The essential art of self-care

The essential art of self-care

By Jennene Greenall and Caitlin Taggart

When was the last time you did something just for yourself, had some much-needed ‘me time’?


When you have children, it can be very easy to stop thinking about yourself - who you are, your health, your happiness, your life. Women with children often juggle multiple roles, that of a mother, child carer, worker, cleaner, taxi driver - often resulting in a new identity. Taking care of yourself is usually at the bottom of a long list of responsibilities.


Many mothers struggle to overcome the guilt associated with self-care. Questions and intrusive thoughts can present when we have a picture or ideal of what it is to be a mother or carer.


When we have a child with different abilities or particular health care needs, taking care of yourself can be even more challenging. Research shows that mothers with a child with different abilities or chronic health conditions are particularly vulnerable to developing stress and often develop a set of coping strategies to manage everyday demands, some of which may not be healthy.


Have you ever felt that you are keeping one step ahead of the next challenge to solve - possibly feeling like you are caught in the momentum of a huge snowball that is tumbling down a mountain?


To keep ahead of this, we may keep putting in place Band-Aid solutions to address challenges, rather than simply taking this time for ourselves to stop and find our centre again.


Giving yourself time to rest, recover and care for yourself first, means you are running on a full tank. Therefore, you are more likely to be watching the snowball, rather than becoming part of it!


Self-care provides a basic foundation for a healthy life. A good starting point is to think of self-care like housekeeping for your body.


When we have so many responsibilities to attend to, we need to make sure our body is up to the task of doing them.


Regular exercise, making time for yourself to enjoy relationships and activities that nurture you, laughing, being present with what you are doing, and yes, going to the doctor and dentist when you need to, are all great ways of administering self-care.


A healthier and sustainable way of approaching self-care is less about juggling the multiple responsibilities we have each day and more about finding a flow to actioning the challenges that we encounter – such as challenging behaviour, school conflict, exhaustion, lack of joy and isolation. When we do this, the tension in our bodies and thus our home life, is transformed.


‘Me time’ is not a luxury, it is a necessity!


How do you achieve ‘me time’?  Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Prioritise time to connect with yourself and listen to what your body is telling you.
  • Remember to highlight your strengths and successes: One step at a time, getting back into the flow of your life again.
  • Build practical and inclusive communities around you: It takes a village to raise a child and to nurture a family. Asking for support does not mean that you are needy or not capable.      
  • Not being defined by your circumstance: Use online groups for supportive information and try to remember who you were before you became a mother, carer, or a parent.
  • Access to holistic and family-centred healthcare services for yourself and family.
  • Find a key person to support you and your family with avenues for accessing quality supports - This could be an occupational therapist, psychologist, support worker, speech pathologist - someone who has solid networks of their own.  

Jennene Greenall and Caitlin Taggart

Jennene Greenall and Caitlin Taggart share a mutual passion for inclusion and equality and combine their skills and life experiences through their business, A Spectrum Connected. We collaborate, consult and educate, and deliver programs that connect people to the magic of equality and inclusion. A Spectrum Connected philosophy is to Connect. Understand. EmpowerTM  We would love to connect with you.   



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Comments (3):

How true beautygirl040. A great motto to have. It's often hard to ask for help as you feel as if you are failing or can't cope if you do. Everyone needs help at some point and as you said, if you try and do it all yourself all the time resentment and frustration build up. Good luck with your motto for 2018. Sounds like the right one!

claremary - January 2, 2018

I totally agree. It is so important for women to find space in their busy lives for self-care. Something they love, something that lights them up inside that is just for them. Whether it be going for a run, having a massage, painting or drawing or whatever it is...
Something else women need to do is slow down, and ask for help. I’m guilty of rushing all the time, and especially not asking for help, which zaps me of energy, leaving nothing in the tank except resentment and frustration. (This is something I’m working on this new year to change). A motto I have is: ‘Healthy, happy mummy equals healthy, happy family’.

beautygirl040 - January 1, 2018

A great article and something that too many women forget to do- take care of themselves and make themselves a priority. It's a very hard thing to do and comes with a lot of guilt but women must take time out for themselves- it will make them a better person, partner, friend and most significantly mother.

claremary - December 31, 2017