It’s beginning to look at lot like….the holidays. For me, it starts the minute October 1st rolls around, there’s a sort of magic that begins and just builds momentum until January 1st. Omaha is a town that provides so many activities for the family that I already have my weekends booked these last few weeks of the year. Just looking at my calendar has me hyperventilating a little bit and with daily Christmas count-downs on Facebook, I feel like I need a little more than a paper bag to get me through. When did the holidays become so crazy? When did I stop enjoying “the most wonderful time of the year?” Why am I so tired? Oh yea, when I became an adult. With that said, I realized I need to make sure that I take care of myself so I can take care of everything-everyone else. This means finding time for myself. Easier to write about than actually being able to. How can I fit “me-time” into an already packed schedule? With all this whirling around in my head, I turned to a friend who is a licensed mental health practitioner and here’s the advice she gave. I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me!
“Taking care of yourself is vital in order to take care of others– if your cup is empty, it’s impossible to pour from it. Mothers are under so much pressure from themselves, their partners, their children, and their communities that taking time out to care for themselves often gets pushed to the unattainable “future” to do list. When we don’t engage in self care, we run the risk of burning out so significantly we can develop more serious symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. While there is a difference between lack of self care and depression and anxiety, a good first step for a person feeling either depressed or anxious is to up their self care. If a person continues to be facing depressed or anxious thoughts, reaching out to a therapist, doctor, or faith leader is a great next step. Self care doesn’t have to be complicated- exercise, reading, taking a bubble bath, getting a haircut, visiting a spa, or even just letting a family member or partner take care of the kids for a night while you watch tv or a movie are great, easy steps for self care. Meditation, yoga, therapy, art, and music are other options that work to help people manage their stress. Our children definitely pick up on parental stress, and while this is largely unavoidable, modeling effective self care is a great way to ensure children learn the value of taking care of themselves.” (Lesley Turner, LCSW,LMHP)