Once upon a time there was a new mom with two very young kids. Every day was a struggle. Every movement was like wading through mud. A good day was being able to fully keep her eyes open. Quiet time consisted of 20 minutes on the computer while hoping her children take their naps. Time with her husband seemed more like a business meeting. Cooking home ade meals was a daunting task and running was more out of punishment than enjoyment. She desperately needed good, quality time to recharge.
This mom represents many of us. I write this from my own experience. It’s so hard to find time to ourselves and truly relax, especially when we have young children at home. But finding time for Self-Care is as essential as breathing. It took me a few years to truly understand that.
I used to think that self-care was all about spending money that I didn’t have. So on occasion, I would get a mani/pedi, or even a massage. And I would spend money that I didn’t have on $200 hair cuts which ended up looking just as nice when I went to a cheap walk-in.
Some of us can afford these luxuries. But for those of us who don’t have the finances, let’s start to think of self-care in a new light.
Self-care is literally, “taking care of self”. So think of all the many ways that you can take care of yourself. This could be physical, emotional or even spiritual. There are no specific rules.
When we take care of ourselves, we look to provide what our body needs. So self-care also requires a measure of intuition.
The foundation of self-care is taking a pause through out each day. The best time to do that, I believe, is in the morning. Ask yourself, “what does my body need today?” Embrace the silence and listen for the answer. It could be that what you need is different then what you had planned. Self-care does not run on a schedule. This is especially important for those of us with a chronic condition to remember. We may have the best of intentions but if we wake up in pain that morning, instead of going to an exercise class, we may decide instead to spend the day resting at home, sipping hot tea and journaling.
The next layer to self-care is to know that we deserve it. We are worthy of taking care of ourselves. The minute we start to tune in to what our body needs, we will get a voice inside that tries to convince us that we don’t need it. We live in such a fast paced society that we almost glorify being busy. So we can become conditioned to listening to that negative voice inside . We may feel overwhelmed and ignore the other, positive, voice that told us what we need to do to take care of our body. Recognize the voice of self-sabotage and know when to nip it in the bud.
Next, if our self-care revolves around a physical activity such as exercise or something such as meditation, reading, or journaling, it does help to schedule it in… but know that your plans may change and it’s okay. Give yourself grace.
If your self-care is more emotional such as focusing on your breath, or being intentional about speaking positive affirmations, then make notes to yourself. Write down those positive affirmations and put them in your purse or on your mirror. Write a simple note that says to Breathe.
Sometimes self-care requires huge sacrifices (which I have a hard time with!) such as limiting Facebook for a certain amount of time or not taking that second job even it means extra money. We have to honestly look at how our activities effect us in the long run and assess our priorities.
It also requires us to know who we are. For example, a perfect day for an introvert is relaxing at home, curled up with a book and not having to answer the phone (or at least doing this at night, if you work during the day). An ideal day for extroverts is getting outside of the house and spending time with friends. Extroverts do still need relaxing activities but they also need to balance that out with their social needs, which is also a form of self-care.
One last , practical way to take care of ourselves, is to get rid of clutter, even if it just means your thousands of emails! I have found that clutter in life can lead to overwhelm and consequently, self-sabotage. I know for me, when I de-clutter my inbox, or papers in my house, I feel a bit freer and open to exploring new ways to take care of myself.
I hope these ideas helped you. What is YOUR favorite self-care activity? Comment below!
And if interested, join my closed Facebook group called “21 Days Of Self Care”! We post our intentions every morning and it’s a fun way to keep each other accountable. Here is the link to the event page and then you will need to find the link to the closed group. Click HERE .
Certified Holistic Health Coach