When Self-Care Becomes a Stressor

Self-care stresses me out. Yep, I said it. I know some of you think I’m crazy. Self-care is supposed to be the opposite of stress, right? It’s supposed to be those moments you provide your mind, body, and soul with to de-stress. When did self-care become stressful? Is it when it was no longer thought of as regular care, but instead care that had to be scheduled and well thought out?

We all know that when you become a mom the need to provide yourself with care escalates. It often seems that everyone in the house gets 99% of you and then you are left with a measly 1% at the end of the day. This is when self-care comes into place. What I didn’t realize is that I was stressing myself out over self-care.

I started going to a weekday morning workout class. I would take my oldest to Preschool and then my youngest would tag along for the kids room. At first it seemed like it was great and worked well for me. I then found that the majority of the time I was in class I wasn’t present at all. I was thinking of all the things going on that I should’ve been focused on instead. Week after week I forced myself to go to this class. There was nothing wrong with the actual class; it was wonderful. I was just not giving myself the self-care that I needed.

Now this may not be everyone’s case. That weekday morning workout class may be your life line. For myself, I found the more I forced self-care the less beneficial it actually was. Instead of stepping back and just giving myself 5 minutes to lay on the couch, I was trying to make self-care extravagant. I needed to remember that the solo trip to the grocery store counted as my self-care. 

I learned a few things quickly: 

Your passions shouldn’t stress you out. If it’s overwhelming you and stressing you out, then it isn’t for you. 

Stop pushing self-care. Every woman is different, therefore we need different things. Telling an exhausted looking mom that she needs some self-care isn’t offering her any help. Especially if your self-care suggestions become pricey and time consuming. They may just need that 5 minutes instead. Offer a shoulder for support and guidance. 

Every season offers different self-care. I’m not just talking Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. I’m talking about the seasons of motherhood. What I needed when my daughters were infants is different then what I need during the toddlers years. The self-care that was stressing me out before may be what I actually need in another season. 

View the small moments in life as self-care. I try to embrace every quiet calm moment I have as self-care. Whether it’s nap time I watch Southern Charm on DVR or reading a book in bed at night, you are providing your body with exactly what you need. I take advantage of those quiet quick grocery trips more than ever. 

Defining your own version of self-care. Everyone self-cares differently. I was getting so wrapped in how self-care for others looked that I was doing more harm than good. Not everyone needs a spa day or manicure appointment, please remember that. While one mom needs that workout class, another needs a weekly therapy session. One may need to let their kids run out all of their energy while they indulge in a delicious cup of coffee. Just like how we all parent differently. We all take care of ourselves differently as well. 

When Self-Care Becomes a Stressor

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