In traditional September style, the good weather came back with glorious sunshine the moment the lunch boxes needed filling and every item in our kids’ schoolbags was labelled. September means a lot of things for all of us. New school year. Back to routine. Rushing out the door with one arm in our coat as we cradle the schoolbags and a slice of half-eaten toast dangles from our mouth. Not forgetting that the potential for a few solo hours is lost as those minutes are instantly filled with the to-do list.
However, September doesn’t have to feel so panic laden, rushed, or anxiety-inducing. September is fresh and new and full of opportunity if we take the time to wipe the slate clean after the upheaval of the summer holidays. We can find that tricky balance with school days again, but most importantly we can find time to properly care for ourselves again. September offers a little freedom, quiet, and the space we have all most likely been missing over the past couple of months.
For this very reason, I am running a Self-Care Challenge for September to get back in tune with yourself once again and genuinely understand the meaning of self-care for you.
Looking after our wellbeing means something different to everyone. Now that we have that potential freedom again, we can relearn how to care for ourselves and keep up the momentum, making self-care a given, our standard practice, an essential part of our day, a happy habit.
Wiping The Slate Clean
We’ve spoken before about the importance of “Building Our Pyramids.” There is a structure of needs our bodies, minds, and spirits need to nourish and thrive. It’s not unusual for these needs to be forgotten or put at the end of the list when we fall into an abstract structure like the summer holidays. But these needs are essential for our wellbeing. What I’m talking about of course is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which put in line for us what we need to nurture ourselves. From the basic, most necessary needs such as food, water, Maslow outlines for us everything we need right up to the top of the pyramid that asks if we are inspired, enthused, enlightened.
Again, after the upheaval of the summer break, we are at a stage of utter exhaustion, where many of those needs are unlikely to be met regularly. And that’s ok. We have to remember we are still in the middle of a pandemic. From maintaining life through the last couple of years, worn out from a long summer of constantly being needed and touched, to the sudden race of home to school and back again, it’s no wonder many of us hit the proverbial wall by mid-September. But I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen this year, and together we will get back to self-care.
Wiping the slate clean means looking at our needs, whether we are meeting them, and if not, how can we?
Physiological Needs – These are the most basic human needs, including food, water, sufficient rest, clothes, and shelter. We may automatically say, “Yes, of course, all of these needs are being met,” but when you look a little deeper, can you answer whether you are getting enough? Enough vitamin D, enough iron? A balanced diet and seven hours of restful sleep? Addressing these basic needs is a first on our road to meaningful self-care.
Safety Needs – Do you feel safe from violence and theft. Are you emotionally stable? Are you focusing on your wellbeing, your health, and your financial security?
Love and Belonging Needs – We have all struggled with the third level of Maslow’s hierarchy as our integration with friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues has been understandably limited over the past eighteen months. But our connection with others is a necessary part of nurturing our human psyche.
Esteem Needs – Our ego-driven needs on the hierarchy relate to our esteem and how our confidence and independence grow. It’s an integral part of our overall growth as we realise our potential and are proud of our achievements.
Self-actualisation Needs – Finally, how fulfilled we feel as a person and whether we reach our full potential is at the top of the pyramid as we strive to be the person we want to be. Our self-actualisation needs include our education, how we develop our skills, care for others, and expand our horizons.
In essence, we need to ask ourselves some basic questions when it comes to figuring out if these needs are being met: Do I feel safe? Do I belong? Do I feel confident? Am I living my best life? Do I feel inspired?
Rebuilding Our Wellbeing
It’s essential to recognise that our mental wellbeing is vitally important as a parent. But we also need to know what wellbeing fully encompasses. It holds everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. September is a difficult month in any household as emotions are often heightened, the overwhelm is heavy, and the routine is hard to maintain. It’s very easy for us to believe we are letting things slide or that we may be failing or struggling. But in reality, life gets a bit sticky. We are perfectly entitled to find days hard, to hate when everyone is on overdrive, or be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. This means we don’t need to maintain a perky positivity all of the time.
As we move through these days and weeks of September, I would love for you to join me on the Mama Moments Self-Care Challenge on Instagram. Together, we will learn to prioritise ourselves once again, recognise that we are doing our best and that we are “good enough.”
We will wipe the slate clean, start afresh, and feel all the better for it. So, let’s get back to self-care!