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Why being "mommy" to everyone in your life is hurting you!!

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Why being "mommy" to everyone in your life is hurting you!!

by Dr. Jennifer Harned Adams,  Phd


If you ask yourself or your friends who they take care of, you’ll likely get a long list – partners, children, friends, parents, siblings, coworkers, pets. With a list as long as that, is there any room for the woman herself? Many times, when women are asked to create such a list, they often don’t list themselves and their own needs.


Everyone else needs me – I don’t know have time to take care of myself!

Actually, you don’t have time to NOT take care of yourself. As Deepak Chopra has said, “If you don't take care of your health today, you will be forced to take care of your illness tomorrow!” Each time we take time for ourselves, even in the smallest way (meeting a friend for coffee or buying fresh flowers for our home or office), it refills our stores of energy and reduces stress.


Why is it so hard for women to make room for self-nuture?

  • You worry you are being selfish
You’ve heard it before - stress can have negative effects on your body, your mood and your behavior, creating a viscous cycle that leaves you too depleted to take care of those you love most.  If your twice-weekly yoga class with a friend will make you a more patient parent, or better able to focus at work, how can you NOT go? Those two hours spent in yoga will pay off during the week in the form of increased patience and productivity.


  • You don’t know how
Many of us don’t have good role models for self-care. Our mothers may have been so busy trying to juggle work and family that they didn’t have time for self-care – or maybe they spent too much time engaged in their own pursuits that you don’t want to repeat those mistakes. Our friends and sisters are stretched just as thin as we are, and don’t know how to do it either.


Look around your circle. See if you can identify other women who have the same goals for self-care, and connect with them around finding ways to build it in to your week. This might look like meeting for coffee during the work day, or trading childcare to get a few hours on your own.


Also look around for women who seem like they are doing a great job of self-care – the colleague at work who is great at setting boundaries on her time, or the acquaintance in your neighborhood who goes for her run every morning at 6am sharp. Ask them how they do it – you’ll likely get some great advice, and some support for your goals!


  • You feel like you don’t have the opportunity
Women looking for ideas for self-nurturing are often given ideas like, “take a long bath” or “take a weekend away by yourself”. Both are great ideas, but let’s face it, sometimes life demands that we multi-task. Look for ways that you can self-nurture with the important people in your life. Meet a friend for coffee, sign up for an art class with your kids.


Remember, you don’t have time to put off caring for yourself. Take care of yourself, and be a role model for others in your life by finding time in your life for you. By taking just a minute or two each morning to plan a small act of self-care each day, you can make positive changes in your physical and emotional well-being.


Looking for more on this topic? Check out “Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself As Effectively As You Care for Everyone Else” by Alice Domar, PhD