Fall is in the air, the kids are back to school and routines are being re-established. I don’t even have kids old enough to be in school and I love how life just seems to go back to “normal” in September. Things just seems more routine, structured, less chaotic and I have more time for ME. Anyone else?
This is always such a great time to re-establish self care practices that seem to get forgotten during the summer. Everyone is so busy going here and there, travelling, camping and enjoying the sun that normal everyday things like regular self-care get forgotten about.
But what is self care really? When someone asks what you do for self-care, how do you respond?
Most people would give an answer like go for a walk, take a bath, read a book, watch a funny movie, get your nails did, or get a massage!
And those are all really great things to do – especially that last one!
Really, though, self care is the art of practicing self love. In talking to people who struggle to find the time for self care and upon digging deeper what we actually discover is that people struggle to find themselves worthy of taking time out for themselves. They feel guilty when they do.
Give that a minute to sink in.
As moms we give, give, and give some more. It’s so important to give back to ourselves in order to fill our cup as well as allowing ourselves to receive. Ever heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” Well, I’m here to remind you it’s true.
Do you ever feel guilty sitting in the tub thinking that you should be doing something else?
Do you struggle to go to a yoga class because that means your significant other will have to put the kids to bed?
Do you feel bad when you drop your kids off at the babysitter or dayhome because you want the afternoon to yourself but instead just feel like your kid will feel neglected?
Here’s the thing: when you make time for yourself you can show up more fully as a human, a mother, a partner, a sister, an employee, and the list goes on!
I get it. Sometimes the days get away on you when you’re dealing with babies, toddlers or older kids. But self-care doesn’t always require a ton of time.
Here are some self care tips that don’t involve a lot of time at all but rather a shift in your mindset to one that makes choices from a place of self love and honouring yourself.
Saying no and having boundaries.
Don’t say yes to All. The. Things. Only say yes when you really mean it and when you want to do that Thing. Don’t overcommit and maybe you will have time to do some yoga in your living room or get out to that class! Being a people pleaser doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Do you. Have boundaries on what you can and can’t do and stick with them.
Take some time away from your phone.
Set your phone to vibrate. Answer it only when you want to. That’s why they invented voicemail. Take breaks from Social Media. I always have my notifications turned off and I check in when I want to. Don’t be a slave to your phone! Be present with the ones you love and disconnect from your phone.
Watch your thoughts.
This means being aware of your inner critic. We all have one. No one is perfect. But the difference lies in whether or not we allow that voice to rule our lives. Tell it to take a hike and replace that thought with something kind. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your child. Yeah. Let that sink in. You definitely wouldn’t say that nasty thought to your child.
Delegate and ask for what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner to throw in the laundry or cook dinner. Got company coming for dinner and need that last ingredient? Ask them to pick it up. I’m sure they won’t mind, in fact, people love to help so tell them how they can.
Choose foods that nourish you and help you feel healthy.
Make a conscious choice to choose the option that is lower in sugar, has more vegetables, less caffeine….whatever! Think good, better, best.
Get help before things get bad.
This could be your mental or physical health. Why walk around in pain, agony or even sadness if there are professionals out there waiting to help you? Reach out. Often if you catch things early you can recover more quickly. I am a big fan of preventative wellness.
Call a friend or make regular time to catch up with your girlfriends.
Women are wired differently. Men have a more typical response to stress – fight or flight. Women do, too, but not so much. When women feel stressed they “tend or befriend”. The best way to produce oxytocin in your brain is to connect with another human being by nurturing or helping them, OR by having a chat with a close friend and venting about what’s REALLY going on. None of that surface crap about the weather.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated.
Go to bed earlier. Get enough rest. When you are tired, rest. Even if you don’t sleep, put your feet up for a bit or lay down in bed and close your eyes.
Take 3 deep breaths to reset and release stress throughout your day if you are having “a moment”. You know those moments when you spill all the breast milk you just pumped and the dog crapped on the carpet and the babies screaming and the toddler’s cutting his own hair.
When you make your health and wellbeing a priority in your life and take the time you need for self-care, the ripple effect it has on your family and your kids is hugely influential. You are role modelling for them what it means to take good care of yourself and create healthy habits. And you don’t have to do it alone. So whatever you need, whether its a yoga class, acupuncture, Chiro, counselling, or a spa day-make the time and book it in.