care system regardless of how busy or stressful or comfortable life may be. Then the last thing that I want to share with you is so so important to me. This last part is really impactful and it’s the most powerful trick for learning self-care that you may have ever heard.
Self Care Definition for Busy Moms
Self Care is not an indulgent form of compensation for what is lacking, or an attempt to mask the pain and emotional drain our life leaves on us. I’ll say it one more time. Self-care is not an indulgent form of compensation for what is lacking or an attempt to mask the pain and emotional drain that our life leaves on us. Self care is caring enough about ourselves that we make sure that the way we live our lives gives us renewable energy. The energy we generate leaves no voids and fulfills us so deeply that we can pour into every calling in our life, consistently.
Self care is not walking around Target. Caring for yourself means that you shouldn’t have to walk around Target to escape your life. We all need a mental break once in a while. Target can be the best place for a mental break but also it can be a really good place to break your bank account as well. Self care is not escaping in order to take care of yourself. It is preventative. It’s not a response, it’s not what you have to do to cope. That’s not self care. Self care is something that you do before you ever need to go to Target.
“The ability to give ourselves more energy is the one true renewable resource we can tap into as busy moms.”
Burnout Is Not A Badge Of Honor
I know burnout is a real thing because I’ve experienced it many times in my own life. As caregivers and moms, we all just learned how to function on empty tanks, how to drop that bag of chips out of our vending machine, even when our vending machines are empty. We figured out how to make something out of nothing and we run on nothing all the time. The system we are living in is backwards. It’s not preventative at all, we’re just getting by or treading water.
I hope that you are not talking about yourself like you’re a hot mess because it’s not a badge of honor. It clearly shows that you’re living your life backwards. You need to reverse the cycle, friends. Here’s the forward thinking system that I use because I know that I was created to be whole.
Life Balance Begins With Identifying Your Fundamental Needs
Knowing your fundamental needs in every category can help you restore balance in your life. I know what my fundamental needs are. I have a workbook, The Fundamental Needs Workbook, for every single one of you. It’s free for you to download and helps you determine what your needs are. You know the basic needs of every living, breathing thing that comes and goes in your life every single day. From you spouse to your children, coworkers and even your pets. You know that for everybody else, but do you know it for yourself?
You Are the Captain of Your Ship
I approach myself as the head of my ship. I know what my responsibilities are and in order for me to run that ship with the kids and the food and the home and the job and all of those things. What I have to do is I have to feed myself whole food, free from chemicals and processing because that gives me energy. If I don’t have the energy to take care of the kids, the house, the job, the cleaning and the cooking, it’s going to be an utter mess. I also know that I need strength for my muscles so I go to the gym and that I need to drink plenty of water to hydrate myself. I have to take care of myself physically in order for me to run my ship.
There are things that I’m good at and there are things that I’m called to do for me to be whole. I have to connect with my husband and also have one-on-one time with God. I need to read positive affirmations every morning of my life . Every evening, I need to unwind and disconnect from technology before I go to bed.
The Fear of Missing Out Is Real
I had a fear of missing out because I wanted to get it all done. It would start from the moment my feet hit the ground and it would continue past the point I was in bed. I was responding to emails and texting friends back. I was looking at messages on social media. Now, when my kids are sick, when unforeseen circumstances come up, or when there are situations out of my control, I’m flexible. I give in to the areas when that absolutely has to happen, but understanding where to draw that line, where to set a boundary to where you’re not constantly being tapped out is the most vital part of this system.
Everyone else around me, when I take care of me, they get so much more love, patience, happiness and joy out of their mama as a wife, daughter, sister or friend. I get to give them everything that God designed me to be. I get to give that to them because I take the time and the energy and the intention to care for me.
Maintaining Your Self Care Routine
Now how in the world do I maintain this self care system? I don’t neglect it. That’s the long and short of it. We really neglect ourselves all the time. We would never neglect our children’s, spouse’s, friend’s or family member’s needs, the way that we neglect our own. You just can’t neglect yourself anymore.
You’ve been completely neglecting this area of your life for a really long time because it just starts with one day. When we begin to neglect this, clearly it’s not a maintained system. In stressful times in my life it’s so easy to say, “I just need to give more to this other area of my life. I need to work more because our savings account is super low so I’m just going to work a ton.” Then, who is neglected? I am. I’ve just learned not to do that.
You Were Created To Be Whole
There has to be faith in the big picture. You have to believe in the whole human that you were created to be and you need to give in to all of that. I don’t believe in the word balance because there’s no real scale for balance. There’s no real measurability of how much needs to be in each department. It has to be a matter of checking in with yourself and knowing what your needs are. Are you giving to them consistently. Or are you neglecting them?
The forward thinking is to serve myself as a whole human being, as the whole individual that I was created and designed to be. The cultural norms inside my head were telling me, you can’t serve yourself first. That’s selfish. That’s absolutely selfish. All of these other women that are serving other people, everyone else first, they don’t like their lives. They’re grumpy or they end up divorced or they’re mean to their kids and they hate their job. I don’t want to live that way.
The Solution to Finding Time for Self Care
Does this mean that you’re going to have to make time for yourself? Absolutely, I have an entire podcast dedicated to that, it’s episode number three and it will teach you how to make time for your fundamental needs. How to make them a priority. There’s a whole system for how I go about that too. If you feel like there are things that you should be doing for yourself and you don’t know how to make them fit in, listen to Podcast episode number three.
When life is stressful, especially when kiddos are sick, I want to nurture them. My normal routine is messed up but I find small ways to prioritize my self care. I can read a chapter in my book before I go to bed. I can sit for 5 minutes in peace and quiet and meditate. There are still little ways that you can make sure that you’re not neglecting yourself . Even if there are other components of your life that are being extremely demanding in that season, day or week.
The Good Things In Your Life Can Also Cause You Stress
You can’t forget about yourself in busy times because you’ll end up hitting rock bottom. You will end up completely depleting yourself. Anxiety is going to hit and your depression is going to totally flare up. Sometimes the stress isn’t always negative. Sometimes, the stress can come from positive things that impact us. Launching the podcast for me was positive. Everything about it was good but there was still emotional stress. We have to know ourselves at the deepest level. Just like we know our kids and our spouses and our friends and our coworkers. We have to know ourselves in the deepest way so that we can take care of ourselves.
Prioritize Your Great Eight
I think the best way that I could describe how I handle busy weeks is to make sure that no matter how busy I am, I look at my great eight. The Fundamental Needs Workbook will help you identify your great eight. I have eight things that I make sure I do for myself every single week. Going to the gym is something that I need to do. Do I always get there three times a week? No. Actually, last week was the first week I made that goal happen.
It will happen this week because I’ve been mindful of this goal. It can manifest itself in different ways. Obviously, I can do something in my house so I don’t neglect it all together. In the busiest weeks, I can just foam roll in my house where I only need 20 minutes at home. I don’t have the time for the commute to the gym and then the class and then the commute back. Focus on the needs that you have and make them happen in whatever way that they need to happen. This is a really powerful trick to learning self-care.
A Self Care Plan Includes The One True Renewable Resource For Busy Moms
The ability to give ourselves more energy is the one true renewable resource we can tap into as busy moms. Your bank account is not renewable. It doesn’t just renew itself. We have to go out and work for that money. There is a limit to how much money we can make and how much money we can spend. When that financial source of energy is depleted, we are depleted.
If we get all of our energy from the love that our children give us, our kids are going to grow up. They leave and mom has no idea who she is. She has no idea what fills her up anymore. It’s not a place you want to be. Spiritual and emotional energy is always available. It is a resource that we can tap into any time we want. The ability to give ourselves more energy is always there if we depend on things that are renewable.
Start With Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re not sleeping, start there. When we renew our energy every day, we wake up every single day and feel renewed. Can you imagine what that would feel like if you went to bed at night, excited and hopeful for the next day? I love every day. I take care of myself by knowing and maintaining my fundamental needs everyday. Other people can depend on that in me. Do I have hard times? Of course. But I know I can renew my physical energy. It’s in good food, sleep and connecting with my husband, and even through cleaning my house. These things give me energy that for years I was putting off so that I could give to everyone else. Spiritual energy is renewable.
I have faith in something that is greater than me that fills me up. I was created to be a whole human being. If you could take this one tip, this one powerful trick, just know that all of the things that you typically want to depend on are not renewable. They will fail you. But if you lean into the renewable sources of spiritual, emotional or mental energy that you believe in, that will fill you up. This is going to absolutely change the way that you go about living your life every single day.
If mom guilt has left you overwhelmed and stressed and you’re ready to begin your self care routine, start by downloading, The Fundamental Needs Workbook. It will help you to identify your great eight. If you need help trying to find time for that self care routine, you can listen to Podcast Episode 3 . Finally, download The Time Blocking Workbook, to help you begin scheduling that time for yourself that will not only benefit you, but also everyone that you care for on a daily basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
With all of the responsibilities I have, how do I find the time to begin self care?
If you need help trying to squeeze in the time for that self care routine, you can listen to Podcast Episode 3: Learn How to Time Block Your Fundamental Needs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety. In addition, there is also a free workbook, The Time Blocking Workbook that can help you schedule the time in your day for your own self care. And finally, if you would like even more resources and support, why not see what Systemize Your Life is all about?