“The Most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself” –Steve Maraboli
Over the last few weeks I have spoken to many women about their feelings surrounding Mother’s Day. Most of the women I spoke with voiced how complex and hard Mother’s Day can be for them. It can bring up feelings of loss, loss of a mother, loss of a child or the hope for a child. The day can weigh heavy on mothers who feel guilty that they are not always the perfect parent, daughter or wife. It can be a reminder of relationships that we wish were different, the ongoing fantasy of a loving and flawless connection with those closest to us. Many spoke of the mixed emotions they feel surrounding this day, which can leave many feeling alone or with a heavy heart.
The clinicians at BPAR encourage staff and clients to practice the concept of self-care. To many of us this is a foreign idea. The thought of taking good care of ourselves may seem selfish or unnecessary. We may not feel worthy of taking the time to do something nourishing or gratifying for ourselves. Most of us are not in the habit of putting ourselves first or making extra time for being kind to ourselves.
Can we honor ourselves this Mother’s Day by beginning a daily practice of self-care? Can we take some time and recognize that every day we are all doing the very best we can? Can we maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves on a consistent basis? Is it possible to make the time each day to nurture, love and respect ourselves? Can this be the gift that we give to ourselves to hold for the rest of the year?
How do we incorporate this concept into our lives? Start by challenging yourself to make one small change. Begin with a journal or a log of these changes. For example, one of the easiest and proven effective self-care practices is to keep a “Gratefulness Log”. List 5 things that you are grateful for every evening before you go to bed. Keep the book next to your bed and fill it in every night. It can be as simple as being grateful for your warm bed or food in your refrigerator.
Other self-care activities can include:
- Meditation. There are many free guided meditations online
- Connect each day with a friend or loved one who makes you smile or feel good
- Take a 5-10 minute walk without distractions
- Take a hot bath (without your phone*) and listen to calming music. (*If the music is on your phone, silence notifications)
- Cut down time on social media and devote that time to something you like
- Have a good laugh. Watch a comedy or a short Youtube video. (Cat videos can be hilarious and only take a minute)
- Spend time with your pet or in nature. Imagine the advice a dog or a tree would give to you if you asked. Imagine how they would describe what is most important in life
- Exercise in the way that makes you happy- dancing, running, cycling –just make sure you are enjoying it. Update your music playlist with upbeat songs that get you moving
- Notice 10 new things while walking to work or driving in your car
- Tell a loved one how you feel about them, in person or in a note
- Give your self a compliment every day
- Sign up for daily positivity blogs and newsletters; these reminders can help ground you throughout the day
- Read books that encourage self-care, reflection and positivity
- Don’t underestimate the benefits of a regular spiritual practice
- Forgive yourself, forgive others, and let it go.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. You can begin your own list as ideas come to mind. There are many books, blogs, podcasts and films on positivity and self-care for additional ideas. (Check out BPAR’s recommendations page for some suggested resources).
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”-Aldous Huxley
Be good to yourself this Mother’s Day and the days that follow.
Written by Jennifer Eckert, LICSW
Boston Post Adoption Resources