Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too!

Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too: It's Good to be a Little Selfish - It Actually Makes You a Better Mother

Authors: Susan Callahan, Anne Nolan, Katrin Schumann.
It was while in Canada a few years ago that I came across this book, while taking ‘time-out’ in a Borders book shop, Seattle's Best coffee in hand.

Mother’s Day is the US is at the beginning of May and is such a big deal there too, with books, gifts and ideas to keep Mom happy displayed in many, many stores.
It was this book that opened my eyes to the real sense of what Motherhood leaves us with (if we let it) – feeling undervalued!  This book steers you away from that, allowing you to know and believe that ‘taking time-out for you’ is not only acceptable, it’s essential for you to be the Mother your family deserve.
It was the title and concept of this book that led me to write an article for NCT Chorley & Leyland’s Award Winning Newsletter and later to start the webpage ‘Time Out for Mums’. Hopefully the site will grow to be popular and inspire many Mums :o)
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Monday, 18 October 2010

The Freight Train of Life

I can’t stop it happening, things are just so busy, so difficult and I have too much to deal with. It’s pulling me under, knocking me down. I can’t make them like me, can’t stop them saying what they do. I don’t have time to do all these things. I never seem to be able to get everything done. Everything around me is a mess. They seem to want more and more, they are asking me to do things I simply can’t do. I’m not good enough for them. Why do they want so much from me, it’s all too much – I can’t cope!
If a train was coming at you at 100 miles an hour, right for you, fast and heavy and sure to be the end of everything you know – would you take it head on, let it end everything  - or would you simply step aside?
Life is like that! Life has problems that seem as though we haven’t got the answers. We are presented with problems that we are unable to understand, to be able to do and therefore  unable to achieve a solution to. Also, we have demands that overwhelm us, seem impossible to do and so we fall behind and can no longer do the things we were coping with before.
Step aside, take time to think this through. Allow yourself to make sense of it. If it is unreasonable for you to be doing something, if you don’t understand or it is something that is far too difficult for you to achieve – say so! Ask for advice, an explanation, guidance, training, support.  It is not unreasonable to ask for what you need, in order to do what you have been asked to do. Respect yourself and know that it is not weak to ask - asking for support is part of strategy, is a sign of knowledge and strength –you risk being overwhelmed and ‘may’ lose respect if you don’t!
Moreover, there is no job that pays enough to take your health and possibly your life!
There is also no-one who cares for you that much, they would want you to feel this overwhelmed!
Step Aside - give yourself time to think

Problems are like water – so don’t try and stop the flow

Many times in our lives we are faced with things that overwhelm us, that we feel are difficult to deal with, seem impossible to achieve. So, we spend what seems a lifetime trying to prevent them happening only to have them come back at us later – bigger than before! We try to change things – only to find it just gets more complicated and harder to understand!

We are looking at them as obstacles to climb instead of accepting that some things cannot be achieved, given our limitations or cannot be changed, they are what they are!

Some things just cannot be stopped – like water!
Water finds a way – always running, seeping through or rising over, where there are barriers. Let water flow – let it find a way! Let the things we cannot change remain – step aside, walk away, admit to yourself, to others that you simply can’t do it!

We can’t stop water – we can build dams, but we have to allow some water to seep through (controlled) or it will break through and cause devastating effects.

We can’t stop the flow of water – we can build bridges to cross it or boats to travel along the path it makes.

Solving a problem does not involve changing the materials you have been given – but using them to your advantage ....thinking it through, adding to your resources, asking for help!

Life is full of things we cannot change and we wear ourselves down trying too, trying to achieve things we can’t and not asking for support.

Look at life’s problems and challenges like you look at water – work with it, not against it. Understand it, respect it and try to look at things differently to try and achieve what you need to.

See problems with a positive perspective – have a positive outcome (how can I make this work? What strengths does this problem have? ) Just because it seems to be beating you, doesn’t mean it hasn’t got positive aspects. Some things cannot be changed – but how you look at it, see it and how you deal with it can change everything!

Remember, you can’t stop the flow of problems – like you can’t stop the flow of water. Don’t stop them – manage them: work them out; delegate; ask; - achieve!

If they can’t be achieved – accept this – move on!  You will have tried, learned something, but don’t let it drag you under – 
let it flow ......... (away)!

4 Simple Steps to Feeling Good

There is so much for our bodies to do and so little for us to give it in return for it to function properly. If any one of our systems suffer, then our bodies behave like machines – they compensate!  The knock on effect of one system suffering is that it will take from another – it won’t simply fail, but will try to continue taking from other resources. The chain effect of this compensation, gives us many warnings before we will eventually fail – unless we listen to our bodies, they will fail!  Aches, pains, dizziness, breathlessness, confusion, swelling, tiredness – all symptoms of stress in our bodies
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic or be a dietician to feel in tip top condition. If you want to feel better physically, mentally and keep stress levels to an all time low, follow these simple steps:
Drink lots of it a little at a time: Drink water ever 2-3 hours throughout the day.
Water is the fuel for life. It saturates the cells in our bodies that need the energy it gives to work properly. Cells not only in our limbs, organs, our brain, but cells that flow through and cleanse our blood and all of our bodies systems (digestive, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, endocrine, lymphatic, immune).  That’s a lot for our bodies to do without water.
A well balanced diet gives the body the fuel and bulk that it needs to allow it to function properly.
Eat from all of the food groups: carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre and eat foods that contain minerals and are high in vitamins. Fresh food is best and eating small meals regularly is better than binging and missing meals.
Food makes you feel good – it tastes great!  Eat well, but eat sensibly.
Exercise is necessary not just to keep fit, but to allow your body to continue to grow strong and keep moving smoothly. Even when you have reached your fully grown size, your body is replacing bone and muscles all of your life – so long as you are moving, your body is giving you what you need (if you are eating well).  Walking is an easy way to stay mobile and strong.

The added benefits are that you keep your stress level lower by walking and help to keep your lymphatic system (body defence and cleansing system) in tip top condition – movement and massage stimulate the lymphatic system to work properly!

Breathe Well
Take the time to breathe. This sounds silly, we are always breathing. But are we breathing well. Taking breath into our mouths is simply not enough – we need to inhale lots of oxygen into our lungs and right into the cells of our bodies to work ‘very’ well.  Deep breathing prevents stress and anxiety and helps us to relax and our bodies work more effectively. Taking the time to breathe well and relax (even meditate) should not be a luxury – you owe it to yourself to feel this good!

Tall or Grande

There's little to beat it ......

Time Out with freshly ground and filtered coffee.  The bean gives comfort that few other drinks can offer and wow wow wipperdy doo dah it's also a trend that is suited to all walks of life (student, business, ladies that do lunch and Mums on a moment - of bliss), so you will feel at one with the world around you.

Take your coffee where you can take more than 5 - somewhere where you can either switch off or watch the world go by .... God only knows you have earned it!

Costa, Starbucks, Seattle's Best - doesn't matter who is serving it, as long as it comes tall, grande, with or without the chocolate topping, preferably 'with' the monster chocolate muffin, caramel square or cheescake and definitely with a squashy comfy seat and time to relax and enjoy every last sip.

I so miss Borders in the UK and getting to read a book (after choosing it of the shelf). How I long for the Transatlantic flights that we (fortunately) make at least once a year and to sit and read and drink Seattles Best or Starbucks there - but do not despair ......... Even a book chosen from the shelf at home or in the aisles at Sainsbury's en-route (or a moment stolen while doing the weekendfood shop in the books/mags aisle) will hold until you find that moment to unwind.

You know you don't do it enough and you sure as hell know you deserve it - so when you next have an hour or two (child(ren) at nursery or school or with the in-laws) - resist the urge to head back to the ironing, meal preparation (cook and freeze batches works well), hoovering or the overlooked garden ........ turn right instead of left today and head for the out of town retail unit that homes your favourite coffee brand or up town coffee shop that is far from a few famous named children's brand clothing stores (you know that when you see them, you drop all inclinations to please yourself and provide for them instead).
The counter is like the alter to all good Mummy Time Out moments and has all that you need to de-stress, unwind, take more than 5 and feel re-charged for whatever lies ahead.  Repeat visits advised - often!

Note:  Try not to sample all of the gooey, sticky chocolate treats on offer all at once.