Neglecting Self-Care as a Mom:
For years I completely neglected to take care of myself. I:
- Lived on 3-4 hours of sleep a day
- Skipped meals often
- Abandoned all my hobbies
- Gave up all my free time to homeschool my kids
I did not have ½ a second in the day to breathe.
I was going insane.
I brushed that off as a small price for my martyrdom ‘sacrifice’ to my kids. I erroneously believed that my actions alone determined the outcome and fate of my kids’ future. That 20 years later, when they were all grown up and perfect, I could relax and live my life.
Let me tell you, that kind of thinking is a recipe for a nervous breakdown.
What I failed to understand, was that I was literally killing myself. Despite the numerous warning signs that popped up over time.
Health Consequences of Neglecting Self-Care:
To make a long story short, in less than 5 years, I developed multiple awful health conditions. 7 of which had to be treated with prescription medication. Including pills, pumps, and injections.
- High blood pressure
- Low thyroid
- An autoimmune disease spreading to 90% of my body
- Critical vitamin D deficiency
- Clinical depression
Oh, and I was 30lbs overweight.
Stressful situations cause a surge in the hormone cortisol which can cause and/or worsen many health conditions, including the ones mentioned above. With my body pumping out cortisol almost constantly, I was exhausted, in pain and at a very high risk for a heart disease, stroke and organ damage. Not cool.
I think I spent more time in the doctor’s office than with my kids.
Can you believe I STILL didn’t see that I needed to slow down??? I thought this was a great idea to start some university courses.
When that didn’t seem enough, I also start working from home. A boring job for a soul-sucking company. WITH my kids at home.
At one point, my doctor sat me down, looked me in the eye, and told me that if I don’t want to kill myself, I HAD to slow down. That this wasn’t a joke anymore. But of course, I still didn’t get it. At least not enough to do anything about it.
In 2018, I literally collapsed from extreme exhaustion and poor health. I was forced to re-evaluate my life choices.
Starting to Take Care of Myself:
It started hitting me. If I didn’t change NOW, my kids wouldn’t have a mom anymore. I made many tough decisions that terrified me. I:
- Withdrew from my courses, even though I had only 1 semester left to finish
- Sent my kids to public school permanently
- Quit my job day job
- Prioritized self-care
You know what the absolute worst part about this was? I did it to myself. Unintentionally, but nonetheless, they were all my own choices.
But the good news, is that I realized before it was too late. The recovery process has been a long and difficult one. But worth it.
Here’s an awesome resource to find ideas for self-care: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/
What did I learn?
- That the world didn’t collapse when I took time out for myself.
- My kids’ education wasn’t ruined when I stopped homeschooling them.
- My family is very capable of doing so many things on their own. It was me who kept getting in their way.
Though I am still on the road to healing, my health and wellbeing are so much better than they have ever been. In every dimension.
I am so grateful that I was able to make self-care my priority before it was too late. Even if it took a complete breakdown to show me that.
And I sincerely hope you realize that you need to be your #1 priority. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Please do not let yourself get to rock bottom before starting to take care of yourself. And even if you already have reached that point, know that the only way to go from there, is up.
You can do it. I believe in you.
Subscribe to Inspired By Insanity for ideas, advice and open conversations on women’s well-being, beauty and style.