By Rebecca Tichbon
I recently attended a webinar on business planning. One of the guest speakers talked about planning for self as a part of the overall picture. He talked about setting a morning ritual as a good habit to begin the day. His suggestions included doing a meditation, setting intentions for the day, writing a gratitude note in a journal or doing some gentle or even invigorating exercise.
These all sounded great, but I almost laughed out loud at the thought for my own case scenario. As a wife, mother of three, and owner of two businesses, this idea seemed impossible. I resisted the urge to write something negative in the chat box, but I wanted to type, ‘That’s all well and good for you, Mister ‘25 and No Commitments’, but are you going to come mind my kids at 5:30 in the morning so I can meditate in peace?!’
Now I could commit to getting up earlier, but I know, as a ‘don’t speak to me until I’ve finished my first coffee’ kind of morning person, that is never gonna happen. I have actually tried this, and my kids have a sixth sense about me getting out of bed. They might be sleeping peacefully in their beds, but as soon as I sit cross-legged on the floor with meditation music flowing through my earphones, my youngest is jumping on my head asking for Weetbix.
I agree that self-care is an important part of being able to stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically; but it isn’t always easy to put in place. In business, the need to keep on top of things is a big draw. Mums are known for putting themselves last, so visiting the gym, writing that journal or whatever else we plan can simply fall by the wayside. We feel guilty or selfish, when in fact, if we care for ourselves first, we are better prepared to care for others afterwards.
I’ve found a way to put that guilt to good use. I use commitment, especially where I would feel I was letting others down if I didn’t participate (rather than only letting myself down), to spur me into activity.
Going for that walk can seem not as productive as doing an hour of catching up on my backlog of emails. But the emails will still be there when I get back, and I will probably get through them more efficiently than if I drag myself into the chore. A fresh mind will increase my productivity. I take my little son along with me for the walk and include a visit to the park along the way. Then I feel like I am spending time with him as well as getting myself out for some light exercise. This helps me to rationalise it as a good thing to do not just for myself but for him as well.
I sign up for classes or sessions where I’m needed in the group. If I don’t turn up, I would be letting the others down. I don’t miss a dance lesson, because, first of all, I love it! But secondly, the dance won’t go as well for the others if there is someone missing. I have used team sports and such things for this activity in the past.
If I meet with my girlfriends, it is a way of catching up and socialising, so it is good for my mental health. But I often get my best ideas while chatting with these women. We provide each other with support, as well as a gentle butt-kick when warranted. This is never wasted time.
I started my own women’s group so I would have an excuse to get together with a bunch of fantastic ladies on a regular basis. The women feel free to be authentic and we share openly for deeper and meaningful relationships. I think this is missing in our modern era of online media for social interaction.
I highly recommend putting self-care into your weekly plan. If it’s in your diary, you have to do it! It may not always be simple to find a time or a way, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or eat up hours of your day. Find your motivation and make sure this message is not forgotten. I’m an over-scheduled, busy woman, and I can find the time to do what I need for self-care. If I can do it, anyone should be able to!