Since I started working with Emily the Therapist, I’ve had all sorts of blog posts rambling around in my brain but I haven’t been organized enough to get them written and posted. I decided that a weekly post would be the best way to plan for and to actually write those posts, so welcome to Therapy Thursdays! On these days I’ll share what I’m learning from Emily and pass along some helpful tips and tricks to navigating The World According to Jill (feel free to insert your own name there). So let’s go!
When Emily and I started working together, one of the first things we discussed was having self-compassion. I’ve already talked a little bit about this here so go check out that post if you haven’t already. (Also, this article and this page are great too.) This is the foundation on which I am building my new thought patterns. It is not selfish or arrogant or prideful to consider your own feelings – it is NECESSARY. You matter, your opinions matter, your feelings matter, and you need to remind yourself of that fact often. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself – a mantra, a note on the mirror, a reminder on your phone – DO IT. (I seriously have a reminder that pops up on my phone every evening at 6pm that says “You’re so RAD!” True story.)
What does having self-compassion and self-care look like in the day to day? How do we make that a practical application in our lives? One thing Emily and I talked about was how even though I am at the beck and call of my family, I don’t have to let that drown me. As The Mom, I think I am naturally the go-to person – the mother tends to be The Manager in the family as well as the glue that holds the whole darn thing together (sometimes precariously so). Dads are great, and super helpful too, but moms wear so many different hats and by default take care of so many different things every day: we’re chauffeurs, chefs, housekeepers, homework helpers, wives, mothers, employees, etc… we do so much and sometimes the things we do aren’t fun. But what we can do is improve the situation. We can do these things on our terms. Let’s say you have to shuttle your kids from one activity to the next and you just really aren’t feeling the chauffeur vibe but somebody’s gotta do it and today that somebody is you. So, how do you improve the situation? You can maybe get yourself an iced coffee and listen to your favorite playlist while you’re driving, or listen to your favorite audio book while you’re waiting for your kid to get out of practice. Make the situation work for you. What about going to the grocery store? How do we improve that? Maybe you can bring a couple of kids along with you to the grocery store and give them each a few things on the list to find and bring to the cart (assuming they’re old enough) in order to cut down on the time you spend in the grocery store. You could make the grocery shopping a sort of date-night with your husband or S.O. (but that’s kind of a crappy date, if you think about it, unless you both really enjoy it) – but you get the gist. Even though you might feel like you are at the beck and call of everyone else, is there a way you can do these things on your terms? Of course there is! You just have to ask yourself “What is going to make this pain-in-the-arse chore more enjoyable for me?” and then DO THAT THING. And this isn’t just for moms – it’s for anyone who feels overwhelmed with their busy lives. There’s no reason we can’t get something positive out of a task we’d rather not be doing. Have a boat-load of filing to do at work? Grab a fun coworker and have them help you for a few minutes. Facing an impossible deadline and have to work overtime? Call your favorite restaurant and have dinner delivered to you. Folding a mountain of white laundry on the weekend? Fire up Netfilx and watch your favorite show while you fluff and fold. If the situation is dis-pleasing to you, find a way to make it a little better. You won’t resent doing the task so much and next time you might actually look forward to it!
This thinking and questioning and considering and then actually doing…this is how you shift your mindset. This is how it happens – one small decision after another. Knowing that it’s perfectly okay to consider my own feelings and wants and needs is a different mindset for me and it’s going to take some time and lots of practice, but I feel like I have to do it in order to keep from losing myself. I’ve already made some good progress and I look forward to making more.