“I don’t have enough time to look after myself, and anyway, it is selfish to take time out for me when I have a family to look after – isn’t it?”
This is a statement I hear often from many of my clients and friends. There was a time I even said this.
I realised a long time ago through my own parenting experience, my business and the many parents I come across, there is one major factor that gets overlooked – if you are not okay, how can anything else be okay. If you are feeling run down, overwhelmed or undervalued why not try something new? I am going to share with you how you can get out of the old belief systems of selflessness and move into looking after self – being self-full.
What does self-full mean? A few years ago I watched a YouTube video that featured Iyanla Vanzant, who is a best-selling author. The question was asked, “Is your cup full?” She spoke about putting yourself first and being strong in life. She said that doing this is not selfish it is self-full. Iyanla said, “It’s self-full to be first, to be as good as possible to you. To take care of you, keep you whole and healthy. That doesn’t mean you disregard everything and everyone. But you want to come with your cup full. You know: My cup runneth over. What comes out of the cup is for y’all. What’s in the cup is mine. But I’ve got to keep my cup full.” Hearing this was a light bulb moment for me – it changed the way I parented, gave to others, and especially how I looked after me.
From my years of experience personally and professionally, I have found that if you are not okay, nothing else will be, no matter what skill you adopt or distraction you create.
The relationship you have with yourself will determine how you think and feel, how you deal with challenges, as well as the relationship you have with everyone else in your life. Your level of self-esteem and the value you put on yourself will determine your performance and productivity. This is the first area to renew and polish up to fill your cup.
I like to use the metaphor of vehicles, as I believe life is a journey and people generally feel the silent and invisible push to move forward in their lives. Let’s look at the family car. Parents feel a responsibility to keep the family car in good condition, up to a safe standard, using the right fuel and properly serviced so that their family can get from A – B in comfort and safety. The car expenses and upkeep are put in the family budget and scheduled, because this is important to have this asset in top condition.
As a parent, you can view yourself as important as your mode of transport.
You are in charge of getting your family safely from A – B (mentally, emotionally and physically). To do this you need to be in good condition, getting the right fuel and services. You need to view yourself as an asset to the family unit and most importantly have resources of time and energy to move yourself and family forward.
I will share with you the top nine ways I keep in top condition, and enjoy the ride that is parenting:
- Every morning before I get out of bed, I affirm myself and my family, I see my daily plan play out in my mind the way I would like it to go, make any adjustments, take a deep breath and get out of bed to start my day.
- I communicate regularly with my family on what is going on for me, and ask for support when I need it.
- I make sure I am properly fuelled! I drink enough water, I eat healthy food and I exercise in a way that is right for me. I find yoga and meditation keeps me mentally, emotionally and physically strong.
- I have regular activities and interests that are just for me. I pamper myself quarterly. I benefit so much from acupuncture and massage treatments that help with tension build up and tightness.
- I catch up with friends regularly who inspire me, make me laugh, support me and align with my life values.
- I make learning a priority. I find keeping my mind active and expanding, either through formal or informal education keeps me happier, healthier and feeling more resourceful when challenges show up. I love the saying by Charlie Tremendous Jones – “You will be the same person in five years time that you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
- I have learnt I don’t have to be Super Mum – I instead get Super Support! Whether it is paid help, help from friends or within the community – I think about the best thing I can do to leverage my time or support myself and my children through certain issues, and then I ask.
- I am constantly checking in with myself, and asking, “what is the best use of my time right now.”
- I take time each week to celebrate my achievements, discoveries, my trials and my ability to overcome them. I acknowledge that through my mistakes I get closer to getting it right. I appreciate the lessons from life and my family. By doing this I can readjust and move forward easier.
Many years ago, while I was watching TV feeding one of my babies, I heard a celebrity who was being interviewed say that what he remembered and treasured most about his mother, and what he believed contributed to his massive success, wasn’t how much she loved him; it was how much she loved life. This simple statement struck a cord in me at the time. So much so, that since then I have strived to live my life in a way that shows abundance, resourcefulness and moments filled with joy and laughter – and that I am here to get the most out of each and every moment.
In doing this, I have seen that it has passed on certain attitudes and beliefs to my children, family and friends. My sincere wish is that your cup is always full, you can love life, and you can make looking after you a guilt free priority.
What are your thoughts? Is your cup full? Please share in the comments below.