in depth


Running on Full

Mama Needs Nurturing

Women by nature are givers, inherently designed to be mothers, whether it be mothering a business, household, garden, community, or our children. As a woman, you are creative and nurturing – often to the point of personal depletion. Taking time for personal care is an important discipline that is ultimately a gift for those you serve. When mama's pot is full of honey, everybody enjoys the sweetness.

When I'm not taking care of myself, my whole family feels it. Running on empty isn't just hard on me, it actually thwarts my efforts and makes me less effective and generous. I witness this cycle when I start cutting short my meditation time or if I work late when I really need to sleep. If I'm too busy to cover my own bases, then soon I'm feeling depleted and overburdened and what I give is not only less useful, it is less heartfelt. I also consider the example I am setting for my daughters. When I am not kind enough to myself to cover my own needs, then I am teaching that habit to them as well. If sometimes it’s hard to do it for myself, I am reminded that the impact goes beyond me.

Taking time to nurture yourself is not a luxury; self-care is vital to allow you to effectively serve and give. Self-care can be as simple as taking half an hour each day to be alone in meditation or spiritual practice, journaling or just relaxing in a bath. Nurture your body by eating nutritious food and getting exercise, even when you think you don't have the time. Many women find renewal in connecting with other women and having close friends to talk to. These may seem like small things but self-nurturing is the basis for so many bigger endeavors. Even though you might find it difficult to make room for personal time when life is busy and demanding, it is good to remember that when you feel good about yourself, you come from a state of fullness. That's when the heart opens and love flows.

Kewal K. Khalsa
Writer, Yoga Teacher & Birth Doula

Recommended: Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women and Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself As Effectively As You Care for Everyone Else


Anonymous commented on 23-Aug-2010 10:55 PM5 out of 5 stars

Thank you for this - we so often forget the kindness to ourselves.

The PranaMama commented on 24-Aug-2010 02:33 PM3 out of 5 stars

I couldn't agree more - the need for mothers to take care of themselves is what inspired me to start my web site, The PranaMama. We all need to nurture ourselves in order to be better caregivers. It's extremely difficult to prioritize ourselves. What tips do you have for squeezing in a little bit of "me" time?

Kewal commented on 25-Aug-2010 09:07 PM5 out of 5 stars

Thank you so much for these comments. Great website, Pranamama! Finding "me" time is a continual process, something I continue to learn about every day. Lately I put things on my calendar as an appointment rather than just hoping I get time (because I won't get time.) Also I do things like buy groupons for myself so that I've already spent the money and have to use the service by a certain date. I think another important piece is community and friendship - a tribe we can call on when we need help. For some, extended family fills that need. But with people being so spread out these days, the village idea is something we have to cultivate so that we have support (and maybe even sometimes, a break!) I'd love to hear ideas from others!

Karen commented on 22-Apr-2011 12:04 AM5 out of 5 stars

EVERY time someone reminds me that there is a massive difference between discovering how to nourish myself and being selfish, I appreciate it deeply. I'm not a mother of children, but by constantly blocking my creativity and expressions of my Self over
many years because I thought it was frivolous, selfish, and somehow not responsible of me to do that, I've put myself in a position of working from depletion. Over the past year, I've been slowly working on understanding the concept of coming from a place
of abundance. A big stumbling block for many of us is, I believe, lack of social support, and lack of familial support in particular. The most loving people in our lives are often also trapped in the same loop and unconsciously try to subvert our attempts
and get us back into the box with them. It's not deliberate, it's just operating from a different set of assumptions, bless them. Spreading information on the need to have our own inner abundance to fuel ourselves, and not running on fumes, is SO vital. Thank
you for putting this out there.

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