I’m a wife. A mom. A business owner. A doctoral student. A member of the praise team. The lead counselor at my church’s counseling ministry. A daughter. A friend. And a woman. Needless to say, I have a lot of responsibility which pulls me in multiple directions. However, using what I call the “flower technique” helps me practice self-care.
As a therapist, it’s easy for me to throw around the phrase “practice self-care” and to harp on how important it is. And it’s true: you have to implement some basic practices to make sure you are functioning as efficiently as possible. But as a mom, I know first hand that it’s easy to make sure everyone on earth is squared away before you stop and give yourself the once over. We all know that the whole “self-care” adage goes out the door when your to-do list is a complete bottomless pit.
I think the airline industry has been giving us major hints on how to resolve this: in the event of an emergency, put YOUR mask on FIRST. As tempting as it is to negate your own basic and vital needs, when you do so, you put yourself at risk of drowning. Maybe not drowning in some ocean when the plane goes down, but more so drowning in the proverbial ocean that is soccer practice, packing lunches, birthday parties, the work commute, and checking homework. You must make a conscious decision to address your basic needs FIRST, however that may look for you. Yes, it sounds a little selfish, but being eternally selfLESS isn’t the answer either
Also Related: Self-Care is not Selfish. Self-Care is Radical!
For starters, there is what I call the flower technique: food, water, and sunshine.
A. Eat, and eat clean:
Now I have to admit, anyone who really knows me knows I am notorious for missing meals. So I can completely empathize with anyone that shares this struggle. Eating is so key though! When you don’t eat, your blood sugar drops. Symptoms of low blood sugar include lethargy, poor concentration, and a change in your mood. These symptoms mimic depression… a symptom of depression is decreased appetite. This becomes a cyclical issue: you don’t eat, you feel depressed… you feel depressed, so you don’t eat.
B. Get water:
When you drink water, you are able to focus and think more clearly. You are sharper and you don’t feel so sluggish.
C. Get sunshine:
The vitamin D from the sun gets absorbed into your skin and gives you a boost of energy.
When you don’t get to do the flower technique, the feelings actually mimic symptoms of depression. You feel sluggish, disorganized, low motivation, have trouble concentrating, or overeat to compensate for skipping meals. It’s hard to feel confident with you are hungry, thirsty, and lethargic. If you’ve used the flower technique and still feel crummy, do a self-check. How are you feeling? Did something happen recently that still doesn’t sit well with you? Are you feeling overwhelmed or that low grade, frazzled feeling that comes with a to-do list that feels like at a bottomless pit?
One of the key things for moms is support. This could come from your partner, a friend, your own parents, or even a stranger in the grocery store. Don’t be afraid to speak up and verbalize what you find difficult. You may be pleasantly surprised at how supportive others can be.
If you have treated yourself like the delicate flower that you are and followed up with a girls night to get footloose and fancy-free, but you still feel off kilter, it may be time to speak with a therapist. Mental health therapy is not reserved for people that are diagnosed with a mental illness or in complete crisis. It’s for everyone! Anyone that needs a private space to process their feelings. Anyone that feels like they are drowning in responsibility and just needs a quiet place to release that stress. And finally, anyone that is looking for unbiased feedbacks and tips on how to navigate life… therapy is for you!
|This post was written by Glenna Anderson, LCSW. Anderson is a Licensed Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Speaker, Personal Development Coach, and Blogger. A mental health therapist with a private practice in Torrance, CA, she teaches the message of “Therapy is a Lifestyle” and encourages others to focus on improving their mental health to avoid mental illness. She specializes in treating individual adults with anxiety-based disorders through solution based therapy, while also helping you find ways of coping with life in general. See more at GlennaAndersonlcsw.com|