“Self care” is kind of a tricky subject for me. Maybe because it’s such an on-trend concept these days and everybody’s talking about it. It makes me crazy when I see recommendations of “get enough sleep” and “exercise” paraded around as elements of self care. Those things are actually basic necessities of life. They’re non-negotiable. Sleeping, eating, movement, are all things I would drop dead without. To me those things don’t constitute self care. They constitute survival. To me, practicing self care is totally essential but also optional. Here are my recommendations for ways to easily incorporate a little self care into your already jam-packed schedule. Because self care is the sanity saver portion of motherhood. And none of my suggestions involve getting more sleep.
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Self care is essential because you can’t drive on an empty tank. If we don’t find a way to do the things that feed our soul or lift our spirits then we very well may get lost in the struggles of Motherhood.
If our cup is empty, we won’t be able to pour into our families. It’s that simple and that hard.
Self care doesn’t need to be complicated, time consuming or costly.
So here are some ideas for reasonable and manageable ways to add a little self care to your busy routine.
1. Challenge Your Brain
Diapers, laundry, lunches, repeat. This is your brain on Motherhood.
From time to time you need do something that will challenge you a little. Shake the cobwebs out of your head. Remind yourself that you are capable of deeper thinking than just weighing the pros and cons of different brands of baby wipes.
Take 10 minutes to work on a crossword puzzle, sudoko or a game of chess.
I was the bookkeeper at my church for a while and that really helped to turn off the mom-brain for a short while and challenge the math-brain I didn’t know I still had!
2. Dessert for Dinner
Life is short, eat dessert first.
One night I was making an apple crisp to have after our dinner. But by the time it was ready, I really didn’t feel like cooking dinner too. So we just ate the whole apple crisp! Needless to say, the kids loved it!
But it was about more than just treating myself to a sweet meal.
It reminded me that I don’t need to be so rigid all the time. Letting loose and having fun is how lasting memories are made. Every now and again my oldest son will grin and say “remember that time we had apple crisp for dinner?!” I love it.
I gave myself permission to be relaxed, to break the rules. And it felt good. And tasted delicious.
3. Hot Beverage
Mainly this is a way to stop from drowning your sorrows in a pan of brownies. (Which I may or may not have done on several occasions.) You deserve a healthier way to regain some energy and help you relax. Bring on the hot beverages!
Once in a while it’s ok to drink your coffee before it gets cold. I can’t tell you how many times that first gulp of hot tea has revived me from a difficult morning. Lukewarm tea just doesn’t have the same effect. So hide in the closet if you have to, but make sure you get at least 2 sips of something hot.
I’ve recently switched to herbal tea in the evenings to help me relax and I’ve found that the selection at my local grocery stores is just terrible! Instead I’ve found Simple Loose Tea. Every month you get to try something new, and you didn’t need to spend 20 minutes standing in the tea aisle trying to pick something palatable. Win and win.
4. Girl’s Night
Try to regularly get together with a couple of your Mom friends, and don’t bring your kids! Grown-ups only.
I meet up on most Thursdays with 2 dear friends and it makes a world of difference to my mood. To get a chance to be seen and heard by other people who truly understand your experiences is so incredibly important. You will feel much less burdened by your struggles if you can share them with other moms. Trust me on this and make it happen.
5. Treat Yourself
You work hard, you deserve something pretty! But do you have time or energy to shop for yourself? Nope, not a chance. I get it. Plus it’s so hard to justify spending the money on ourselves, amirite?
But I found a jewellery subscription that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s called Penny + Grace. Every month I get a selection of 3 delicate jewellery pieces that can be layered or worn alone. They are so dainty and pretty and I really feel special wearing them!
Also, they have free shipping to Canada (and the US) which is totally unheard of! I think science has proven that it’s literally impossible to say no to free shipping. Plus the subscription itself is SUPER affordable!
Subscriptions are a no-brainer because you set it and forget it. Then you get a lovely surprise every month to perk your wilting spirits!
At any rate, give yourself permission to have a treat from time to time. You work so hard making sure your kids have everything they could possibly need, I know it’s all too easy to neglect yourself.
Life is short, buy the shoes. Or the really cute watermelon earrings!
6. Get Outside
Go for a quick walk to clear your head. Breathe deep. Relish the few moments that no one is grabbing at you or demanding something of you.
Just go around the block once, or ten times if you can. The fresh air will do wonders for your overwhelmed self.
7. Revive a Hobby
What is something you used to love doing but don’t seem to have the time for since the kiddos were born? Find a way to bring that hobby back into your life. Your interests are one of the things that makes you, you! Try not to lose that aspect of yourself.
You could keep all of your materials in a container with a lid that can be easily hidden away from the children. That way you’ll have everything you need in one place that you can bring out for a few moments in the evening.
Reading can take you out of yourself. It will transport you to another world where there’s no laundry or dirty dishes. It will remind you that there is a world outside of your house. But who has the time for such a luxury?
I used to love reading. Then life happened and reading just didn’t have a place anymore. Till I discovered audiobooks. I LOVE audiobooks. I’ve listened to more books in the past year than I had read in maybe the past 10 years.
I like to listen to a book when I go for a walk or am exercising. I listen while I sew, instead of music. I’ll even listen in the car if I’m alone. It keeps my brain from overloading on all the other things.
I can’t recommend it enough. And when you find a book with a great narrator it makes the experience even better! The narrator for the Harry Potter books is amazing, he does all the voices. And I just listened to Room which is narrated by a child and is totally heart-wrenching and incredible!
I borrow my audiobooks for free from my local library through an app on my phone called Overdrive.
Sometimes there’s a wait list for certain books. If that doesn’t suit you, you could always try Audible instead.
9. Alone Time
Sometimes when my husband gets home from work I just need to go up to my room and close the door for a few minutes to block it all out. Again with the deep breaths.
I tend to get ‘touched out’ and I just need physical space from everyone. Does that happen to you? Try to get a moment where you can be totally alone and give yourself a little pep talk.
That’s my top 9 list! These are the ways I keep myself sane. What would you add to the list?