Sound familiar? Wow full-time caring can be tough. Physically demanding, emotional demanding, isolating and always about two gorgeous little people I love…..but, Ok I’m going to say it, I love them but I need a break from them every now and then. There I said it.
A break to switch off from the demands and responsibilities that come with being a full-time carer, mum, therapist, doctor, teacher and even when I am appointed the little sister when my daughter and I are playing. Some time to catch up with friends, dance the night away, have a few wines and just be me.
Unfortunately most of us, me included, don’t have the time or babysitters to be able to have regular breaks from caring. I learnt some time ago, instead of feeling frustrated and angry with situations I can not control, look for alternatives. Which is exactly what I did. How do you reconnect with yourself again when you care for others 24 hours a day 7 days a week? When can it be all about me for five minutes?
Then I wondered how I felt when I was just me. I felt confident, relaxed, important, liked, healthy, intelligent, beautiful, and refreshed. So it goes it’s not just me anymore and it’s not about just me anymore, but, it should be about me sometimes. I a full-time carer but when did that mean losing all those nice feelings. Ok I know, it’s not like we can spare one night a week or even a month to take time off from our responsibilities. However, there must be something we can do to reconnect with ourselves, after all we have needs too!
So I thought about it and come up with some strategies and what do you know, they worked. I felt like me again, everyday. I should point out these tips didn’t magically allow me to time travel for a night to dance the night away as myself at 25 years old. I’m not that young anymore and my life has changed. Honestly I wouldn’t want to be 25 years old again, I was all over the shop at that age. I just wanted to take off my carer/mum hat occasionally. Here are a few things I did:
- Get dressed nice every day.
I don’t mean dress in a ball gown and stilettos to take your child to therapy, but just find 10 extra minutes each morning to do your hair, or apply some make-up. It is so easy to get stuck in the “stay at home carer/mum” mindset of I am not going anywhere, seeing anyone or doing anything so I will just hang around in my p.js all day. What about seeing you. It is amazing how confident you can feel by just doing this simple exercise.
- Make a list of activities you enjoyed pre-babies
My list consisted of things like, catching up with friends, working, exercising, making plans to look forward to. Then I looked at my options. I don’t have easy access to a babysitter so I decided to think about what time I to myself and did one activity per month, during that time. Both my children are at school so I scheduled the time in and organised to meet up with friends for coffee. I didn’t think or talk about disabilities once.
- Find a hobby or find part-time work
Regardless of what it is, if you live and breathe the same thing day in and day that’s what you will be focussed on. Finding a hobby you really enjoy or a job that gives you some extra cash will give you something else to think about. You will have something else to talk about as well as something that is important and is all about you. You never know, you may become so good at whatever you’re doing, people start to see you as a leader/expert.
So there you have just some of the things I did to reconnect with me. The person underneath the mum/carer/teacher/doctor roles I play everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I love being all those things. I love being a mum to my two beautiful children most of all, but I am still a person with my own needs and I am important too. I found these things helped me and I hope they can help you too.
Do you have any tips on how you stay connected with yourself? If so please let us know by commenting.