I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase self-care sometime in the last couple of years. It’s thrown around a lot, especially in relation to moms. We use it to describe pampering, alone time, mental health breaks, shopping excursions, and more. But what about real self-care for moms? The kind that refreshes and relaxes and hits the spot for your physical and emotional needs.
I’ve never thought of myself as a self-care kind of person, but I’ve recently tried to rethink this and be more open-minded to the idea. To me, at face value, self-care sounds kinda selfish. But as I’ve thought more about it, I recognize that the driving force behind the concept is actually a really good thing. It’s like the direction from airline staff to place the oxygen mask over your own face first before helping those around you. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself. This is not an original thought, but as a mom to little kids, it’s an idea that’s new to me.
Like many other moms, I easily fall into the bad habit of only dealing with the immediate. This sets a tone for being extremely reactionary and as tasks build can make for an environment of stress and anxiety. Not too long ago, our Pastor preached on this exact topic. He stated that if you only make time for the urgent, then you might miss out on making time for the important. So true!
Lately, life has been nonstop. There is work, managing childcare, we sold and bought homes, moved, and on top of this have been juggling the everyday tasks of meals, laundry, diaper changes and so on. It’s easy for tasks to mount and time to dwindle, for energy to be lost and good rest to always feel just out of reach.
To help me, I’ve decided to realign my schedule. When I plan my time, I’m trying to do so based on values. Taking care of myself needs to be one of those values. As I do this, I’ve developed a list of “self-care” options to include. And I’ve found it to be a great help to me.
If you’ve been feeling a little run down, or like you need better boundaries for taking care of yourself, then maybe this list will help you too.
Don’t just go to sleep when I can’t possibly stay awake any longer. This is so big. Getting good, regular sleep is a must.
2. Make time for consistent exercise.
Exercise helps me so much. It helps my energy levels and regulates my body’s rhythms like good blood pressure, breathing, and even sleep. In this season, every day is lofty, but a few times a week is doable.
3. Set aside daily quiet time to be with my Bible and in prayer.
I talk to God throughout my day, all day. I ask for patience. Lean on him. And I pray for my kids and for others in my life. Making time to quietly listen to God and read his Word heavily influences the tone of my day.
4. Read something for fun.
I used to do this all the time. Heck, it’s one of the main reasons I studied English in college. Reading is a great form of self-care that helps me to get out of my own head. So that I can take a break from the everyday mental demands of life.
5. Set aside a Sabbath.
We need downtime, real, honest, restful downtime. If I find a way to give myself 24 hours free of work and electronics, then I am amazed by the rejuvenation I get to feel for the next week. I heard about a husband and wife who do this one day every weekend. They trade phones so they can still reach each other, but that way they don’t have access to their own social media and email accounts. What a good idea!
6. Set boundaries for my work life.
Have you noticed that between emails and text messages it’s easy to never fully leave your work for the day? That’s not healthy for any of us. We have to set boundaries in order to take care of ourselves.
7. Actively stop trying to keep up with other people.
Matching behaviors of those around us is something that happens without effort. As a result, it’s easy for radically unnecessary purchases to feel totally normal if we see our friends and neighbors buying into those things. Walking away from this kind of pressure is a tremendous form of self-care.
8. Remove toxic people from my feed.
I feel bad deleting people from facebook. Do you? But I’ve recently decided to simply cut out whatever might show up as negativity in my news feed. I do not mean when others share honest perspectives that might be a little uncomfortable. I’m talking about the really venomous stuff. Sitting sideline to social media ridiculousness doesn’t educate any of us. It is unproductive, unhealthy, and I’m cutting it out of my life.
9. Spend time with friends.
We, humans, are designed for community. Therefore, making time to build emotional connections with friends is an important part of self-care for me. I didn’t realize how important it was until my husband and I moved away from all of our friends. Now that we have friends here in Tampa Bay, we make spending time with those friends a priority and it’s so good for us.