February has been claimed as the month of love. Since the new year we are bombarded everywhere we look with hearts, flowers, and red banners proclaiming the power of love, all culminating in the celebration of Valentines Day.
But among the hustle and bustle of finding ways to show others how much they mean to us, it is also important to take a momentary pause and show ourselves some love.
Focusing on wellness and making seemingly everyday moments joyous can be effective ways to reduce stress and create balance in busy lives. This year (my 40th on this planet) I made a commitment to myself to focus on my own mental wellness. As a busy working parent with social and personal commitments that can leave me feeling connected but harried, I find it has become imperative to put some time into the schedule to refresh and rejuvenate my energy levels. To start this journey I signed up to work with an excellent coach Marie Levey-Pabst to help me focus on my values and goals and get my life in balance. Sometimes asking for help is the best kind of self-love. Here are the first few simple goals I am striving towards.
I set myself the daily goal of 10 minutes, and I have been surprised at how quickly I can now get into a relaxed yet focused state of mind. An added bonus of this daily habit is that my children have been exposed to the idea of mediation and have tried it out for themselves and that can only be a positive thing for everyone.
Schedule Time for Myself
As a busy parent I am frequently putting myself and my own needs at the bottom of sometimes a very long list. But no more! I have started to schedule 30 minutes with myself, in the prime evening time no less (7:30-8:00 p.m.), to use as a pause for renewal between commuting and family dinner time and the bedtime routines. During this time I can do anything that takes my fancy: reading, crafting, painting (as evidence above) or goofing around online. I start this time with a grateful thought that I am lucky to have the space, time, and ability to take this time.
I am bossy by nature and slowly coming to terms with this not being a bad thing! But I also need to practice saying "no" more and letting go. By shifting some responsibilities onto others in the household, I can now find time to complete nagging chores, or squeeze in self-care needs, such as long relaxing baths (in which I calm and distress and often test out new products). It also helps fulfill my parenting goal of raising independent humans.
These new habits are a still a work in progress and there are others that need to join them, like more exercise! But I think this is a good way to start the new year as I try to practice what Audre Lorde preaches - self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. So take care of yourself, start today, you are worth it!