If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the past 2 1/2 months running around getting ready for the holidays. You’ve celebrated with friends, family, and co-workers. You’ve planned parties for your children, attended cookie exchanges and gift swaps. You shopped for that just-right gift for everyone on your list. And then you baked and cooked enough to feed an army. But then the second week in January rolls around and instead of silver bells you hear silence. And it leaves you asking ‘Now what?’
I know that self-care has become the buzz word of the moment. However, as moms we legitimately do need to take time and focus on ourselves. I know there have been some articles about how telling moms to take a bubble bath and eat some chocolate is wrong. But I think that if that works for you, then go for it.
Maybe you like to spend $4 on a coffee that you don’t normally treat yourself to — well that’s fine! I like to wander around a bookstore or a library when I feel sad. There’s something about being around all the books that cheers me up, even if I don’t buy any. Some people need to reconnect with nature, so taking a hike or a trip to the beach soothes them.
So that’s the first step: figure out what works for you. The next step is doing it. That’s your short term fix. Now it’s time to really look at the deeper cause behind your doldrums.
What is it about the holidays that you love so much and miss when they’re over? Is it cooking for all of your friends and family? Sharing your kitchen talents? You don’t have to wait for the holidays to have people over or to send care packages. Ask some friends over for dinner. They probably have kids that your kids want to play with anyway. Maybe you can bake some cookies with your kiddos and share with the neighbors. I know that sounds so 1950s, but we did that for a neighbor when she lost her dog and it meant so much to her, it made me think we need to do it more often.
Maybe your favorite thing was finding that just-right gift for your friends and family. Well, there are charities that need just-right things all year long. Children are not just needy at the holidays. There are many local charities that accept donations of children’s toys and clothes. The things your child has outgrown might just be that child’s just-right thing. And don’t forget our furry friends. Local animal rescues have lists of items on their websites that they need year round. Also, the food bank is always in need of food donations. They receive an influx of donations during the holidays, but oftentimes struggle the rest of the year.
Perhaps the holidays are the only time of year you make a point of getting together with old friends. Well, you can fix that! Plan to get together more frequently and then follow through. I don’t mean that you have to get together every month, but at least more than once a year. What is it about getting together that you love so much? Is it reminiscing about when you all were single together or the office hi-jinks you got up to? Laughter truly is the best medicine, so take your medicine more than once a year!
Maybe It’s More…
The last thing I want to say is that while it’s normal to feel a little bummed out after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sometimes that feeling doesn’t go away. If that’s the case, you are not alone and there are people out there who can help. Having a Moms Night Out or a coffee with your friends is wonderful, but there are times when you need more than that. When your tank becomes empty, it can become impossible to be present for our families in the way we want to be. It’s so important that we recognize this need to seek help and then to actually act on it. Whether you talk to your minister, your spiritual leader, or a licensed therapist, seeking out professional assistance is an excellent way to fill your tank.
You wouldn’t expect your car to make it to California if it was running on fumes. So you shouldn’t expect yourself to be Super Mom without taking some time for yourself.