Lately I have heard so much buzz about “Self Care.” I’m not sure that I ever realized the true importance of self care until I became a mom. Now, of course there are SO many other’s who would benefit from some self care practices, but personally, I never truly understood the impact that self care had on my life until this phase.
Prior to having kids, it was no big deal for me to go get my nails done, run to TJ Maxx (ya know, just to browse), or to get a massage.
I was soooo busy, but not that busy, you know what I mean? Well, maybe I didn’t understand what “busy” could look like for others. These days, I still feel sooo busy, and honestly self care is tough to fit in. My ideas of self care have changed (just slightly) but the need for it has grown immensely. It wasn’t long after having the twins and returning to work that I felt just plain burnt out. I was giving every ounce of me to everyone else, I really had nothing left for myself at the end of the day.
You can read more about the benefits of self care here.
All of this manifested, and ultimately brought me to a cross road. I had to either continue giving less than 100% to everyone while taking none for myself, or take a little time to “fill my cup” so that I could pour more into others. How are you able to pour from an empty cup? You can’t, I promise you. You have to fill it up, in order to pour out for others. So, I decided that I had to make a couple changes. I had to find ways that I could take care of myself that fit into our new lifestyle. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to go to the salon or browse at TJ Maxx much anymore, but I have found ways to care for myself even in this new-ish phase of life.
Self Care is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as follows: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
I think some hear “Self Care” and think it is just frills, and girl days at the spa. In reality, true self care is so much more than that. No where does this definition direct itself toward a certain gender/age/role. I am a big believer that happiness is a choice. Obviously, there are disease states that can impede happiness (anxiety, depression, PTSD etc). However, for the most part, I believe that you are the biggest obstacle or propellant to your own happiness. If this is the case, the choice to make self care a priority is a huge step in the direction of happiness. Isn’t happiness a journey that we all want to be on?
Self care is also so very personal. What I do for self care is far different from what my husband does or my best friend does. That’s the beauty in it, its all about you. When chatting with a few girlfriends the other day it was so clear to me how each of our self care practices were so unique. Although we are great friends, when we are faced with the options we each choose different ways to fill our cups. Now, I think that I would benefit from their self care choices as well, but they just aren’t my current first choices.
How do we get there?
I suggest sitting and taking ten minutes to jot down something you really enjoy, or something that helps you relieve some stress and decompress. Now take that list and figure out what the most doable options are for you right now, in this current phase of your life. If you’re having trouble figuring this out- be open to making adjustments to make them work. For instance, you LOVE to travel and when you go on a vacation you come back feeling invigorated! In most cases you can’t just go on vacation whenever you want, but maybe you could plan an overnight away with your husband or girlfriends every few months or so? Just food for thought.
Self Care Ideas
Here is a list that is far from all inclusive, but it will give you a good place to start.
- Get your hair/nails done
- Go outside for a walk
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Dance it out in the kitchen
- Take a bubble bath
- Get a massage
- Go to bed reallllly early
- Sleep in
- Go shopping, or window shopping (a personal fav of mine)
- Do your makeup
- Have a date night
- Watch TV
- Play/snuggle with your pet
- Curl up in front of the fire with a glass of wine
- Get coffee with your best friend
- Call your mom
- Take an overnight away
- Therapy (yes! therapy!)
- Write creatively
- Clean (some find this therapeutic)
- Paint / craft
This list could go on and on. Now, you have your list of your preferred self care choices, but how do we execute them? Well, this is when we have to get scrappy. Arrange this list in things that take 10 minutes, 30 minutes, a couple hours, a couple days.
Next, look at your week- your work schedule, children’s schedule, after work commitments, and weekend plans. Where can you find a couple 10 minute blocks of time to set aside? Can you wake up 10 minutes earlier? Can you use some of your lunch break to do a little self care? Where can you find a 30 minute block of time? I’ve had to get creative and use the boys nap times to help me fit some self care in. In one week you should be able to carve out a couple 10 minute blocks and at least one 30 minute block of time for you. Lastly, do you have an option for couple hour or day long block? This would be for something like a date night, weekend way, or spa visit. These blocks will definitely be harder to accomplish, but I still try to aim for 1-2 times monthly.
How do I do it?
When I realized that I needed to take some more time for me I had to figure out what it was that filled my cup the most. I really LOVE having nicely painted nails. I can’t afford salon prices right now and can’t really find an hour to go, so I do them myself at home with a gel kit that I’ve had for years. It takes me about 15 minutes. it lasts a week or so, and it makes me feel really good! As you may have guessed, writing is also very therapeutic for me. Not only do I love to write, but I love helping and connecting with people. I am so happy that I have been able to do so through my blog. I have a few amazing girlfriends that I try to get together with a couple times a month for a walk, or glass of wine while hanging in out comfy clothes. Lastly, I enjoy getting into bed early to read or scroll through social media. This is an easy one for me to find an extra 10 minutes for!
Related Post: Stand Up. Be Brave. Keep Going.
Hopefully this post has made you think about what you do to fill your cup, and how it’s affecting your life. I’d love to know how taking time for self care helps you lead a more fulfilled life! Please drop your favorite self care ideas in the comment box below, I’d love to hear!
Your Millennial [cared for] Mama,