Self care. We are all told how important it is. “You can’t care for someone else if you don’t first care for yourself,” is the mantra. But what exactly does self care mean? Google the phrase and you’ll find all kinds of pipe dreams like, “schedule a pedicure,” or “get a massage.” I mean, really, who has the ability to take time out for that, let alone the funds to pay for it? Why does self care always sound like a spa day? Is that what it takes to make sure mom takes care of herself?
No. That’s not what it takes. Self care doesn’t have to be about indulgence. Self care is about doing something deliberately to protect your physical, mental, or spiritual health. Sure, getting a massage counts, but so do lots of other things:
- Breathe: Stop, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Ignore the screams of kids that swear they are starving to death. Block out the latest text message. Imagine the breath pushing your shoulders down below your ears, where they belong. Take 45 seconds and just breathe.
- Take a walk: Put the dog on a leash and walk him around the block. If you’ve got more time and someone to watch the kids, head to the closest open space and take a hike. The exercise is good for your muscles and lungs, and getting out in the fresh air can clear your head as you take in sights and sounds of nature.
- Read a book: Grab a book you’ve always wanted to read and keep it close at hand. Even if you only have five minutes at a time, read. Read while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. Read after the dishes are done. Read a few pages over your morning coffee. Eventually you’ll finish it, one stolen moment at a time.
- Color: Adult coloring books are everywhere. They come in all kinds of themes from flowers and butterflies to travel destinations to swear words. Steal some colored pencils from your kids, put them in a plastic baggie and shove them and your coloring book in your purse. It’s easy to lose yourself while coloring, no matter where you sit and do it.
- Say no: It’s the hardest one to do, but definitely the most important. You’ve got a lot on your plate. Being everything to everyone doesn’t have to be one of them. You can say no to organizing the neighborhood block party. You can say no to hemming your niece’s homecoming dress. You can say no to being snack mom for the soccer team, again. Boundaries are important. You are entitled to set some.
See? It’s easy. It only takes minutes. There are a thousand more ideas like this. What do you do to create self-care moments for yourself? What works and what doesn’t? Share your ideas in the comments, please!