Zoe Tolman: When did we stop listening to our own needs?

We all started life as a baby and we were very good back then at looking after our needs – we had to be to ensure we survived – as we were fully dependent on others to meet those needs.

As soon as we became hungry, thirsty, tired, windy, uncomfortable or when we needed a cuddle we cried to let people know. Because that was our way of telling our parents, or those who looked after us, what we needed.

Fast forward to now when we are fully grown adults… when often we ignore our needs.

  • We go a whole day without drinking enough water.
  • We go days without eating nourishing healthy food.
  • We go hours without listening to our bladders and stopping for a wee.
  • We go weeks without doing exercise.

We go go go until we can’t go anymore and then we are forced to stop. Like a car without fuel we break down. We are forced to rest and recover.

I see it all around me – exhausted parents who haven’t had enough sleep, chain drinking coffee to get through the day and living on takeaways because they are too tired to cook.

At what point during our lives did we learn to stop listening to our needs?

When did life become too busy that we stopped making time to prioritise our own health?

When we become a parent it is very easy to stop listening to our bodies, to stop making our needs a priority. We get caught up in a daily treadmill of nappies, feeding and chores. But ignoring our own needs is totally counter productive and will actually slow us down and make us ill.

We have to make our physical and emotional wellbeing an absolute priority and meet our own needs before we can meet the needs of others.

This isn’t just about balance or ‘re-filling your cup’ it is about OVERFILLING it so that you have enough pouring out to serve others.

Hubby and I have been feeling pretty burnt out lately and recognised that we needed some cup filling. So last weekend we decided to have some time out to unplug & recharge. We threw some essentials in a bag (packing for the whole family in a RECORD 30 minutes), booked a hotel 2 hours away with a swimming pool and we took the kids on a mini break.

We talked on the way there while our babies were sleeping in the car – actual REAL conversation not just about dinner, nappies, work and how tired we are.

We swam, we walked, we ate good food and we switched off our phones and enjoyed family time being present with our children. It was perfect and we came back feeling totally refreshed.

It has highlighted to us that we need to make this a regular thing. Regular time out to just completely replenish.

How often do you find yourself ignoring your needs?

What can you do to create some time & space regularly to recharge?

Zoe Tolman, Founder of The Mother Side

For more from Zoe, here's her page: www.facebook.com/themotherside.org

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Dawn Jackson

I'm Dawn Jackson, Editor of Rehab for Mums Magazine and Holistic Therapist based in Thelwall, South Warrington. My mission is to bring together women to support other women to feel their best in body AND mind.