This comes up in each one of my therapy sessions. It also comes up a lot in the postpartum groups I’m part of.
What are you doing to take care of you today?
Life gets in the way. Being a parent is time consuming. It’s easy to put yourself last, but it’s very important to put yourself first, even if it’s only a couple of minutes each day.
I’m still learning that making the time to do something for myself isn’t selfish; it’s necessary to keep me from getting overwhelmed. When I’m overwhelmed, I’m unhappy. And when I’m unhappy? Well, nobody is happy.
Most days, my self-care is the simple act of taking a shower before bed, but I fit in a bit more when I am able.
Five ways I’ve given myself self-care this month:
1) Got lost in a good TV series: I spent an entire week watching the first two seasons of Black Sails. Twice. I may have spent a bit of time with my head under the covers because of the violence, but the parts between? AH-MAY-ZING.
2) Got lost in a good book: With no subscription to Starz, I’ve been unable to watch the current season of Black Sails. There’s a void in my life now, so I borrowed Pirate Latitudes from the library. If I hadn’t done the next point I’d have finished the book in three days.
3) Exercised -- sans-kids: When I go for a walk or a run, I tend to bring a child or two along, but 1-2 evenings a week I head over to Polar Fitness to take a PiYo, flexibility, and/or a pole fitness class. I love getting to hang out and talk with people who are closer to my own age without having to keep an eye on little children. If you’re looking for something different, check them out. They also offer Silks, Barre, and Parkour!
4) Took a hot shower -- before the kids took their bath: Our water heater has been on the fritz lately, so I’ve been taking a lot of lukewarm-to-cold showers because I always end up taking one after someone else has had a bath or shower. This does nothing positive for my mood, so on a few particularly trying days I beat my kids to the hot water and took my shower before they had their baths. The bonus here was that I was ready to slide right into bed once my kids were tucked in.
5) Colored: Adult coloring books still seem to be an In Thing and while I’ve always enjoyed coloring, I don’t think I noticed its calming effect on me until I started using the Mandala Coloring Book last year when I was organizing the Climb Out of the Darkness event. If you haven’t already jumped aboard the Adult Coloring bandwagon, I highly recommend starting with this book.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean getting a massage or meditating -- which is what I always picture at first when I hear the phrase. Self-care is simply taking a moment for yourself, to do whatever it is YOU enjoy.