What’s Your Happy Plan?
So as we’re all probably aware it’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week. And thank goodness! Isn’t it wonderful that we can finally talk about these things without feeling like a social pariah?!
A big part of all of this is self care. It seems that (particularly as Mums) we have less and less time for what increasingly seems like an indulgent and unnecessary pass time. I, for one, dedicate a lot less time than I perhaps should to this essential part of daily life. But what ever phrase we use (put your own oxygen mask on first, you can’t fill from an empty cup etc) I fear we are a nation of Mums running on empty.
Iris and I not long after she was born – zero self care + excessive crying and lack of sleep = poor mental health!
Of course we are incredibly lucky to be able to have choices. We can work if we wish to, we can also be a Mum. We look after elderly parents. We volunteer at Brownies. We do our share of the housework, the homework, the cooking and the emotional support. We walk the dog. Sometimes even the dog gets more self care than we do!
Maisie Moo on a blustery trot
But when was the last time you did something that really made you feel like you? Something you did before you had kids perhaps? Something that defines you as something other than a Mum? Every week you say? At least once a week? Bravo that woman! Every 6 months when things start to fall apart and you say to yourself “right, I’m booking ,myself into a bloody spa before I loose my marbles”? (This is me by the way).
One thing is for sure I am a much, much better Mum, wife, daughter and buddy when I schedule in regular self care time. And its getting your head into that space that will help you ditch any guilt about taking time for yourself. It’s not just for you – its for everyone around you too. I am regularly frog marched out of the house in the direction of Zumba because Mr Tycebert knows from experience that I will leave as Travis Bickle and return as Mary Poppins.
So let’s make a self care pledge – from one hard working, caring Mum to another. What are you going to do to better take care of yourself this week? And can you roll that over to next week and the next and make it a habit? Lets make a Happy Plan! Here are my suggestions (based on real life desires and wishes). Some may seem outlandish and impossible but if you really want to do it you can:
- SHOP. Remember clothes and fashion?! Schedule yourself a couple of hours to have a mooch around the shops. And you only allowed to look at things for yourself!
- READ. Buy a magazine and read it. Without interruptions. You may need to take a couple of hours off work for this one but it’ll be worth it!
- COOK. Deviate away from the “stir-fry Wednesday, jacket potato Thursday” routine and cook something you really enjoy. Sharing optional.
- WATCH. Remember films? Not Pixar or Disney (as good as they are) but films YOU want to watch? Strange, meandering films, gory, sweary films, films that you’d never in a million years let the kids watch!
- SWIM. Alone. At night is best when they dim the lights at the pool and it all goes bit dreamy and weird.
- LISTEN TO MUSIC. Not The Greatest Showman although it is bloody brilliant. Something that makes your heart sing. Something you can’t listen to in front of the kids (it’s really, really hard to enjoy Eminem with a 7 year old and a 9 year old).
- JUST BE. Take time to connect. Sit and do nothing. Listen. How actually are you? Is your heart racing? Do you have any sensations or pains? Can you locate these feelings (I always find this so hard to do) Do you feel calm? Anxious? How do you know? What sensations are telling you this? Apps are brilliant and there are lots of good ones (Headspace, Breath and Insight Timer are all great) but there’s a lot to be said for the simple art of sitting still, without your phone and just being.
Over to you – what’s your happy plan? How will you realise this plan? Whose help do you need to enlist to make sure it happens? Leave a comment and let’s do this together. And here’s to your excellent mental health!