I’ve been visiting with friends lately about self-care a lot. As moms, we seem to be that last people to take care of ourselves. It seems that we are so busy trying to keep the chaos in our life going, and the first things to go out the window are anything relating to taking care of ourselves.
As grieving mothers, we worry about our spouses, our other children if we have them, our grandchildren, and everything else, and maybe don’t take the time to grieve that we really need.
I’ve been reading that self-care is a form a discipline. It’s a discipline in a few different ways. Many times the things that are self-care are not super enjoyable to do. Working out can be hard to get to the gym. Anyone that works out often would say that some days they really don’t want to be there, but they still go even if they don’t want to. Planning and creating easy and healthy meals takes time and energy, but if you do that, maybe you have more energy and vibrancy in your life because you feel better! Getting a babysitter and getting out for the day can be daunting for some mothers, and leave them with the guilt that they want to get a break from their kids for a little bit.
I learned of an analogy that is of a pitcher filling up with water. Imagine that water is everything you need, and as mothers we give and give to everyone else. We are constantly pouring out of that pitcher so we are always running on empty. What if instead we let that pitcher fill up? What if we let it fill up and then overflow? Then what would happen? All the water we were giving away would flow out to everyone anyways!
I really like this analogy because I think sometimes self-care can be seen as selfish, or we can feel ourselves to be selfish. But we cannot be the mothers we are meant to be if we are pouring from an empty cup all the time. If we instead pour from a full cup, we can help and be present as the mother we want to be.
With grief it is mental, physical, and emotional. And in order to work through our grief and start to process it, there are many ways that self-care plays into that. Remember that as you are grieving, your tank is very empty. It just is. For now, you might have very little patience, strength, and energy to even move towards taking care of yourself or your family in the way you would like. Take baby steps and do what you can. And take each step with lots of love for yourself. You are in a really fragile state and need lots of grace for yourself.
Self-care to me means, starting to love yourself. We tend to have a tendency to beat ourselves up, to berate ourselves for being this way or that way. I see self-care as exploring who God has made us to be, and making time to love ourselves for who we are. I believe you matter. I believe you have a purpose. And if you can just learn to believe that you matter, you can be in a much better place.
There are many ways that you can help take care of yourself in your grief. One of the biggest things is giving yourself time to grieve. If you don’t allow yourself the time to grieve, you will deal with it later down the road. Examples of ways to take time for yourself could be exercise, getting a massage, writing, meeting up with friends, doing a hobby that destresses you such as artwork, baking, crafting, walking, WHATEVER it may be that helps you. You don’t need to worry about what helps the next person, but what gives you strength to keep going just one more step.
One last thing, sometimes you need to find something new that works for you. A hobby that you previously loved, might be something that you can no longer do. This can be a very difficult change, especially if it was a way you used to cope with life around you. And now you cannot do it. Search for something that fills your cup up that you are able to do. In time, you might be able to do that hobby you loved again.
I created a Self-Care Cheat sheet, that can help you think about what you can do for self care, and how you can implement it into your life. You can get your free copy below! I hope is helps you take your first steps to giving yourself space and time to grieve, and knowing that you matter.