What is self-care? How do I fit it in? What do you do for self-care? Do I really need it?
Let's start off with the last thought. Do I really need it? Yes, yes you do. A little something everyday can go a long way in helping our moods, energy, relationships, parenting, families and more. We are raising kiddos. The younger they are, the more dependent on you they are. We are always on the clock, even when we sleep at night. If we consistently give and give taking care of everyone and everything around us (but ourselves) we drain ourselves and our reserves. And yet, even when we do this, we still keep going.
At some point we get so mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. You can not fill others around you if you aren't filled. Take the time often to refill yourself, so that you can continue to fill those around you.
So, what is self-care? Anything that fills you and your reserves up. Anything that makes you happy and joyful. Anything that makes you feel rested. Anything that helps you feel calm and peace. It can be simple or extravagant. It makes you smile and laugh. It can take five minutes, it can take several days. It can be free or not.
What things fill you? Reading, devotionals, journal, being creative, hobbies, grabbing a coffee, working out, getting a pedicure, getting your hair done, sitting by the water, taking a nap, going for a walk, going for a drive, spending time with family or friends. What things fill you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Those are the things that you need to do often.
How do I fit it in? Does it count if it still involves family or being with the kiddos? Yes, it still counts. Though, for everyone's sake, take some self-care time that is just you (it can help everyone out a lot in the long run). Fitting it in will depend on what the activity is and how much time you need. Obviously, somethings take a little more planning and time. But, what is something you can do for five or ten minutes everyday?
I have chalked up having a specialty coffee on our way to a play date or activity as a moment of self-care. Even though the kids are with me, it still refills me. Even working out is something that I try to do most days and find that it too refills me. A lot of it is perspective on it. Also, while it may work for another mom you know, it may not work for you. You have to find what is right for you.
Once I changed my perspective of what self-care was and how to fit in, even just five minutes a day, I began to understand the importance of it. Yes, sometimes the laundry sits in the dryer an extra day or never even makes it to the closet. No, my house isn't spotless most of the time. But little by little those things do get done and I can still keep myself filled or at least not tapping into my reserves as often.
The hardest part I have found about self-care is not feeling guilty about taking the time for it. It is so hard to not let this get to you sometimes. I find this to surface most often when I am truly out on my own. It's about giving yourself permission. Give yourself the permission to set aside everything else and take care of you. It's a tough thing. Sarah Wehkamp over at Parents Who (www.parentswho.com) has a series of podcast episodes dealing with permission. She breaks it down, let's you take it in, is open and honest, totally real about it all. You can listen to the first in the series of podcasts on permission here: http://www.parentswho.com/pwp39/
Take a listen to get started, but stick around and look into the rest of Parents Who. I highly recommend listening in on all things family, parenting, marriage and life. There is so much there that one can relate too.
Even after giving yourself permission, the guilt still comes and goes. But, each time it gets a little easier and the guilt a little less.
Take care of yourself. You need it, you deserve. Those around you need it too.
If you don't know where to start for ideas, check out the Self Care section. It has a list of ideas. Some of them are what I do and some are ideas I have gotten from other moms. If you have ideas to add, share them in the comments or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your ideas and I will add them to the list.
How do you take care of yourself?