All those impossibly bad days? You got through them.
Give yourself credit where it’s due.
It’s hard to think of anything in Australia right now except for the fires. It truely just feels shallow and selfish to talk about shopping or what to cook for dinner, getting fit or organising your space.
And it’s hard to know how to help. There are just so many people in crisis.
So I’m going to do the one thing I know, share how to look after yourself so that you can better care for others in one of the most stressful periods our nation will ever go through. Because that’s what we do as mothers. We care. A lot. So these are a few gentle intentions that prioritise self-care and acceptance.
I will be kinder to myself.
Let this year mark the end of beating yourself up. Some people think their out-of-control inner critic is a source of motivation, but it simply adds to your stress, which in turn holds you back. When you hear that familiar negative voice in your mind chime in, simply notice its presence then place your attention elsewhere. I, personally, place my attention on something bigger and outside of me, like on someone who needs my help (and there are a lot of people of there at the moment). It reminds me the world needs my contribution, and I don’t have time for self-diminishing thoughts.
I will slow down.
We’ve all gotten ourselves in a big hurry. Part of that has to do with the common misconception that being busy equals success and part of it is just the nature of modern life with its constant, shifting demands. Give yourself permission to slow it down and take a pass on things that don’t excite you in order to make space for what does. If it’s not a “YES!” then let it be a no.
I will listen to my heart.
Often, we hear our intuition telling us which way to go but our head gets in the way. We start making pro and con lists instead of heeding our inner voice. It can be scary to trust that voice, especially when it doesn’t “make sense,” but if you have faith that your heart is in tune with the bigger picture, move in that direction and the evidence that it knows best will start piling up.
I will favour process over perfection.
In the outcome-oriented society in which we live, most of us feel like we are failing a good part of the time because we are not “there” yet. But there is no “there” there. There is no holy grail of happiness on the other side of achievements and goals, just more goals. The truth is we are all evolving, and it is a process. Perfection is actually the enemy to evolution because, with perfection, there’s nowhere to go. Wherever you are in your evolution is simply where you are on the ride. As long as you realise this and keep moving, the ride can be a joyful one.
I will go outside of my comfort zone.
Most of us are stuck in the ever-repeating known. The same thoughts we had yesterday, we have today. The same patterns of behaviour from years ago still come creeping back. The same habits, the same routines, the same decaf coffee with one sugar and a splash of almond milk. It’s a common misconception that the known is where we are safest, however, this is actually stagnation. The unknown is where you will find yourself feeling most alive and creative. This year, look for areas you can break out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s a new route to work, or a different way of reacting to your partner, or simply a new perspective.
I will stick to a self-care practice.
There’s a saying that the best time to take proper care of yourself was twenty years ago, but the next best time is now. The trick to sticking to a practice, whether it’s meditation and yoga, or going for a walk every day, or even a weekly meet-up with friends over a bottle of wine (sure, why not?) is remembering to prioritise how you experience life on the inside over what you experience on the outside. And then make your practice non-negotiable.
I will help others.
One of the most uplifting experiences we can have is lifting up others. It is, in a way, the best kind of self-care as well as the antidote to the stressful times in which we live. It doesn’t have to be volunteering at a charity organisation, it can be simply smiling at the barista who messed up your coffee order, standing up on the bus for others to take a seat or folding washing for a new mum. Whatever you have, whatever your gifts, see if there’s a way to turn them into an opportunity for giving back. The experience will grant you more joy this year than losing weight or organising your wardrobe ever could.