It's a long weekend and many mums are sitting there feeling the pressure to fill the weekend with activities for others instead of taking a break themselves.
True? As mums, we tend not to take a break and relax, reset or rejuvenate ourselves as a priority even when given the opportunity.
A survey of 1250 Australians found that two-thirds suffered from FOTAL (fear of taking annual leave) and didn't use all their leave because the build-up of work from being away created too much stress. Imagine if we included the non-corporate mothers in the mix?
Why don’t mums take a break?
Experts suggest we neglect self-care because it can be tough to make healthy changes and manage stress in better ways. True, but why we do we neglect it in the first place?
3 reasons for not taking a break for themselves that I have encountered coaching mothers are:
We feel guilty about letting others down by not being there/available
We feel we don't deserve it; that we haven’t earned it.
We feel that others will not be able to handle it without us
These are all linked to the mummy mind blocks that we need to breakthrough in order to practice radical self care for our well-being.
Why do we need to take a break?
We must take care of ourselves first so we can take care of others. We need that break. We need that break because ignoring our needs takes a dangerous physiological toll on our hearts. Our hearts are at risk - the very core of mothering.
Nuffield Health, the UK's largest healthcare charity, and tour operator Kuoni, conducted a study in 2012 and found those who didn't go away for a break had higher blood pressure, didn't sleep as well and had higher levels of stress. The benefits of taking the break lasted at least a fortnight longer than the vacation and the study claimed it could be felt for months in some cases.
The Framingham Study published 1991discovered that female homemakers who took a holiday only every six years or even less, doubled their risk of developing heart attacks or having a fatal heart problem compared to those who took time out at least twice a year.
It is so important for mums to practice that self-care by taking that break and show themselves some love too. "You, more than anyone else, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha
Self-care is not self-pampering.
Self-care is not self-indulgence.
Self-care is being mindful and it means choosing certain behaviors that balance out the negative effects of emotional and physical stressors and constructively soothe ourselves. It is achieved by listening to yourself and paying attention to what you need at that particular time. There is no one “right” way to self-care, we are all individuals. There is no best “way”. Sometimes people lock themselves into a self-care ritual of 30 minutes of exercise every day and then drag themselves out of bed some days to exercise and don't feel all the benefits afterwards because it is tainted with subconscious resentment. I love exercise but if on Wednesday I feel like I need a rest instead - I do that. It is about being mindful as to what I need to replenish myself.
Self-care is about doing things for you to be the best version of yourself.
So take the break and relax, reset and rejuvenate yourself. A self-care break–even for 15 to 20 minutes – is a proven way to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.
With that self-care break you can take even better care of others with all your heart.
Shannon is an IECL (Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership) qualified coach with an MBA and has 20+ years of coaching leaders across the globe from the United States to Australia to India. She is also a mother to three children and so coaches from a place of empathy, expertise and experience. Her mission is to improve the lives of children everywhere by helping the mothers to be more balanced and less stressed. Her company, The Care Factor runs Balanced Babe retreats and workshops tailored to the challenges that mums face in this hyper connected world.
Take a break and relax, reset and rebalance yourself at www.thecarefactor.com.au