Guest Blog- Take Care of Yourself First by Laura Van Riper

All too often women, especially mothers, use the three dirtiest words in the English language: “should, could, and would”.  This type of thinking is an energy-draining, unproductive trap that is important to avoid.

You are most likely wearing too many hats to do anything perfectly. In addition to taking care of yourself, chances are good that you are also caring for several others: a partner, children, an aging parent, a pet, your home, and a venture. There is not enough time in the week to perform all of these roles perfectly. It is easy to slide into a negative thought process and focus on what you should have done differently- beating yourself up rather than acknowledging the many things you are doing well.

Change your thought patterns and behavior for the better:

  • Repeat until you believe: “The best thing I can do for everyone is take care of myself.” in addition to getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercise, schedule doctor and dentist appointments for yourself religiously.
  • Think about or write down what you HAVE accomplished.
  • Ask for help. It may be painful at first, but you will be doing everyone a favor if children and partners become more self-sufficient and you become less stressed.
  • Evaluate and adjust relationships. Which friendships are truly genuine and reciprocal? Which ones feel like obligations and are draining?
  • Are you being penny-wise and pound-foolish? Unless you really enjoy pulling weeds, your time investment in your job or business will likely eventually reap more money than the going rate for yard work will cost you.
  • Prioritize and be realistic. Block out time on your calendar for everything from grocery shopping to running errands to exercise. With practice, this technique may help you break the cycle of always feeling behind and/or running late.
  • Review decisions. Some decisions are wonderful in theory but do not stand the test of time. Volunteer commitments, children’s activities, certain social obligations, and household rules can and should be re-evaluated and adjusted frequently.

Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men, and are particularly vulnerable after giving birth and during the years around menopause. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel you need it.

You deserve to enjoy some peace of mind and free time long before retirement or your children are grown. It is time to put the Superwoman myth to rest.  That way you’ll have more time for yourself and your venture.

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