Trouble brews when our schedules and habits overtake our ability to process and resolve life’s stresses, which seem to compound daily. When we are strong, mentally and emotionally, our spouse, household and children are able to thrive. Women are nurtures by nature and are so quick to give to others but are inconsistent when giving time, emotion and even thought to themselves. This lands us in our current situation where we are over-scheduled, over-stressed and filled with anxiety.
I appreciate this tweet from The Busy Lifestyle,
But you’re superwoman, right?! You can carry the stress, right?! You get through each day and manage to keep all of the balls in the air. To many, that IS success.
But are you really mentally healthy?
Consider how The Mental Health Foundation defines mental health:
“Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have mental health problem. If you’re in good mental health you can make the most of your potential, cope with life and play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends.”
Let’s pause on this. There are three key take aways:
- Make the most of your potential
- Cope with life
- Play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends
This is what everyone wants, right? We want to be our complete selves in every situation – the best versions of ourselves, giving our best to our family and making a positive difference. Trying to do all of this nonstop, with no consideration to our mental, physical and emotional health, is where a lot of us end up shorting ourselves and, therefore, everyone else. Sure, we joke about running on coffee and playfully refer to our jam packed schedules and how we’re “soooooo busy”, but it’s really not a joking manor.
We need a change in perspective
Our mental and emotional health should be our top priority, especially if we want to cover half of that definition of mental health. Think about the talk that the flight attendants give before a flight. They always instruct passengers to put their oxygen mask on first, before helping someone else. We HAVE to be able to function well ourselves, in order to handle what life demands of us. Not just handle, but master!
This starts with self-care.
Preservation, by definition, is to maintain one’s state. Not your current state but your true state. Underneath the mess. Underneath the problems. The base line of who you are and who you’re meant to be. THAT, is what we have to protect and preserve. I would take this a step further and say that self-care is not only about self-preservation, but also about successful succession. When we take care of ourselves, we are, not only able to manage our lives, our households and our family, but we are able to become positive change makers within the community around us.
THIS is what being “fully engaged” looks like – you are truly living the best version of yourself and your life. This is what we all want and self-care is the first and vital step towards achieving it.
Make the most of your potential
I am a firm believer that this world wants something from you and that if you’re breathing then you have a purpose on this planet! Dr. Myles Munroe says, “people are not looking for you, they are looking for what you are carrying.” An invention, a song, a service, a new product, a passion, creativity, the list goes on forever. What is it that you were created for? You owe it to yourself to ‘make the most of your potential’. Take some time and work through uncovering your passion and purpose, via this free pdf download that walks you through the brainstorming process and all the way to taking action on your achieving your dreams. You are important. So are your aspirations.
Cope with life
A tool that I find that quickly settles my nerves and helps me think through something is mind mapping. Mind mapping is an organized method of brainstorming that moves you from assessment to action plan and is a great tool for self-care.
The Mental Health Foundation says,
“There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.”
By mind mapping, you’re able to identify hang ups in your emotional and mental state. From there, you deep dive for root-cause analysis and, lastly, form some action items to help you resolve. Because there are no rules, limiting the areas of coverage, you can let your mind empty on a page, which can be therapeutic in itself.
For those who are unfamiliar, here is a quick how To:
- Have ~15 minutes of free time (sacrifice 15 minutes of social media)
- Choose category/word (i.e. self, family, work, community and friends). Write this in the middle of the page.
- Branching off of the main word, write out how you feel: things that are going well, things you would like to improve, things you’re stressed about, whatever comes to mind. This is the brainstorming mode.
- After you finish the ‘brain dump’, identify connections or underlying themes. For example, maybe you notice a theme around worrying about other’s perceptions and thoughts of you. Try to narrow your thoughts down to 1 – 3 highly impactful “hang ups”.
- Lastly, find resolutions. Find 3 action items that you can start doing in order to resolve the stress in this area and achieve growth and improvement. For my previous example, maybe one of my action items is to put the scripture from Hebrews on my vision board, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” This would be one way to help me reduce my stress by only focusing on my goals and not being distracted or discouraged with other’s thoughts and perceptions.
Play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends
When is the last time you added any sort of strategy to your personal life (beyond coordinating shuttling services for after school activities)? We do so much self-sabotage because we don’t give ourselves enough time to do anything! We’re always on the go. I find that maintaining a household binder is a HUGE help in my household and keeps me sane. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely days that life chews me up and spits me out, but as a whole, I’m very much at peace with what I’m able to accomplish and balance with keeping my family time a priority. Does that sound like a dream? Make it a reality! Invest in yourself and you will be able to stay organized, sane and at peace with your weekly routines.
Lastly, I know people hate being harped on about exercise but the mind and body are SOOOOOO connected. Do yourself a favor and do some form of exercise – walk, run, weights, HITT, yoga, couch abs (yes, that’s a thing). Even if it’s not consistent or as long as you would like it to be, make it a habit. You get better at anything with practice! I like to keep track of my daily exercise in my bullet journal. It acts as a good reminder when it’s been a few days since my last workout. There’s just something that is good for the soul when you physically get rid of the mental tension!
To be clear, self-care doesn’t have to mean a weekend away from the house and kids or wild indulgences that come with big price tags. I mean, sure, if you are able to do those things then right on. I, however, am way too cheap for all that 🙂 Maybe you’re in the same boat! Therefore, sometimes self-care is waking up 15 minutes before everyone else and sitting quietly with your own thoughts. Maybe it’s visiting this blog or another resource and spending time reflecting on the message and what it means to you. The important thing is that you’re aware of your current state and willing to make adjustments when needed.
You are so vital to your household. Do you realize the impact that you make on your spouse, your household, your children and your community???? I can’t emphasize the daily ministry that you are, without your intention. This can be a good or a bad thing so be intentional! Give yourself the gift of self-care and you will see benefits that are far beyond your personal reach. THAT is something to work for! And, remember, YOU are a lady well-loved.