Something that has been coming up a lot in conversation is around self care. It is amazing to me how many women have so much guilt wrapped around the idea. The amount of women that tell me they don’t have the time, or the resources, to have some time dedicated for themselves honestly breaks my heart.
Look, I am not saying that self care equals spa days, day trips or nights away from your family. Who has time for that? Not me!
When I think about self care, I think about uninterrupted time to not be needed for an hour, maybe two by anyone else. I think about it more of doing something that I want to do, instead of meeting the high demands and needs of everyone else in my life.
As I continue my own work around self care, I started thinking about ways that I try to focus on my own. I came up with my favorites and wanted to share them with you.
- Working out. My health in general has been a journey that I have been working on for a couple of years now. More recently though, I have taken to riding on a stationary bike at home. This has been amazing for me as my schedule can be crazy with three kids, a husband that also works crazy hours at times and my own full time job outside of the home. Riding a bike is a GREAT workout and allows me to multitask by listening to podcasts or catching up on an episode of one of my favorite shows!
- Seeing a counselor. I have a counselor and I am proud to share it. I have been seeing counselors for years. I have found that it has honestly helped me with the noise in my head about a lot of different things. I recently wrote a whole post about it that you can find by clicking here!
- Taking a bath or shower, with NO interruptions. This might seem silly, but sometimes when I know I have a crazy day that won’t really give me the time that I may be in need of, I take an extra long shower or even a bath. I play my music and I stay in a little bit longer.I typically wait for the kids to be in bed so I am not interrupted by the little knocks on the door. Sometimes just having warm water hit me and letting my mind pause for a couple of minutes can really reset you!
- Grocery shopping (or shopping in general), by myself. Again, maybe another silly one, but it’s a totally different experience when you can enter the store by yourself, without a time restraint. Or without someone pulling at you, or putting things in your cart to make your already high grocery bill even higher. I just did this recently with a cup of hot coffee and all the time in the world. It was true bliss. It’s the little things, really, it is.
- Sitting outside. Over the summer I found that Sunday night, after dinner was made and the littles were tucked away for the night, I would head outside on my front steps with a cup of tea (or sometimes a beer) and just sit and be still. It was so relaxing to reflect on the week, or weekend and get my head in the game for the upcoming week. I always felt ready to take the next week on!
- Read. I love to read. Recently I have been enjoying more personal development books via paperback so I can take notes in them. I do more fictional stories in my car during my commute thanks to the Libby app that it is connected to my local library. I am able to download a ton of books for free right to my phone, then use Bluetooth to listen to them in my car. Reading is a great way to disappear into a great book and not have the worries of the world pulling you down.
- Taking a break from social media. You might think this is crazy, but it’s true. Sometimes you really just need to disconnect all together in order to have some self care. I never felt more calm in my life then when I took a 30 day social media break. I wrote about that experience on my blog earlier this year. You can check it out by clicking here.
- Go to bed early. I am a big believer in sleep. If you are not getting good sleep, then you are not allowing your body to heal and build up the energy it needs in order to keep up with your busy life. I actually have an alarm clock on my cell phone that goes off at 9PM every night (yes, even weekends). The goal is that when it goes off I am starting the process to get myself to bed. I am in bed reading, then asleep by 9:30 PM every night. Sometimes I am ready to get to bed before this time and I listen to my body and head to bed. I get up at 4:45 AM every day (yes, again, even weekends), so getting enough sleep really helps me to keep the momentum going in order to get it all done in a day!
- Take a day off by yourself. I know, some will cringe at this one, but I actually did it a couple of times this year and it was great. To be honest, I took a week off without my family and stayed home and really focused on myself. I know a lot of people might have judged me, and that’s okay. I will note that I dropped my littles off later to camp and picked them up earlier, but that time to focus on myself was really important. It was like a recharge that helped get me through the rest of the year.
- Journaling, meditating, cooking, whatever makes your heart happy. At the end of the day, what is really important is that you are doing things that make your heart happy. For me, this list of items above do just that.
My life is very busy and full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But that doesn’t mean that I do not deserve some time to myself to recharge. Like I said from the beginning, it doesn’t mean that you are getting weekly massages, pedicures, manicures or facials, it just means that you are taking a pause and focusing on yourself.
I heard a description of self care that really resonated with me. Picture yourself as a glass vase. All the love, attention, self care, all this good stuff you put into yourself is the water that is pouring into the vase. Picture that vase filling up to the top. You’re standing tall, accepting it all in, feeling full, vibrant, happy. You are filling it up so much that it is starting to spill over, the water is overflowing, pouring into the smaller vases around you (those smaller vases are those that you care for). Now what if you focused on everyone else and not yourself? What would that look like? It would be water pouring into the vase (you), and you spilling over trying to get the water into everyone else’s vases, never fully filling up and taking care of yourself first. It wouldn’t work that way. Someday, you’d just fall right over.
In order to show up in your life, you have to take care of yourself. It’s like the “Oxygen mask theory”. You have to take care of yourself first, before you can take care of anyone else. We cannot teach our kids about self care and self love if we don’t model it for them. Put your kids in daycare and take off a random day for yourself. Binge watch This Is Us or Big Little Lies while no one is home to take the remote away from you. Seek therapy, not because something is wrong, but because you need new tools in your tool kit.
Self care is giving the world the very BEST of you, instead of what is left of you. Take care of yourself. You deserve it. Do it for YOU.
Continue your journey to be the best version of YOU, unapologetically.