I think I may be suffering from post-holidays withdrawal syndrome. It’s barely the third week of the year and I’m already experiencing fatigue from responsibilities at home and at work. With Dana starting her K1 education in a new kindergarten, there are adjustments to be made and new routines to be ironed out. Coupled with an ever increasing workload, I have been yearning for more free time to do the things I enjoy and already fantasizing about our next family vacation. Till that happens, I just need to find ways to prevent a burnt-out so early in the year.
Many self-help websites would tell us that, of all the tips for working moms, top of the list has to be taking care of ourselves. Mom’s needs often seem to come last. After the kids, their dad, our job, the home, and endless errands, that is. There’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done, so our yoga mat, novels, parenting books, bath salts and that newly acquired recipe or craft book just gather dust.
Today, I am convinced I need to guard my mental and physical health so that I can be a happy working Mom. Here are four tips to share from award-winning journalist and mother of three, Katherine Lewis:
Self-Care Tips for Working Moms
Working Moms Tip 1: If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy
When mom’s stressed or burnt out, everyone in the house suffers. Whenever I’m tensed or unduly stressed about work, I am irritable, quick tempered, and in Dana’s words, ‘not nice’. My hubs and daughter would then stay clear of my way to avoid being snapped at.
If we take an hour or two to ourselves, to do whatever delights or relaxes us, the rest of the day (or week) will be easier and more fun. Our family will enjoy having an energetic and refreshed mom, even if they complain about our absence momentarily. Bottom line: by paying attention to our own needs, we’re actually be better at meeting everyone else’s.
|Source: A nice long, hot bath does wonders…|
Working Moms Tip 2: Stress and Sleep Deprivation Make You Fat
Stress and sleep deprivation release cortisol into our bloodstream, which triggers fat storage around our waists. Not only is it demoralizing, it makes us less healthy. We all want to live long enough to see our kids get married and even play with our grandkids, right? So the next time we’re tempted to stay up until midnight clearing our emails, surfing the net or spring-cleaning the house, we should will ourselves to go to sleep instead.
|Source: I really oughta sleep more…|
Working Moms Tip 3: Other People Are Capable, Too
So many working moms fall into the ‘Superwoman’ trap, thinking we have to be in charge of everything because we’re the only one who will do it right. This perfectionist mentality not only overloads us with work, it doesn’t give enough credit to other family members who love to play a more active role in our children’s lives. Even worse, it prevents the kids from learning important self-help skills that can lighten our load and make them feel more capable.
Try leaving the kids with their grandparents for a Friday night while you go for a nice dinner and movie date with the hubs. At work, see if there’s a junior employee looking to advance whom we can delegate some tasks. In that way, we can also be mentoring someone who could use the experience.
|Source: It’s ok that I am not a SuperMom…|
Working Moms Tip 4: Life Is for Living
This is our life, right now. Would we rather spend it rushing around to finish our to-do list, or actually enjoying it with our loved ones? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking we’ll relax once we reach the bottom of the list – there will always be something more to do. Instead, ruthlessly prioritize and eliminate tasks that don’t absolutely have to get done.
If you are like me, are having trouble (or often feeling guilty) carving out time for myself, start small. Say you’ve always wanted to start your day with a morning devotion: wake up five minutes earlier. Or if it’s your desire to start an exercise regime, schedule a once-a-week power walk after a light dinner. If it’s on the calendars, we’re more likely to plan our lives around it.
|Source: Don’t put off living your Happy Life!|
So here’s a rally call to myself and all working moms out there, the next time we have some breathing space, don’t fill it with errands. Instead, just breathe and choose to be happy. Wishing all of us a truly happy and fulfilled 2013!