It's all about ME!!! Taking care of Yourself!
Written by
Michelle Russell
March 2013
Written by
Michelle Russell
March 2013
   In my life I come first. Yes, you heard it right (as you gasp in disgust over my selfishness).  Yes ladies, and you need to make yourself a priority in yours also!  Now I'm not talking about the ridiculous have no consideration for others including your kids and family or friends, that's just not practical or healthy if your a mom, or anyone else.  I'm talking about making yourself a priority on your to do list. Do yourself first.

         There are so many of us that are so caught up in pleasing others (kids, spouse, boss, friends, coach, etc..)  that we forget about ourselves.  Especially if we have circumstances like a demanding partner or job, we grew up in a home that used guilt or abuse for control, or we have a special needs child, or just kids in general. 

    I'll use myself as an example....

     I work in a long term care facility.  I work hard, and I put up with a lot of crap. Funny gal!  Not only the physical stress, but the mental stress is daily and sometimes very trying.  When I get home I have kids in my face. Then I have their friends over and it's noisy and busy. Some of nights I have to put on my taxi hat. Love it!  Then I have to cook dinner.  Sometimes I have to do some dreaded grocery shopping that I hate paying for or bill paying that I put off.  In the bank...out the bank. I'm lucky the kids do the dishes or sometimes Andre brings over dinner from the restaurant.  I like it when all the kids are over but it's just a constant flow of the all day noise that streams from early morning to night.  I want to run away screaming sometimes! But I don't and I go to bed and the next day starts the same...with the old people...and the crap...the non-stop care taking of everyone else....

     You probably have your own daily cycle of busy delirium that you muddle through, and you're probably tired. Damn right!! And if you're a single mom I KNOW you're tired!!  So here is my point...

     We all have responsibilities and obligations to keep, but you need to sit down and do an inventory of what is necessary and what is not.  Do we REALLY need to volunteer for another fundraiser or be the one that always cleans up everything or does all the work?  Do you just run around doing everything so that it gets done PROPERLY? Is that really necessary or are we the one who is causing our own burnout?   Can u let go of your compulsive neatness and let the kids and hubby clean up even if it's half ass? How about teaching your kids some life skills like laundry and keeping their own space clean or making them come in from outside to clean up the mess they left?  Little things like delegating tasks to family members really helps. If you love to volunteer and you're happy that's great, but if you are burnt out and tired, maybe skip the ones that you can opt out of.

     If you can, always take time to yourself, even if it's when the kids go to bed (these days I'm in bed before them! Lol!).  Listen to your body and be good to yourself.  Take half an hour and have a hot relaxing bath with soft music, read a book, or do some mani-pedi's.  I love all those great smelling lotions from Victoria's secret or Bath & Body and love to slather it on after a hot bath or shower and slip into some comfy clothes for the night.  I always put some money aside so I can get my hair and nails done.  When I was on afternoons, I would go to the local coffee place and get a specialty coffee and read a book for a bit before I went in to work.  Now that my kids are older, after dinner if I need a break, I'll go out for a glass of wine, or just take time out to chat with a friend.  There are so many things that might sound small but they make a difference when our lives tend to be "other's centered".

     I have friends, and I've been their myself, that have just been lost in life for so long (including losing yourself in a relationship) that they cry in despair "But I don't even KNOW what I like anymore, I don't even know where to start!!"

     When I was newly separated I was sooo like that.  I was so used to my life being centered around someone else that I was lost. Materially I had it good, and I didn't have to work as much. I relied on others for my life comfort and now it was all up to me.  What a horrible transition and it was stressful.  Now almost six years later, I've adjusted, and have totally changed my view on many a thing. 

     Being good to yourself also includes surrounding yourself with people and things that are good for you.  Toxic friends, family, co-workers and relationships drain you not only of your energy, but of your self worth, time, and inner peace.  Putting your well-being before others is a wise choice. 

   When we put our safety first, we avoid abusive relationships or bad situations.  We make good choices that protect our children and set a good example for them. 
   When we put our feelings first, we avoid  and stand up to those who belittle us or put us down or want to use us for whatever reason.  We stand up for our right to happiness and won't allow anyone to step over that line. When we value our emotional health, our children will also.
   When we put our own health first, we will slow down when our body says "that's enough!". We learn to ask for help and realize it's OK not to be wonder woman all the time. We watch what we put into our bodies and if we need to see a doctor(or whatever professional including holistic) to address health issues we do it. When we are healthy we function better, feel better, and set a good example for our kids. Excersise is also important and we need to fit some in, even if it's only once or twice a week.
     When we put our values and beliefs first, we set a standard to live by.  We have a belief system that rings true to us and we are consistent.  This is integrity and trust.  People know what we stand for and believe in and we are stable. When we are blowing in the wind pleasing everyone else or compromising our values or even following the latest fad religion or going with whatever is new and sounds great and easy, we are weak, lost and can fall prey to "feel good" predators.  We become spineless jellyfish that view pleasing as being the nice guy.  Or when your are always grasping at hope through someone else's salvation, we lose touch with reality. 
    When you put yourself first, you learn what you like and what you don't like.  You learn what you stand for and what you abhor. You learn who your real friends are and who was just hanging around using you for their own good. When you take care of yourself first, you set standards of treatment by others.  Those whom you attract will value you for who you are, not what you are trying to be.  You get to know the REAL you, and the old fake people pleasing you dissapears.
     When you put all of this together, you create your authentic self.  By doing this you will attract the same.  And what a joy life is then.

      Life is stressful, we all know it and live it.  Are we creating some of that stress ourselves?  Can we get real and make a list of all those thoughts, people and things that are preventing us from true happiness?  Sure you can.  From bad relationships to self sabotaging behavior to control issues, they gotta go.  All of it....or at least most of it.  Put yourself first.  You deserve it.  There is no grand prize for being a martyr or pleaser. And after you overcome and conquer every step of the process, reward yourself...big or small.

   My all time rule as a single mom (and my kids laugh now at this) ...IF MOM ISN'T HAPPY...NO ONE'S HAPPY! Negativity spreads and you don't want to be that jar of yuckiness!

   So lets get happy. Only you can achieve this. No one else has the key. Start putting yourself first and you will be changing the cycle for your kids and be and inspiration and strength to others in the same boat. I really think it's more like a cruise ship, many of us...most... have or are going through the same things in life.  Let's always be supportive and understanding to others. And if we see someone who needs some ME time, offer some help, or make a coffee or salon date together.

    Never neglect your inner goddess.  She is important.  When you feel good, you get more accomplished  and have a good attitude about it.  So live your life, but take time for deserve it!!

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