What do you do when you feel that there isn’t any space left for you to be yourself, to think, to get the rest you need?
Often women feel like this, especially women bringing up their children alone. The demands of modern life coupled with bringing up children more or less singlehandedly can make you feel as if you are losing yourself.
When the day involves bringing children to and from childcare, working at the office, shopping, cooking, cleaning and putting children to bed, you hardly have time to relax. It can be faster to use a fix; like alcohol, TV, junk food, or simply you drop into bed, worried you’ll feel too tired in the morning.
Okay, I may have painted an exaggerated picture, but for some women it can be like this pretty much all of the time. What helps?
First look at the idea of time. Look at what drives you with each task. Do you really have to do each one, and in the same way you do them now? Perhaps you can make a few practical changes. For instance, ask a neighbour who takes their kids to the same crèche or school as yours to take your children sometimes, and return the favour. Try cooking in advance; cook loads on a day you feel like it and pile up the freezer. Invest in practical equipment like a dishwasher, large freezer, tumble dryer. When it comes to shopping, order online when practical (clothes and food–most supermarkets have this service), or buy the basics in bulk once a week. Weigh any increases in costs against your mental and physical well-being!
These practical solutions apart, what about making space for yourself to do nothing? Think of doing nothing at all sometimes. Your time doesn’t always have to be productive. Here’s one way to break the ‘cycle of frenzy’ and bring yourself down into a quiet state. Sit quietly when you have a moment instead of doing that task that will lessen your daily chores. Sit comfortably on a chair and place your hands gently, palms down on your thighs. Stretch up your spine from the base. Focus on your breathing. Allow your breath to enter your body, you don’t need to work it, breathing goes by itself. Allow more air to come in on an inhalation, and allow more to leave the body on an exhalation. When your mind wanders, perhaps to a sound, a thought, tension or pain, simply bring your attention back to the breath. Breath in lightness, feel your cells oxygenate.
Take your breath to any tension and pain and on the exhalation feel the tension escape softly. Let it go. Feel the essence of who you are, without the many roles you play throughout the day. Remember that you are perfect as you are now. Be in the present moment.