"Mind Space" to living and no longer surviving

Published on 21 March 2023 at 17:37

So, how do you begin the recovery process? You start by becoming a priority. It will not be easy. Give yourself a time frame from week to week to work on your mind space. Begin to tell yourself that you matter, because you do! Essentially, you live, eat, talk, and breathe parenting and the daily struggles. The first step is to acknowledge that you have self-worth and deserve it. The most difficult step for me was making myself a priority. For so long, all I have known was eggshells and survival. That was all I could remember. Baby steps eventually turn into HUGE leaps forward. Every recovery takes time; nothing happens overnight. If it were that simple, we would all be holding magic potions to heal our children. Here is the secret.  Change must begin with us; only then will we be able to work with our children in the most effective manner possible. You have a strong-willed child, and working with them requires mental strength.  You are currently stuck in survival mode. 

Ok, ok. I know it sounds like I am about to say the phrase we all hate: "Take a vacation," but I am not. Instead, go on strike to give yourself "mind space". The "mom strike" is well deserved. Starting time can be as little as five minutes. So hear me out. I have been there. The truth is, we all know it deep down, but we do not know where to start. Being told "You need a vacation" is a trigger for shutting down, and I can tell you firsthand that every time I heard it, I wanted to stomp on someone is foot!  However, we feel trapped in an endless cycle, with no time for anything else.  I get it. It is called survival mode for this reason. Our bodies instinctively continue to thrive because that is all they know how to do. Your body will continue to survive until it is no longer capable of living.  As a result, if you want to break the cycle, the only way to start is to give it what it requires to grow stronger. 

Consider this: imagine you have been stranded in the middle of the Grand Canyon for a week, but it feels like forever.  Your body has started the process of starving. Your survival instinct is to keep living, so your body thrives on muscle and fat until nothing remains (this is where eggshells come into play). So, this is the first step. First, you must be found (I hear you. I know how difficult this is for you. I totally get it. I am with you throughout your journey. Let us do it together. You are not alone. I know it is difficult to find someone who understands; let us talk about it.) You now have access to food. There is so much food to eat that you do not know where to start. You are so hungry, and you want to eat everything right now. You need to eat to begin your recovery, right? Your body cannot function properly without a food source and adequate hydration. However, if you eat all of the food in front of you, you will become very sick, which can be fatal. That is called refeeding syndrome. Your stomach has not processed food in so long that you must begin with small portions 6-8 times per day and only softer foods. That being said, your current mental health depends on you to take those very same baby steps to regain your health. You cannot skip the steps of recovery, but in order to help your child, you must first create that mental space for yourself.  

Saving our children consumes our lives to the point where it is all we know how to do. We continue to wake up every day and survive. We must find even the smallest ways to prioritize ourselves and accept it. This is how priority looks in my house this week, and I do not care! It is clean, my kids are happy, the house is calm (enough), and momma just needs a break from summer to catch up. Self-care is the ability to let go of the minor details that have a significant impact. Although not everything is beautiful, there is something beautiful in every day.

As time passes and you continue to create a space for yourself, you can begin to process those suppressed emotions. Stop putting everything aside and take the time to process and feel your deepest emotions. Anger, sadness, grievance, denial, and other emotions will run through your mind. You are allowed to have these emotions. It is a perfectly normal process.

To be honest, you cannot fully help your child if you are unable to help yourself.  Allow yourself time and space, whether it is a short walk, a moment to collect yourself, a bath, a page from a book you enjoy reading, a shower, or simply closing your eyes and breathing for a moment to give yourself that mental break. This week, I washed the laundry but did not separate or put it away. There it is in the baskets, and it will most likely not be put away until the next round of laundry day. What can you drop in your busy day to give yourself just a little bit of time and energy to work on your mind space? You can not change what is happening with your child right now, but you can change your mental state. You can only control one thing in life: yourself.   Allow yourself to be a priority, and tackle the less important tasks when you have more time. I know firsthand, how overwhelming our to-do lists are. You deserve it more, believe me.