A cure for everything
It’s a buzz word, especially in the mom space. The answer to what to do about exhaustion, stress and low mood is often “more self-care”. If you find yourself suppressing a laugh while thinking of a hot bath, candles and relaxing music, you are not alone: I can’t see myself doing that either. I guess I could take a long hot bath after I’ve finished the million things I feel I have to do after the kids are asleep. I could do a face mask. I could listen to music. Those things might give me a temporary sense of relief and pleasure. But are regular hot baths, massages, cremes, fitness classes and the like the answer to a mom’s problems? If it was, then those who regularly engage in such activities would not continue to feel stressed and overwhelmed, yet they do. Why?
The real issue
Think about it. How relaxing is being in that hot bathtub or doing that yoga class, if during the remaining 23h of the day you are thinking about an upcoming deadline, worrying about the upcoming festivities and the gifts you need to get, telling yourself that you really didn’t do such a great job handling your kids’s fight, getting annoyed at how cold it is outside, etc. I get stressed out just typing this.
We are often unaware that our thoughts are full of fear, negativity, limiting beliefs and worry, because they are part of our lives. Yet they form a very powerful part of our lives, holding us back way more than we think.
The key for a calmer, more joyous life (even as a mum!) has little to do with how many self-care activities we engage in, and everything to do with how we view life; in other words, on whether our mind acts as our friend or as our enemy.
When your mind is not your friend
This is called Self-Sabotage. And when it shows up and you don’t know what to do about it, it can hijack you. Becoming aware of self-sabotaging habits is one thing.
Knowing how to change them is another.
That’s why I love the Positive Intelligence ® (PQ) Mental Fitness programme that I’ve recently integrated into my practice. It’s a powerful app-guided program based in neuroscience that will give you tools to overcome your fears, shift your negative inner dialogue, and finally break your patterns of self-sabotage. And frankly, it should be at the core of any attempt to improve your wellbeing.
Before working on my mental fitness and despite years of coaching, self-work, therapy (including somatic therapy), I still found myself being stressed, snappy and unhappy, especially when my second child was born. It was only when I 1) realised how much I had an innate need to control everything 2) realised that it was this need that was hijacking me constantly and causing many of my negative emotions and most importantly 3) developed the strength to be able to quickly switch to a wiser perspective, that I became a much more balanced mum, colleague, partner and friend.
And everyone noticed.
Let that be you
Imagine if you were able to view life’s challenges with a positive rather than a negative mindset. How would that affect your well-being, performance and relationships? What kind of parent, colleague, or partner would you be? This can be more than a nice thought. You can get there, if you put the work into it.
We don’t need more self-care. We just need to view self-care differently.