As the #hashtag in the title indicates, nurturing myself (being good to me) is now a topic [and concept] of utmost importance in my life. Look, I know that everyone’s life gets lifey at points, but I’ll be honest with you: having two miscarriages in six months chipped away a piece of my soul. After each loss, I made absolutely no time for myself to heal, physically, emotionally, mentally. I am to blame for that, but I’m embracing the mantra that it’s never to late to start.
While I’m not one to make resolutions each year, I am making myself a promise to be kinder and gentler with…myself. With children, it’s all too easy to push one’s own needs to the side, ensuring that everyone else’s needs are taken care of. While being selfless is an honorable trait, I’ve seen the damage it can do to women who don’t make or take the time, they need and deserve, to nurture themselves. I’m vowing not to continue on until I become a shell of myself: depressed, angry, self-defeating and with self-esteem at an all-time low. When I’m not 100%, my family suffers; that is the no-nonsense truth, and I’m positive you’ll agree with me.
So what does all of this froo-froo self-reflection mean for you, the reader? Well, I plan to post regularly (ideally, weekly) about little things I do & discover to nurture my spirit, help revitalize myself, and find a little gratitude in daily life. This will likely include a range of things, from things I do to relax and pamper myself, to changing my diet to feel good, inside and out. I’ll need your help along the way, though, because #NurtureMe is not a concept I’m comfortable with. I welcome your suggestions and your experiences with taking care of yourself, mind, body & spirit.
I survived the holidays! It was touch and go for a couple of days leading up to Christmas, which can be attributed to a hormonal letdown, and I pretty much cried for two days straight. At one point, I had to apologize because I didn’t necessarily feel sad, I just felt…emotional. The last six months have been an emotional roller coaster, so I was unsure what to expect. Thankfully, it was just a couple of days of tears, and we were able to carry on with the merriment.
- Grin and Believe It. Yep, it’s true, forcing yourself to sport a smile can lead to feelings of happiness. This Scientific American article also points out the importance of expressing emotions. Allowing oneself to feel and express emotions helps one to move through them. Obviously, there was no repression going on with me and my tears!
- Fake It ’til You Make It. This was a mantra that I embraced early on in my sales career. There was a time that I had almost no clue about the service I was selling (shoot, the company hadn’t even finalized the product), so when it came time to work with the clients I convinced to come on board, I was learning alongside them! I have a toddler, who was celebrating his second Christmas (his first knowing who Santa is), and I could not allow my lack of holiday spirit to put a damper on things. Instead of locking myself in a room and hiding beneath the covers, I forced myself to go through the motions…and the experience with my son on Christmas morning was absolutely priceless.
The Psychology Today blog has a great article about the concept of Faking It ‘Til You Make It, and using it to apply to overcoming fears & obstacles in your life. Throwing myself into the act of creating a great holiday experience for my son, in turn, helped me to get out of my head and into the spirit of the moment.
- Think About Others [Before Yourself]. I did not truly feel the spirit of the holidays until two days before Christmas. My husband and I had agreed to forego gift-giving this year (tackling my staggering medical bills from this past summer is more important than gifts), which is easy, as there really isn’t much that either of us want or need. In my state of emotional upheaval, I came across a Facebook post from UnMarketing, in which they were granting Christmas wishes from people’s wish lists. I posted a short list of items for myself, items of comfort (tea, scented candle, lavendar soap, etc.), and had complete strangers purchase items for me. In turn, I purchased items for other strangers (and an acquaintance). This was gift-giving at it’s finest, and I was so overcome with emotion, seeing so many strangers grant ‘wishes’ for other strangers. It was absolutely contagious, and helped me to feel the spirit of the season. Taking the opportunity to think about others distracted me from feeling sorry for myself.
- Make Your Needs a Priority. If you were bleeding profusely, you would do whatever you could to care for that wound, right? So many moms that I know don’t make themselves a priority, especially when they need to. The holiday season often marks the beginning of seasonal/winter depression. If you’re feeling the effects of depression, you need to do whatever it takes to heal and feel better. Whether it’s utilizing the above skills, or seeking professional medical treatment, make your needs a priority. Even if you’re not feeling down, you need to make sure that your needs are met. I know that I’m not able to care for my family properly if I’m not in a good place, and ensuring that my needs are met is one step towards feeling 100%.
- Focus on What You Have, Not on What You Don’t. I have the most trouble with this concept, especially when it feels as though I’m being bombarded on all sides. While I’ve openly shared about the two babies I lost in the past 6 months, there have been other personal ‘blows’ to my family, which, when compounded, has been overwhelming for me. Too often I get stuck in a ‘doom and gloom’ way of thinking, creating unnecessary stress and anxiety for myself. The reality is that, while I did lose two babies, I have one amazing little boy who truly is the apple of our eyes. He’s healthy, thriving, funny, and absolutely brilliant (we’re not impartial or anything). On my bad days, my husband has been the one to remind me to refocus and to think about our amazing son, not about the babies we lost. Once I turn my thinking around, my attitude and outlook begin to become a little brighter.
Have you suffered from the holiday blues? What do you do to uplift yourself?