While self-care is great, it’s often not what we are really craving as burnt out mamas.
A massage won’t fix it.
Spending time with your girlfriends will help, for a moment.
And taking a night off to go to the movies will feel great at the time, but then, emptiness again.
As women, we are starting to learn the importance of self-care, even if it’s just the regular reminders in our social media feeds. Fill your cup first so you have something left over to fill others’. And it’s true:
prioritising your own needs is often the first step back from overwhelm, exhaustion and bitterness.
But it’s not the answer.
I don’t believe we’re really craving a manicure and a little time on our own. That’s what we THINK we’re craving, but underneath that, it’s more. That little voice that keeps rising up saying ‘I can’t do this today’ is not begging you for a few hours off. I know you probably find that hard to believe right now – but stay with me.
Yes, the few hours off are important. But what will you do with those hours, beautiful mama?
What will you do to fill that empty cup that will actually work?
We are reaching for surface-level bandaids when what we are really needing to heal is connection.
Connection is the medicine your soul is craving.
Let’s think about it:
The massage will help your body, but what will you be thinking about the whole time? If you’re lying there running the same scenarios you were hours earlier over and over in your mind, then your body may be in a different (and lovely) environment, but your mind ain’t. Which is why the relief the hour or so at the day spa brings does not last. You haven’t got to the core of the disconnection.
Our mind is where we need to focus. Our mind, and our soul. What the hell does that mean? I mean that part of you that knows all will be OK and can find the blessings in each moment – that’s what we need to care for.
In my book ‘Happy Mama: the guide to finding yourself again’, I started by talking about the connection depletion of our generation. When we’ve been brought up to believe that our worth comes from our job, our income, our house, our passport and our wardrobe, we carry a deep disconnection from what is real. And who we really are.
“I don’t know who I am anymore.”
It’s what I hear all the time. And what I’ve felt in my own dark nights of the soul.
Self-care is the outward practice of connection, but without the inward practice, nothing will shift. Sure, many of us will start with the outward stuff – the gym, the smoothie, the de-cluttering. We’ll notice a change for a while, but then, we’ll see we need something more.
That more is the calling of the real you.
It’s asking to be heard.
If you’re at the edge of connection, having tried all the outward solutions and still feeling like something important is missing, welcome, beautiful. Everything that has happened up until now has led you here. Your children, your struggles, your joy and your pain have led you down the inevitable path to this moment – to the moment you start to reconnect.
So, are you ready?
Here’s how to get started:
Begin to surround yourself with the best teachers and inspiration. Learning how to connect on a deeper level is like learning a whole new language: you’re going to need a few lessons along the way! Some of my teachers will give your goosebump moments, some will make you cringe. This is the journey. You are here, in this moment, to find your own truth. So begin to explore.
Podcasts are one of the very best ways to start this adventure back to yourself. A portable classroom, book and support system all in one, these pieces of audio heaven can go anywhere with you, and are a modern-mama’s best friend. Listen while you fold washing, while you drive, while you’re on the train. Find your favs, and subscribe. Use them to get you out of a funk, and to heighten your good days.
Here’s just a few of my favourites on high rotation:
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations
The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary
Wake Up Project: Inspiration + Courage + Kindness
Beautiful Writer’s Podcast
Sounds True: Insights at the Edge
Awaken Radio Podcast
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Good Life Project
Small Steps Living
Life Listened podcasts: The Mom Hour, The Home Hour, Make Light, The Style Hour
I’ve had to stop at ten, but I could go on and on. My final tip would be if you have a favourite author or expert (like Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Danielle LaPorte, Rebecca Campbell), pop their name into the search option and you can work your way through their insights and interviews. You really do have access to the very best at your fingertips – so make use of it.
You deserve this. That part of you that is beginning to awaken need this.
May this list of resources awaken that spark inside that is waiting to be fanned.
You can subscribe to the Happy Mama Movement Podcast – a weekly podcast with mamas on a mission to reconnect to what’s important and change their definition of success (hint: it doesn’t include burn out) – here.