As a Mom, a wife, a woman, and a Christian, it is encoded into my DNA to serve and sacrifice for the people around me. That is how it should be. It makes me a better person. However, I have struggled for many years to find where I fit into that equation. When Children are clamoring, a Husband deserves attention, a Friend has called out for help and I’m being pulled in all directions, how do I maintain the calm within the storm and still meet my own physical, spiritual and emotional needs?
The answers? I don’t have them! But I’m starting to find my way to one or two and it’s making a huge difference for me.
My son’s Behavioral Therapist, “M”, has been instrumental in helping me find my way back from literally feeling like I’m drowning all the time, to feeling like the shore isn’t that far away from me anymore and I can make it. I can not only make it but start to enjoy my journey there.
Any Mom will tell you that we don’t have a lot of free time or time to ourselves. That’s suffocating, no matter how much you love your kids. “M” from the very beginning taught me to take 5 mins for myself every morning before I wake the kids up; to let go of everything that has happened, pray, meditate, or just be. 5 mins. 5 little mins, I could do that right? So I took them. The level of stress I was dealing with was cut in half. Half! Just with 5 mins!
Another thing she has helped me with is those jobs that have been nagging you that never get done. They take a lot of energy away. She literally helps me do them to lessen my stress or holds me accountable to do them. Accountability is key for me. If I’m held accountable I’ll pretty much always follow through with something. Don’t have a handy therapist that comes to your home every morning? Find a friend or your husband to check in with you!
But probably the biggest thing to come out of this is that after I’ve done those hard to get to jobs, she makes me reward myself. Rewarding myself has come in some surprising ways for me, and she makes me accountable for rewarding myself too.
What have those rewards looked like?
- I’ve made multiple strides at getting my health back on track from changing nutrition, finally making doctors appointments, getting a massage, getting some exercise. Physical Needs Check!
- I’ve spent more time praying, reading the scriptures, spending quality time with my children, enjoying music through many avenues, building my mind through reading new books, blogging, and having a cleaner house. Emotional and Spiritual Needs Check!
- I’ve also rewarded myself with fun things too. A smoothie at my favorite place, time with friends, buying a fun new shirt that means something to me, getting my hair professionally taken care of, buying and wearing makeup that I wouldn’t generally take the time or money for, but it improves my thoughts of myself and shows self-love, planning a trip of my dreams with my sister. Fun Rewards Check!
All these things have resulted in me being happier and healthier. My migraines have been gone for about 2 months now, anxiety attacks are starting to recede. I am able to enjoy my time with my kids much more (and not just be counting down the hours until bedtime). Because of this, our relationships have started to change for the better.
All of this has happened because I have slowly started to realize that I MATTER. My needs matter. As much as I love and need to help others, I need to first help myself so I have the physical, spiritual and emotional stores available to help others. I’m not perfect at it, not by any measurement. But as long as I have someone checking in, making sure that I am taking care of me, I am making strides towards it.