Today we see just about everywhere #hashtags or “quotes” reminding us to take care of ourselves, & practice self-care. #Selfcaresunday or “place your mask on first.”
But what does all this mean to the mom busy with dinner, homework, after-school activities, & a mountain of other mom duties? I once went to see a therapist to help me manage the piles of stress that sneakily crept into my life. After each session she ended with, take care of you.” Her words would resonate with me for hours, that is until I allowed something to rattle the peace I felt. Then one day it clicked! After breaking into tears in the grocery store parking lot I realized I wasn’t doing what she’d suggested, I wasn’t placing my needs first, needless to say, things were a mess! Could I possibly be doing too much? A small voice gave me the answer, a resounding YES YOU ARE. Slow down or you won’t be able to assist a soul.
Being a mom is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had. However, I am faced with a daily challenge, Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that usually occurs between the ages of 20-60. I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 25, & I’m in my early 40’s now, seeming to be managing well. Sure the days are beyond difficult and sometimes I honestly don’t have the energy to get out of bed. But I realized what a huge part of my problem was. I simply wasn’t contributing to my self -care.
To me, that meant prayer first before even opening my eyes. Having the quiet time before my son began begging for eggs and pretty much a full course breakfast:), I took hold of the reigns & made sure I was still. That was the start. The beginning of me regaining my strength and making sure I had control over my life instead of everyone else’s needs coming before mine. I realized I had been in a constant state of neglect and I hadn’t recognized I was comfortable forgetting about what I needed. Being tossed into the rat race of daily living will certainly contribute to that.
I had a recent chat with someone about this topic & she asked, “shouldn’t we strive to help others before putting ourselves first?” Of course! I believe this is important for us to do as a Christian family, help one another. My question for her was, how can you help anyone if you haven’t made sure you’re ok? Daily life has quite a bit of twists and turns. We get caught in one web after another if you don’t allow the time to pause, reboot, & possibly heal from a past issue.
When I think about practicing self-care, I see loving yourself, handling your needs before tackling a million of other things, placing an invisible door around you momentarily so you’re able to face what’s ahead and handle the needs of others.
Below I’ve listed a few ways to incorporate self-care into your life. Take a look.
Happy self-care days to you!
Learn More About Dawn!
Dawn is a 43-year-old mother of one, living in the DC Metropolitan area. She was diagnosed with RRMS in 2000. She has a BA in American Studies from SUNY Buffalo, and completed her graduate work in English as a Second Language at American University. In 2001, Dawn was on track to begin a Ph.D. program; however, life got in the way and an MS diagnosis became the focus.
She was an elementary ESL teacher for fifteen years and now teaches ESL courses at Anne Arundel and Howard Community College on a part-time basis.
She loves being a mom to her son, yoga, transcendental meditation, foreign films, music, Black culture, and is currently completing her memoir about her life with MS.