Mental health has always been an important part of my life. As a kid, I struggled with severe migraines and learned meditation as a coping skill. I also went through significant childhood trauma and grew up in a family that struggled with alcohol addiction. I have been around family counseling and therapy for as long as I can remember. As an adult, having time set aside to process and check in with my own mental health has given me the tools to be able to cope with day-to-day stressors, and to accept and understand my emotions and what they are telling me — with the added benefit of being able to help my young kids process their big emotions, too.
It took me a long time to figure out how to make space for myself. As a mom of young kids, I’m used to marathon days, putting in a full day at work, and then a full day at home. My idea of self-care used to be just my head hitting the pillow sometime before midnight!
My definition of self-care is now whatever little pockets of joy I can fit into the day. Walking my son to school every morning, popping out into the yard at lunch to pull weeds or water my garden. Getting out for a run after a stressful day. Turning off the TV or social media in favor of a real book. My manager has been hugely supportive when I’ve had to reset my work/life balance, like when I was struggling to return to work at the client site after maternity leave, or when we had COVID go through our house just recently.