What comes to mind when you hear the words “Self care”?
My first thoughts are massages, pedicures, shopping, weekends away… That all sounds great, and it also sounds expensive. It sounds like more precious time and money spent for a short reprieve. I’ve also believed that it’s overused and fluffy AF.
As we have all been told, stress that isn’t dealt with will start to affect our physical bodies. I do not know if I ever truly believed that before. In the past few months, though, I have been unable to ignore the physical symptoms of my stress that I’ve been carrying around. Specifically, my teeth grinding and jaw clenching have become so persistent that it’s causing terrible headaches. It’s now a common occurence for me to wake up in the morning drenched in my own sweat. Even with the AC cranked up, I am a sweaty mess in the mornings. My husband and I joke about hot flashes, but I don’t think this is normal at 31 years old.
I’m trying to look at self care differently – to resist writing it all off as over indulgent or lavish. Spa treatments and shopping are great- but I also need to stop believing the lie that spending money is going to make me happy.
I won’t complain if my husband comes home from work today and sends me away alone for a weekend to shop, watch TV, get a massage, and order room service. (Dear Husband, consider this my Christmas wishlist). But realistically, I need self care in my life everyday. So I’ve made a list of things I can start doing today to work towards taking better care of myself. Instead of giving “everyone else” my best, I want to start showing up as the best wife and mom to these people who have to live with me.
I used to use nap time for working on my small business because that’s the only time I could fit it in. Now none of my littles nap. I’ve attempted an afternoon quiet time ritual where no one bothers me for 30 minutes. I tell the little people to go outside or read a book. Honestly, if giving them an iPad is the only way I’ll get my 30 minutes, so be it.
When I don’t get my 30 minutes, I try to build in ways to enjoy my responsibilities for the day. For example, I diffuse my favorite oils in the kitchen and listen to an audiobook while I do dishes, clean the kitchen or fold laundry. This gives me life, you guys. Not to mention, my kids usually magically find something to do when they come across me in this state. Otherwise I put them to work and they are bored to tears over my book of choice.
The point is, let’s build it in. Find your breaks from the chaos wherever you can. I’ve started a list of free, daily self care ideas.
Learn to meditate
Read a book
Paint your nails
Go for a walk or run alone (my old gym in Minnesota let us leave our kids in their childcare and run outside as long as we had our phones on us. This absolutely saved my life as a stay at home mom. Find out if your gym does this.)
Get yourself a favorite beverage, like a favorite coffee. (I typically wait until after dinner to open the wine, but I won’t tell you how to live your best life.)
Drink some water
Listen to your favorite podcast
Lastly, (and this is my favorite one) Take. A. Nap.
My friend Michelle is a fitness coach who recently opened my eyes to one of the many reasons people fail at dieting. When we start a new diet, we try to add several new habits at once, (like drinking gallons of water everyday, exercising everyday, eating perfectly portioned “clean” meals everyday etc.) Michelle says that we have long term success when we slowly focus on just one habit at a time. I’m trying to apply this in my own life to self-care.
What ONE thing can you add in (or eliminate) every day to give yourself more margin and peace? Let me know in the comments below.