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5 WAYS TO REDISCOVER YOUR INNER STRENGTH
By: Jill Berling | August 12, 2021
The laundry is piled a mile high; you can’t recall the last time you showered; and the last meal you ate consisted of scraps off your toddler’s plate. Overwhelm is kicking in, stress is at an all-time high, and burnout is just around the corner.
We have all been there! The question is: how do I intervene and support myself when I feel like I have nothing else to give?
Here are five ways to find your inner strength, especially when you are feeling stressed out and depleted.
1) Invest in some basic self-care
We are so quick to check in with our friends and families. We say things like, “Well are you eating three meals a day, plus snacks? How about those 8 hours of pure bliss zzz’s? And, don’t we all feel better when we throw some jeans on and a cute necklace on our way out the door?”
Giving advice is easy, but taking it is harder.
Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned parent of three, the first thing I always ask my clients is: how is your self-care? When we feel stressed and depleted, showers and lunch breaks seem to be the first things that go. So I challenge you: find one self-care ritual you can incorporate into your life today. Start small. We aren’t looking for perfection, but rather consistency. Over time you will start to reap the benefits.
2) Incorporate movement every day
It doesn’t matter what type of movement it is—just move! I don’t care if you’ve rolled out of bed with your PJs on or booked your favorite workout class, as long as you move your body, break a sweat and get those endorphins pumping.
The goal is for your movement to feel attainable and repeatable. Regardless of whether you’re a parent working full-time, a new mom, or a caregiver with lots of support, finding that time devoted to you each day will not only feel good but you’ll continue to reap the benefits throughout the day, and so will your family.
As the saying goes “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Same goes for dads, and all caregivers.
Allowing ourselves to prioritize our own self-care through movement gives us the space to re-energize so we can come back to our families bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the next tantrum.
3) Ask for help from your village
When was the last time you phoned a friend, asked an in-law to watch the kids, or had a neighbor stand guard so you could take the groceries inside? My guess is it’s probably been a while. There’s a lot to be said for the age-old saying, “It takes a village,” and too often I find we’ve evolved away from that thinking.
What has replaced it is the notion that we are superhuman. Don’t get me wrong—in many ways, we are! But it is also okay to lean on others for support and to ask for help. Whether you need a spa day, a few moments alone or an afternoon to restore peace of mind, do so. Ask a friend, ask your partner, gosh ask a neighbor, because remember, it takes a village.
4) Get social
In the midst of a global pandemic paired with parenthood, the idea of going out with friends might seem like a far reach from possible. But it is proven that we thrive in community and that we rely on the company of others to be healthier, more sane and happier.
If this year has demonstrated anything, it’s that we need connection. As parents, it is easy to isolate ourselves or to get stuck in the routine of pick-up, drop-off, packed lunches, sleep schedules. Just as it’s important for our little ones to play and socialize, parents need it too. Call a friend, go for a walk, grab lunch, but whatever you do, prioritize it just as you would a playdate.
Because you and I both know, it’s good for the soul.
5) Talk about it
Maybe you should talk to someone. No...really. Most of the time when we are run down and stressed out, the best thing we could do is talk about it. Whether you share your feelings with a friend, a trusted confidante, or a professional mental health clinician, it’s good to talk.
Through conversation we feel seen and heard, and sometimes we realize, “Oh wow, someone else experiences this too!” Parenthood is challenging, and when we talk about the challenges, we realize that everyone is doing their best; no one is perfect.
So, call your friends, talk to other moms, join a support group, or engage in routine counseling. The more you can share and express how you feel the easier things might be.
Jill Berling, MS, AMFT is a practicing Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who works predominantly with teens, families and perinatal women. Jill has a passion for supporting women of all ages facing challenges and adversity throughout many stages of their lives. Through her own struggle and recovery, she hopes to inspire others to make a change. For more information go to www.therapywithjillb.com
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