• Linda Farnden

5 reasons why we don't do self-care (and why being a Super Woman sucks)

Working with women, and especially mums, in a coaching space made me realise that there is a thread a lot of us have in common. Same as in my previous post, we will focus on self-care, but this time we will delve a little deeper. Are you ready?

Something happened to my mindset when I became mum over three years ago. Suddenly, my purpose was to care, to protect and to nurture that little person who was completely relying on me for everything. I wasn't sure what I was doing half the time, constantly comparing myself to other mums, and often feeling like the worst mum ever. I think it was around this time when self-care became a luxury for me. Because, admittedly, there were so many things to take care of, like the baby, a house, a husband and on most days, these duties took up most of my time and energy. I went into a mindset I can only call a Super Woman mode. You know what I mean, you run around 100 miles an hour, going from one task to another, like holding your baby and trying to stir the sauce, and unloading the washing machine in between. Saving the world, attending to those in need, and all that.

The funny thing is though, now that my son is in a nursery during the day, I still run around, thinking that I need to be this Super Woman but feeling like, as well as resembling, a headless chicken. As if it all were some kind of a competition about how many tasks I complete during the day and how efficient I am. Because those things need to be done (do they? right now?) and if I don't do them, no one else will (have you heard of delegation or a job share?). And worst of all is, that at the end of the day, when I am all worn out and exhausted, there isn't any price or reward for all the hard work I have done. Nope. Nothing. Niente. Nada. Ingenting. Nic. Just a dread that I will have to do it all over again tomorrow. You get my point. Is it just me, or are you there with me?

To cut the long story short, I now have the time for self-care and yet, I don't do it very often. From my own life and from coaching other women, I have learnt that there are 5 main reasons:

1, We live by the mantra 'If I just, then I will...' Sounds familiar? 'If I just hang the washing now, I will then have time to sit down and have my lunch.' The chances are that you won't because then you notice the pile of washing up and you think 'If I don't do it, no one will'. And you repeat the mantra again. And again.

2, There are so many things to do and you want to do them all, but there is not enough time to do them. So you get on your hamster wheel, and you run faster. Anything related to self-care is usually near the end of the list, in the 'not urgent/important' section that just gets postponed every day. Assuming it ever makes it on your list at all!

3, You would love to have a massage or treat yourself to a SPA weekend but you feel guilty just thinking about spending that money on a thing that no one else will see. You would rather buy your child a new toy or new clothes (they don't really need), because you love them and there is something tangible that others can see.

4, Similar to no. 3, you might be in a need of new clothes but you keep postponing it and then likely end up buying some clothes for your kids or husband. In other words, you don't really need that much, and other people's needs and wants are more important than yours. Because it's Super Woman's job to rescue everyone, keep them fed, safe and dressed. What's a few holes in your super cape compared to knowing that you are important, needed and worthy?

5, The oppressive feeling of guilt stops you from taking time for yourself. Having a nap in the middle of the day? Are you kidding? Have you seen how long my 'to do' list is? I had to write it on a roll of toilet paper because no paper in the house is big enough! I can't have a nap, I've got things to do. And so you hop back on your hamster wheel and you sing a song of 'the more I do, the more I am' or another one that goes like this 'I do, therefore I am (worthy)'.

I am sure there are many more rules that you allow to have control over your life. It's almost as if there was an invisible judge that would come at the end of the day and make his verdict about our value as mums and human beings based on how much we have done. Have we proven our worth enough? Have we done enough? Well, there is no such judge! Not outside of us, anyway. The judge is in our own head. And it drives us mad and we end up overwhelmed and unhappy.

Underneath all this external chaos and mad rush that resembles a mass evacuation before a volcano eruption more than a woman's daily routine, there is a whole network of deep rooted beliefs that control our lives and our behaviours. All those beliefs about how a woman or a mother should be, based on what we observed as children, seeing how our own mothers and other female role models behaved. All those beliefs about how we should or shouldn't be that we got told by adults. And if these stay unnoticed and unchallenged, they will rule our lives and make us miserable. Unless, of course, your desire is to live like a hamster, in his little cage, doing the same thing day after day, running like mad in his little wheel, eat some food and go to sleep.

Some heavy stuff, I know. But don't despair! I have been there too, and I still have days when I feel like I have been handed a 'shit sandwich', as a friend of mine likes to call those days when things just go wrong. The good news is that you have the power to change your life. You do! We are Super Women, each and every one of us. It's our life, and we get to decide what we do with it. So if you feel overwhelmed, stressed and unable to get off the hamster wheel, know that there is still hope for you!

Here are some of the things that might help you:

  • Find yourself a life coach or a therapist - I can't stress this enough ladies! Coaching changed my life, which is why I trained to become a coach myself. One of my clients said, that few coaching sessions helped her more than years of therapy. But therapy is helpful if your problems are more complex. To find out how I can help you, book your free 1-hour introductory session with me here.

  • Try mindfulness and meditation - I have recently discovered the Headspace app and I can't recommend it enough. It's quick and easy and you can squeeze it in your busy schedule. I start my day doing a 5 minute meditation and a quick breathing exercise, before anyone else is out of bed.

  • Become a part of community of other women - knowing that you are not alone is very empowering. There are other women going through similar struggles, and being part of community gives you sense of belonging as well as being a source of emotional support. Try Facebook groups, Meetup, WI, Action for Happiness app, local community group or some other platform.

  • Attend webinars and courses and actively work on changing your life - there are so many webinars and courses out there, all you need to do is search. If you don't want to spend too much time searching, why don't you attend one of my As happy as can be! webinars? You can find more information here. If you are up for the challenge and want to do something more intense, why not enrolling onto my As happy as can be! 3-month course? You will bring more balance to your life, focus on areas of your life that are important to you and make positive changes with new habits and routines that fit your personality, your needs and your schedule. Does it sound too good to be true? Don't take my word for it! Try it for yourself. And if you don't like it, you can ask for your money back. Find out more about the course here.

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