Working moms in and around Naperville – and across the country – know how difficult it can be to find time for themselves. Their days are filled with work, kids, sports, kids, work, cleaning, kids and maybe some husband time (if he’s lucky). Weekends are all about family, since the work week leaves little time for it. With such crazy schedules, it would seem women should look for more minutes to squeeze into the day – not deduct them for “me” time.
But, that’s not exactly true. In fact, according to a recent study from the American Psychological Association (APA), now more than ever, working women need to find more time to take care of themselves. The APA study found that women tend to report higher levels of stress than men and have a greater tendency to feel they aren’t doing enough to manage it – which leads to a snowball effect and even more stress. Many times this stems from women’s tendency to feel responsible for those around them.
Hueina Su, author of “Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul: 7 Keys to Nurture Yourself While Caring for Others,” says women who spend too much time on others and neglect their own self care can suffer from something she calls “Self-Care Deficiency Syndrome.” She says moms are particularly prone to Self-Care Deficiency Syndrome as they always put their family’s needs before their own.
Su offers a few tips to help working moms overcome Self-Care Deficiency Syndrome.
1. Self-awareness. Most moms take on too much without realizing they are close to burnout. It’s critical for moms to be aware of their stress level, and to listen to their bodies. When they are tired and stressed, they need to take a break instead of pushing forward until they run themselves down.
2. Say no and set boundaries. With so many competing priorities, responsibilities and endless to-do lists, moms need to learn how to say no, delegate, and ask for help when they need to.
3. Give yourself permission to practice Intensive Self-Care. So many moms feel guilty or selfish when they take time for themselves. Instead, they need to give themselves permission to take good care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Su emphasizes that taking time for “me” is not selfish and should not be considered a luxury, but rather an essential practice for your survival and overall well-being.
Whether it’s an hour here and there getting a mani-pedi in downtown Naperville, walking through the Fox Valley Mall, seeing a movie at Hollywood Palms or even reading a good book, the best “me” time should be spent clearing your mind of the moments ranging from client presentations to temper tantrums, and focusing on releasing the stress by getting some much needed perspective on who you are as a working mom and as a person.