In my practice I have counselled women who have become the business managers for their self-employed partners. They now find themselves juggling many roles – wife/partner, mother, daughter, friend, office manager, bill collector, secretary. They tell me it is exhausting that they find they have no time for themselves and aren’t sure who they are anymore. They have put aside their own personal hopes and dreams to support their partner in their business. They feel like they have lost their identity. Giving up their work life equals a loss of social interaction. Some describe it as surrendering their life to put their husband’s business interests first.
There is grief to work through. There is also a need to be mindful of self-care. When women are juggling lots of things, our own needs can often be the first thing that we ignore. We become irritable, tired and stressed. Looking after your emotional and physical well-being has a flow-on effect to the rest of the family.
I came across a website that ties in with my experience of counselling women married to tradies. Tradie Wives is an organisation which has grown from this learned experience, to share ideas, questions and frustrations in a business specific to the trade industry. Created almost two years ago, their facebook group is climbing to 8,000 members which is significant in such a short time frame, revealing a growing need.
So here are some ideas to manage care for yourself.
- Exercise, even for just a short time, clears the head (and helps our sanity!) Walking, swimming, tai chi (I will discuss the benefits of tai chi in a future blog). Even dancing around the house has proven fun benefits – watch out, though, as the family may want to join in.
- Reading or listening to your favourite music or podcasts.
- Healthy Eating. Now I’m going to be honest here. I try to eat fruit and veggies each day, but I have a definite weakness for chocolate cake and mango smoothies. It’s okay to have the occasional sweet. It’s when the sweet food replaces a healthier option on a regular basis that it can have effects on your health. If you find it hard to eat right, let me help you work out why.
- Sleep is crucial to help us function daily. Research has shown that sleep improves our mood, lessens stress, boosts our memory and contributes to a healthier you. I know it’s easy to say “Get more sleep” but much harder to do. Thoughts about work creep in during the quiet times at night; wanting me-time after the kids are in bed; children waking at night; yes, the endless list of things that keep us awake. You might need some professional help, starting with your GP, or you might just need help in planning your day so you can find more time for sleep or some me-time. That’s where I could help you.
Whether you are married or not, have children or not, if this blog article resonates with you, contact me and let us work out some strategies together.
Janice Williams is a qualified therapist for women with 20 years experience. Janice will help you with the challenges of motherhood, parenting, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, and other life struggles to help you achieve increased wellbeing, improve self-confidence and create meaningful change.
Janice offers online and phone counselling across Australia. Online and email counselling is available worldwide.
Janice also offers Cuppa & Café Counselling, a therapeutic chat over a cuppa.