As a family oriented person, your loved ones are of utmost importance to you. You spend your days with the responsibility of ensuring they are well taken care of. That’s just what you do, and you’re happy doing it. I have seen so many parents at times, including myself, promise to never give up their personal passions and interests once they embark upon marriage and child rearing. Even at that, the time goes by so quickly, and we can find ourselves looking around for those pieces of ourselves we may suddenly feel have gotten ‘lost’ along the way.
Might there be a chance that this commitment to your loved ones is causing you to neglect yourself? How many times have you bypassed your own desires in order to meet the needs of someone else? As parents, this is inevitable, and making small sacrifices is something we agree to do, on many levels, once we choose to have children. That being said, it is important to keep our own needs met as well, so that we remain as healthy, happy, and as strong as we can while we are in the midst of daily duties to work and family.
Take a look at some guidelines for balancing self-care with the responsibility of caring for loved ones:
- Be creative with quiet time. If you think inside the box, quiet time means time alone without distractions or responsibilities. If you think outside the box, you’ll be able to paint a completely different picture.
- Instead of foregoing your spa day for babysitting duties, why not take your little one with you? Get mom and daughter pedicures or 2 for 1 back massages. That way, you’re taking care of your loved one and getting well-deserved pampering for yourself!
- Suggest that you and your spouse do movie night at home instead of at the cinema. You’ll get the best of both worlds. A favorite movie with warm and cozy blankets, cuddles and snacks! This is definitely one of my favorite things.
- Try scheduling your quiet time when everyone else is asleep or otherwise occupied. This is a big one for me … I’ve learned that I need to hold off on any writing or blogging projects until later at night, so that my attention is not pulled away and I am not becoming stressed out about it. With this idea, you may be tempted to get some chores done, but try and resist the temptation! What’s not done today can always be done tomorrow.
- Get the rest you need. By far, the best way to be of use to your loved ones is to be fresh and rested. When you neglect your rest, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, that chances are good you’ll tend to be cranky and impatient.
- Being there physically may not be enough for some people in your life. They can tell when you’re doing it out of routine. That’s definitely not the impression you want to give!
- Avoid feeling guilty about taking a break. There’s no reason to worry while you’re absent. The world can manage to stay intact for a short time while you’re gone.
- Do you know that you can get some of that rest while having quiet time with your family? Cuddling on the couch with your daughter while she watches cartoons is the perfect scenario! We have recently begun to ‘schedule’ in some family cuddle time, and we’re all on board with loving it, so it’s quickly become a family favorite.
- Share your needs with your loved ones. The only way your family can understand your position is if you share it with them. Get real and honest with yourself about your needs, and try to move past any fears, guilts, or uncertainties about sharing out loud what your needs are. Give loved ones a chance to hear from you so your selflessness can be reciprocated.
- Explain to your family members that you like to feel appreciated. Again, this is something that can potentially take some time to work up to, but it is very important to be as clear and honest as you possibly can. Sometimes we can work ourselves into quite an emotional state feeling that we are overlooked and our hard work and energy goes by unappreciated, but everyone’s minds are full up with their own thoughts and duties so much that we can’t expect them to read our minds. In speaking up when you’re feeling low and emotionally let down, they’ll realize that although you enjoy doing things for them, you’d still like to get some recognition.
To take this concept a bit further, we can take steps to find true freedom within daily responsibilitiy. In our complex, fast-paced world it’s easy to believe that grace is somewhere other than in the messy realities of our relationships, work and family.
Yet freedom isn’t found outside of commitments and responsibilities, but through them, as you discover the power of profound surrender. Non-resistance to life allows us to realize that there is nothing to get and nowhere to go. Everything we are is already here.
It’s easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, knowing that your dearly loved ones need something from you. It is so important to remember that getting clear on your own needs and desires, and then moving to meet them, will only help you to become, (and remain) the most solid base of support for your family that you can.