by Bridget Brocklebank, Holistic Wellness Coach
Originally published in The Huffington Post: The Epidemic Amongst Modern Mums
There's something happening amongst modern mums and it's affecting their health, their children and their husbands. We try to be all things to all people at all times and this can have dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Motherhood is the biggest challenge we face, and we want to give everything of ourselves in this role. We want to love and nurture in the best possible way we know how. So there's no mistaking that our drive comes from a good place, a place of both love and devotion.
However, the result can show up as: burnout, a sense of feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, depression, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, and much much more. But the reality is we can't be of service from this place.
We feel like we can't cope, we wish there were more hours in the day, we get that anxiety at the pit of our stomach when our thoughts return to our overwhelming to-do-list.
We forget things, we shout at our children, we shout at our husbands, then we punish ourselves for our actions.
We warm up with coffee, we cool down with wine, and we starve ourselves of nutrients when making compromises in our diet.
We don't show our feelings, we don't talk to our nearest and dearest to say what's really going on, we bottle it all up - then we wake up, and repeat this cycle over and over again.
Do you want to know the biggest problem of all? We forget who we truly are, it destroys our greatness, and it dulls our sparkle.
When we live like this, we raise our cortisol levels to chaotic levels. Cortisol is our stress hormone, triggered by both physical and emotional stressors, and it's also the most dominant of all our hormones. When this is raised it sets off a whole host of imbalances within the body, as well as triggering many health issues women face today.
High cortisol levels can create a partial shutdown of our immune system, making us more vulnerable to threats of illness, it can cause intense hunger and insane cravings, and it can add stubborn fat to our abdomen.
In the first session with clients I often hear one of two things: "I'm trying to be healthy but I just keep getting sick and this is sabotaging my efforts" or "I'm eating well and exercising but I just can't lose weight." Then when they tell me about their daily habits and lifestyle, it soon transpires they're (unknowingly) creating a number of stress and hormonal imbalances within their body.
Stress is more than just reacting to a burning pot on the stove. Our perceptions create and often exaggerate stress. For example, if your husband across town is running late, the situation is out of your control, however, your reaction can be more detrimental to your health than you think. (This is why the world's going mad for mindfulness - we can only control what's happening in our present moment.)
So, stop sacrificing your health. Yes, your role as a mother and wife is important, but so are you.
Surrender, ask for help, prioritise and compartmentalise your to-do-list, take time out just for you, do whatever you have to do, because it's time to slow down.
It's time to start putting yourself first - because you and your family deserve the best version of you!