If we wait until we’re drowning to grab on to the lifesaver dangling in front of us, it may be too late. In the case of self care, this might mean when we get to the actual self care act, it may exhaust us more than it uplifts us. If you’re running on empty but know you need to get in a yoga class to boost yourself up, the class may have the opposite effect. Between the act of driving to the class and the actual exercise, you may leave feeling exhausted rather than energized.
It is also important to remember in thinking about your own childhood traumas or a trauma experienced by your child, that children define events differently than we do as adults. I think back to an incident in my own childhood where I was playing outside and went in to the yard of a house near by to say hello to a dog in the yard. The dog jumped on my back, bigger than I was, and knocked me down. For some, this incident might have instilled a lifelong fear of dogs, but in my 5-year-old brain I defined the event as the dog giving me a hug.
When a mother gives birth, there is a sudden shift to being completely selfless. Nothing is about you anymore, it is all about the baby. When we make the shift to selfless, we often forget or don't acknowledge that recognizing our own needs is not a form of selfishness. The recognition of our own needs helps us to better recognize and acknowledge the need of the baby. While we tend to the baby, nurturing him or her--giving them love, food, comfort, and touch--we often forget to nurture ourselves. When our own needs aren't met, it makes it harder to tend to the needs of the baby. We may become easily frustrated and impatient with the baby, in turn making us frustrated with the way we are mothering.
The holidays bring wonderful things such as food, relaxation, family. For some, the whole family and relaxation thing don't really go together. While many dread seeing certain family members, it seems the dread increased in the past few years with tension from the election. Rather than sitting around a table enjoying turkey and wine, some of us have to sit around our table, clenching their fists, trying not to react to family members with opposing--even derogatory--views.