Most of us by now, have heard the phrase, “You can’t fill up another cup if yours is empty.” What exactly does this mean though? We understand that if we are radiating love out to others the probability that this will cause a ripple effect on those around us is high.
Yet, more frequently than not, the case is most of us are running around on empty, and in a constant state of stress. And speaking as a parent to a two year old ball of fire, these are the moments we tend to lose patience with those around us. And then we feel worse than before. And even more unfortunate is the remorse we feel after the fact mucks the waters even more.
What if I told you there is another approach to this? What if I told you it means you have to show your self some serious love? If you are anything like me when it comes to parenting you tend to give a lot of yourself on daily basis to your children, and this can leave little of your energy for you. Let’s face it parenting done right, requires a lot of giving. Usually leaving parents with nothing for themselves, but instead we can make the decision now to start a different routine. A practice of radical self love. That means putting yourself and your needs as a top priority on the list. Flooding yourself with love and appreciation on a regular basis.
If you are willing to start incorporating radical self love now, but are lacking ideas for getting started below are a few I recommend. The only way we can give to others is by having it inside ourselves first.
1. Check-ins on Your Emotions
Parents are extremely vulnerable to stress when they don’t know how to deal with their feelings. Suppressing your feelings isn’t healthy, nor is getting extremely agitated, angry, and doing something you regret. Make healthy choices and bring your emotions into balance. It will help you bounce back from adversity. Ask yourself, “Am I in control of my stress or is my stress in control of me?” Start incorporating mindfulness, and breathing techniques into your daily routine. Writing in a journal or blogging is another great activity, if you enjoy writing, that can help you to reflect and process your emotional self.
2. Find Ways to be Active
It increases endorphins, which make us happy, and serotonin, which calms us. Studies show that individuals who participate in regular aerobic or anaerobic exercise often experience less stress and anxiety than those who choose not to. Plan a variety of physical activities and recreational activities that you enjoy and make a commitment to yourself to pick a realistic amount of time you can dedicate to it. You will notice the physical and psychological benefits of engaging in regular exercise quite quickly. If you feel pressed for time there are a number of things you can do like taking a walk in nature for a few minutes, yoga with your kids, or even putting on some music you love and dancing around the house.
3. Show Yourself Compassion
Sometimes we simply can’t give ourselves what we need, just as we can’t always fix whatever is wrong for our child or those closest to us. In those cases, self-care means listening with compassion, whether to those close to us, or our own distress. In other words, just notice what’s happening in the present moment. “My daughter is screaming…my jaw is tight…my shoulders are tense…” This does not mean you have to find a solution or change anything. Just “witnessing” is a huge gift to yourself. And often it shifts your experience.
4. Find Your Tribe
Do not hesitate to pick up the phone or send an email to those in your support network. Connection fuels our souls and some times an outside perspective provides an opportunity we had not though of ourselves. If you are a parent, call another mom or dad you know and schedule a play date. Sometimes, just talking to someone with similar life experiences can be very validating in the struggles we face. Knowing your not alone can be incredibly healing.
5. Take Breaks as Needed
When the stress becomes too much find something you enjoy to do instead of focusing on the stress. This could be reading a book, meditating, watching a favorite show, or even just getting outside. As a parent, there are times where routine breaks are hard to fit in but do not forget the power of something small like diffusing oils, leaving the laundry for another day, or even treating yourself to a favorite food.
8. Listen to Your Body
Your body is brilliant and know exactly what it needs, start listening. When you eat that Taco Bell late night, does it really feel good? Or does your body thrive more off of that spinach salad you prepared at home. Sometimes listening to your body includes knowing when to have a day of rest. If you have kids, this may consist of blankets on the floor, forts and family movies. Just follow your own intuition for what feels good to you. Be honest with yourself, though.
7. If All Else Fails
There are times in life when going at it alone is not enough. Friends and family mean well, but do not always provide the unconditional support we need at times. In these instances, it is best to reach out to a trusted professional, whether it be a counselor, coach, or another in the helping field. A professional can help provide additional tools and strategies to help you balance your emotional and mental self. Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for support is a sign of strength not weakness.
The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development.
I used to say, ‘If you take care of me, I will take care of you.’
Now I say, ‘I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.’
Do not put off taking care of yourself another day. It’s time now to commit to Radical Self Love. Everyone will benefit from it.
With a Grateful Heart,