Never before in my life has it been more challenging to take care of myself.
I am up several times a night feeding my baby boy (Zac), have work piling up around me, and I am learning to navigate the new balance in a marriage when another little person needs you to take care of their every need 24 hours a day.
There are many things I have learnt since my journey into being a first-time mum began but the one that has become clearer than any other is that you can’t look after others until you look after yourself.
After years of organising and prioritising my personal health and well-being to ensure I can be a true role model in my working world, I learnt first-hand how quickly and easily this can all disappear.
When change happens in your life or times get tough, be it the pressure of a new job, mounting bills or the loss of a loved one, often the first thing that goes out the window is taking the time or creating the space in your life to take care of yourself.
You might be making lunches for all three of your teenage boys every day, running round clearing up after everyone all the time, or working crazy hours but inside you are no doubt feeling resentful, frustrated or just down right tired – and it can end up backfiring on you big time.
When you are running on empty (and boy, do I know seriously now what that feels like), you end up snapping, being angry with the people you love the most, and feeling resentful that your life is this way.
You aren’t super-human and you can’t keep going and going and going and expect everything to be bright and peachy when you have no energy reserves left – something will give and sadly, it is often the very things you have been working so hard at. You make a mistake at work, argue with your partner over something dumb or shout at your kids for not tidying their rooms, even though you have spent the last 10 years tidying them yourself and suddenly wonder why they don’t do it themselves?!
You matter and if you want to be the BEST you that you can be, you need to look after yourself.
I can no longer go to the gym every day or mediate in the mornings but after some very big meltdowns, I am learning to find new ways to take care of myself. Five minutes in the shower to take deep breaths, reflect on five things I am grateful for in my life and just be present. Making up a vege snack box in my fridge and always having fresh fruit in the house. Ordering premade green smoothies. Taking Zac for a walk rather than battling to get him to sleep at home.
Whatever it is, and however you do it – take time, even five minutes a day, to do something for yourself and be by yourself. Schedule it in, ask for help, make it happen.
Despite what you might feel you have to do, you don’t have to be super-human, just be real, be open, be you.
If you are looking for more ways to improve your life, grab a copy of my bestselling book Lose Weight for Life.
Love, Claire x
Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist. Managing director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.
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