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Enough Hands: Simple Self-care Exercises For Busy Moms & Dads

Baby and adult holding hands

Feeling agitated, angry, and frustrated are normal human emotions. Healthy individuals feel difficult emotions when they occur. Their body and mind awareness then enables them to consciously choose how to respond to life's events instead of reacting and most importantly overreacting.

Meet Judy, a young woman who derives her sense of self by being a super powered mom. As she frantically gets dinner ready, the green kitchen walls seem to close in on her. Katie is whining and pulling Cassandra's hair while the newborn infant cries and wants to be held. Looking at her own hands, she wonders how many she needs to properly take care of everyone else. Easy answer. More hands than she's got.

Because her husband arrives home late, they have started eating. As he brushes the smashed, errant cheerios off of his chair, Judy places a hot baked potato on his plate. He casually states, "No potato for me tonight." Her mind explodes. Her mouth follows. With no warning, she unleashes her pent up, charged frustrations. Yelling at him uncontrollably, her tears stain her worn out t-shirt.

What happened? Simply put Judy's inability to release her emotions as she experiences them is the cause of her outburst. When we are unaware of our feelings and thoughts, they actually get stored in our physical bodies. The energy then builds up to the point that it has to come out. Just like a tea kettle. When the pressure inside gets hot enough, the steamy air whistles indicating it's ready. Well, we can get too hot when anger, frustration, and disappointments are kept inside. Unfortunately we don't whistle. We blow up and hurt ourselves and the ones we love.

The solution. Judy needs to start taking care of her own needs. Understandably, it is difficult for a young mother of three to take time for herself on a regular basis. Yet it is crucial for Judy's health and her family's well-being.

Caring for ourselves means nurturing our mind, body, and being. Mental Health America offers ten proven tools for maintaining your mental health. Meditative Movements, a new exercise technique, incorporates three of them. Stay positive, get physically active and take care of your spirit. Healthy living means you are able to cope with everyday stressors and hassles with a calm confidence. By practicing Meditative Movements, Judy became aware of her physical body and her mental/emotional messages. Once she was in touch and aware of herself, she was able to consciously move through her life making healthier choices. Her family was grateful.

Most of us have learned to deny and perhaps even fear our emotions instead of embracing them. If this sounds like you, take the time to learn about yourself and your abilities. You have the capability to let any emotion flow through your mind/body without reacting to it. This is not the same as being unaware of what you're experiencing or burying feelings because they are painful. It is consciously making a decision to refrain from action until the strong emotion passes. The idea is that you will be better equipped to communicate what's going on when the intense emotion passes. If you deny that you're feeling a certain way, you will suffer. Being willing to accept what you are feeling is an important first step.

It's easier to be in tune with our behavior than our emotions because we can see our actions. Then consciously or unconsciously we judge and blame ourselves, someone or something outside ourselves to feel better. We need to start exploring ourselves in loving, nonjudgmental ways. Then our ingrained, self-defeating habits can change.

Releasing your thoughts and feelings while moving your body frees you up. You can begin to accept yourself in the moment. Unfortunately, many people are in the habit of numbing their feelings and thoughts by drinking too much, overeating, smoking and staying eternally busy.

Here are three ways to integrate the "I Choose" Meditative Movements into your busy, daily self-care routine. This movement which was part of our Loving Yourself 21 Day Challenge affirms that you do have the power of choice. You need to exercise it in healthy ways. If you don't have alone time to practice, include your children in the movements. Yes any age can perform them. See how they respond to the affirming exercises.

  1. After getting out of bed, do the movement three times.
  2. As the coffee or tea is brewing, practice the movement.
  3. Before you connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, practice the movement.

As you move throughout your day, take notice of the choices you make. Are you living on automatic and having habitual thoughts run your life?

Recently I took care of my three grandchildren for two days when their parents attended a wedding. Yes it requires a lot of energy to care for them.

It is staggering to think of all the things parents do for their children every day. If you are caring for children, thank you for all you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I applaud you for all of the effort and love you give to the child. Know that you are appreciated for loving and caring for them.

It is also important that you realize that you do have the perfect number of hands. Perhaps you need to raise yours and ask for help as you embrace your own self-care routines.

Affirm Yourself, Move Your Body, Enjoy Your Life