How many times have you lashed out at your child when they asked you for a glass of water? What about when your husband asked you how your day went? Some days are so packed with our necessary routines that we don’t have a moment to ourselves. Something that I’ve learned about being a part of a family, and having others depend on you, is that by the end of the day, my energy is depleted. The problem is that most people think it’s all about sacrifice, including rest. That being a wife and mother means putting your family first, and yourself last. The world puts women like this on a pedestal. The truth is, once those women come down from their pedestals, all they want to do is sleep.
I have noticed that when I’m stressed, I can’t give my family the care and attention that they need. For a long time, I believed that it’s not something I can really control. My family’s needs and wants come before mine. That’s what’s expected. Growing up, I watched my mom make sacrifices for us daily. She was constantly cleaning, cooking, taking my sister and I to choir practice, staying up late to encourage us and make us snacks as we did our homework, being the referee when my sister and I argued, keeping the refrigerator stocked etc.. Now, when I try to understand how she managed to be super mom, I remember that she did take breaks. Because she set a great example for us, I have learned to take breaks and take care of myself, too. So if you don’t do it for yourself, do it to be a good role model for your family. Whether you know it or not, they’re always watching you.
One Hour of Household Quiet Time: If you have young children, the only way you can really take a break is during their nap. However, what if your kids aren’t nappers? My sister and I hated napping, but my mom insisted on one hour of quiet time. Each of us were instructed to remain in our separate bedrooms (use other rooms in the house if bedrooms are shared) for a whole hour, and play quietly. She encouraged us to whisper, and even lay down and play with our dolls in our beds to relax. Sometimes, we even fell asleep. Rest time for everyone!
Yoga: We all know that exercise is important, and have hea
rd that yoga is beneficial. I gave it a shot, and it has literally changed the way I carry myself throughout the day. Yoga teaches you to be aware of your posture and your breathing at all times. It builds physical and mental strength. The combination of stretching, deep breathing, and the holding of poses relieves stress both in the body and in the mind. The best part is, that you can do it right in your living room. Make time to do what’s best for your body.
Stop Shying Away from Your Hobby: When others depend on us, we begin to forget what our own interests are. When we are busy and stressed, it’s difficult to remember what entertains us, what we enjoy doing, and what makes us feel the most alive. For me, it’s reading, visiting museums, and baking. In the busyness of everyday life, I forget about these things. It’s important to do the things we enjoy to relieve stress. In the evenings, pick up a good book, knit, call a good friend and have a nice long chat, watch your favorite movie with your hubby, get a cup of coffee with a friend, make late night martinis, etc.. Trust me, you DO have the time.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t be the best for your family. They can sense your stress, and this can cause them to tense up, too. Take your breaks. Get your body moving. Do what you love to do. You don’t just owe it to yourself. You owe it to your family.