Self-care is such a loaded word for me. Taking care of myself? I mean, what does that even mean?! As a stay at home mom, I’m constantly taking care of my kids, helping them with school (thanks pandemic!), cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc. When is there time for myself? I’ve learned that you have to make time for yourself. You’ll always have an excuse if you don’t really put yourself at the top of the list. And believe me, it may feel weird or selfish at first, but it’s NOT AT ALL. If we as women, moms, sisters, grandmas, wives (whatever the case may be) don’t take time for ourselves, we’ll just continue to feel burnt out and that helps no one.
I’m no pro, but I’m beginning to realize what works for me. Maybe you already do some of these things, maybe you do none (you need to!). And don’t think of it as another thing on your to do list. I like to think of it as an appointment with my self. If you have to, calendar it in and stick to it!
1. Get a therapist
There is such a stigma attached to mental health so I think the more we are open and honest about our mental health struggles, the better it is for everyone. Having a therapist is one of the best things I’ve done. Gone are the days of needing to leave your home and sit in someone’s office for an hour (although that is still available). You can talk to someone from the comfort of your own home. There’s various platforms such as Betterhelp and Talkspace where you can either text, talk or video chat.
2. Write in a journal
I find it so relaxing and oftentimes helps me quiet my mind. I notice I journal more when I’m going through something because I can get it all out on paper. Anytime of day works, but for me, I like doing it in the evening before I go to bed.
3. Go to bed early
I know this is a hard one and something I don’t do often, but when I do, it is so worth it! Just the act of going up to bed early, even if I don’t go right to sleep, is so calming. At least once or twice a week, I head up to bed right after the kids go to bed (we’re talking 8:30pm folks!), turn on my lavender diffuser, hop into bed and read a book. It’s so nice and relaxing! I highly recommend it!
4. Binge a show
Binging isn’t for everyone but this pandemic had me like, I need something to watch that I can get sucked into. I picked Grey’s Anatomy because plenty of seasons (it’s currently in it’s 17th!) and I hadn’t watched it before. So for six months, I got sucked into the lives of Meredith Grey, McDreamy and all the characters I came to love (and maybe to hate). It was something I enjoyed and would look forward to each evening.
5. Take a bath (cliché as it is, it can be so relaxing)
We remodeled our master bathroom at the end of last year, so we now have this glorious spa like bathroom. It feels so nice to go soak in the tub with a glass of wine, some candles and a bath bomb.
6. Get together with friends
Since my best friends live in CA and WA, we have a weekly video chat we’ve been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a time we get to connect and just seeing each other’s faces makes me so happy. We’ve even done virtual happy hour. I highly recommend! After everything is over, we’ll definitely be planning a fun girls getaway together!
7. Go away (solo) for the weekend
I highly recommend this one if you can swing it. This last year, adjusting to the pandemic, virtual schooling for the kids, has been a lot for me. Throw in the fact that we lived in North Carolina for only 7 months before the pandemic hit, so not knowing many people and not having family (and not seeing family) has been very hard as well. Back before Christmas, I told Chris I wanted to do a staycation by myself. He seemed surprised but totally onboard with it. I needed a break and let me tell you, it was ah-mazing! I picked a hotel that was a little less than an hour away from us. I made sure they had room service because I didn’t want to have to leave property for food (if I didn’t want to). I’ve never done anything like that, but I will definitely be doing it again. I didn’t have to do anything for anyone else that entire weekend but me. It was wonderful and I came back home refreshed!
8. Have a FUN routine
Routines can be good and bad. We go into autopilot and for me, having a fun routine every week gives me something to look forward to. Every Wednesday, I take the kids to our local Starbucks drive-thru. Sometimes we do something fun along with it, but without fail, we go to Starbucks. They love getting their weekly chocolate croissant fix. I love it because I get to have my coffee (coffee is life). Think of something you can do weekly (or even daily). It doesn’t have to cost a thing either. Just make sure it involves something you love.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who hops out of bed in the morning and goes for a run. However, A., I don’t ever hop out of bed and B., I hate running. The key with exercise is to find something you love and stick with it. I love variety so to do the same thing everyday would be boring and also not very beneficial for my body. I love doing videos and am obsessed with the FitOn app. It’s free (they do have a premium version for a small fee) and there are tons of different videos to choose from. I’ve been trying to do these Monday thru Friday while also mixing it up with my exercise bike (old school, not a cool Peloton, but maybe some day). Plus, when we have nice days, the kids and I like to go on hikes and venture out to different parks as well. Exercise is so good for your mind, body and soul.
This is something I’ve been really trying to work on. I’ll be the first to admit I’m addicted to my phone. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have them. I’ll joke with my husband, what did we do before phones because most nights we’re both glued to ours. All the incessant scrolling, picture perfect Instagrams, etc. are not good and they’re not realistic at all. I’ve been trying to leave mine upstairs or just away from where I’m at more often now, but especially in the evenings when we’re all hanging out as a family. It’s so hard, but I do notice I’m more calm and relaxed on days that I haven’t been on my phone 24/7. If you can, I suggest, once a week (at minimum), unplugging. If you can’t for the whole day, maybe even set aside a time frame that you won’t be on it each day (sleeping doesn’t count!).
So there you have it! These are the 10 things that have helped me on my journey for self-care. I hope that at least one of these things resonates with you. It’s all about putting in the effort and making time for YOURSELF! Find something you love (big or small) and stick with it! I know it’s hard, but you can do it. YOU DESERVE THIS! Xoxo