When I had Miss M, the thought of putting myself first at times and looking after myself seemed selfish. I thought once you had kids, they had to come first and the parents got whatever was leftover in day. The thing is, that after awhile I began to burn out. I craved time to sleep, sit and eat a proper meal, have an uninterrupted shower and just relax! I absolutely need me-time for my physical, mental and emotional health.
One of my favourite quotes is: 'You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.'
It's like when you're on an aeroplane and they explain in the safety presentation that in the event of an emergency, you must put your oxygen mask on first before you begin to assist others, even children. This is obviously because you are no use to anyone, if you can't breath yourself! It's exactly the same with life with kids (or in your job or any aspect of life) - if you are giving and giving all day long with no time to replenish and rejuvenate yourself, it's only a matter of time before something's got to give.
Self care isn't selfish at all, it's necessary. It's all in the word: taking CARE of yourSELF. This may look like different things to different people. Five minutes once a day may be all one person needs to keep going, and another may need a whole day a week. I'm a whole day a week kind of person! And there's no point judging another (I get asked SO often on my day off "Where are your kids?") because self-care is personal and individual, just like each one of us.
Practising self care tells others and ourselves that we matter, and that we want to take care for ourselves so that we are better resourced to take care of others. I'm a big believer in promoting good mental health, especially as I've suffered from depression in my life, as well as post-natal depression after Miss O was born.
It might take a bit of practice to let yourself have some me-time each day. I suggest scheduling it in, but being flexible as obviously life with kids is never predictable! In my Leanne Baker Daily planner, there is actually a spot to write what I have planned for self care each day, and this is just as easy to write into your own planner/diary, or to set a reminder in your phone.
I actually do several things each day to recharge:
~ I make sure I sit down to eat my breakfast and enjoy a hot cup of tea. This means setting an alarm if I need to be somewhere early on a certain day, so that I don't miss breakfast. I give Miss M her breakfast and I feed Miss O hers, and then they are usually satisfied while I sit and have mind.
~When Miss M has her nap at 12, the first thing I do (after Miss O has been fed if it's time for her feed) is sit down and have a coffee. I then have lunch a bit later. Sitting and having my coffee first ensures I get to relax and not rush off and do jobs while she's asleep. It's not necessarily that I need a coffee, it's more that I enjoy doing it!
~ When Miss M goes to bed at 7, I sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit. This is sort of like my dessert, and again, forces me to sit and relax before I get started on any jobs I need to do before bed.
Each week I like to:
~ Head to the gym 3x a week, including at least one class. This not only gives me time to myself, but it ticks off the necessary exercise for each week, it helps me to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I really enjoy it! My husband works shift work so I have to schedule in different times each week, but we make it work!
~ Every Tuesday Miss M is at daycare, so I'm able to get lots done around the house, plus take some time for myself (usually while Miss O is asleep).
~ My mum quite often takes both girls for half a day, and I usually give myself a time limit to clean and tidy the house (e.g. an hour) and then I spend the rest of the time for myself.
Here are some ideas for self-care. Some are short, 5 minute things that can be done at home, and others will need to be scheduled in without kids. Find something that makes you happy and sparks joy in your life! It will refresh and rejuvenate you.
~ Enjoy a coffee or tea
~ Read a book
~ Watch your favourite movie or TV series
~ Enjoy some time doing your hobby (sewing etc)
~ Bake something just for fun!
~ Treat yourself to something you've been eyeing off at a shop, or a new item of clothing
~ Wander around the shops by yourself
~ Go for a walk
~ Listen to music
~ Go to the gym
~ Have a bubble bath
~ Go to the library
~ Feed the ducks
~ Go Grocery Shopping alone
~ Take a long lunch with a friend
~ Visit a friend for a catch up
~ See a movie
~ Pamper yourself: get a manicure/pedicure/massage/facial or do one yourself at home!
~ Get enough sleep (either the kids could stay the night somewhere or maybe hubby will get up for you one night!)
~ Spend time outside
~ Connect with family
~ Write in a journal
~ Have a nap
~ Learn a new skill (youtube is great for this!)
~ Practice deep, calm breathing
~ Eat the last piece of cake!
~ Enjoy a good stretch (again youtube is good for this!)
~ Make yourself a platter to enjoy or even a chocolate fondue!
~ Wash your face
~ Have a long, hot shower
~ Get your hair cut
~ Have a mini declutter session
~ Burn your favourite candle
~ Buy some balloons or flowers
~ Get into your pyjamas and watch some daytime TV
~ Try a new recipe if you enjoy cooking
~ Have a girls night in (or out!)
~ Paint your nails
~ Turn off your phone and enjoy the quiet!
~ Have your favourite dessert (guilt free!)
~ Go for a drive
~ Volunteer or help someone out or buy someone a gift
~ Sit and plan your week
~ Write an old-fashioned letter or thank you note to someone
~ Call a loved one
~ Sit and read the paper one morning
~ Wander to the bakery one morning to buy some fresh bread for breakfast
~ Spend time with a pet or take your dog for a walk
~ Do some art or craft
~ Do a random act of kindness (eg pay for the person's coffee behind you in drive thru)
~ Take some photos outside
~ Diffuse essential oils
~ Drink a green smoothie or make yourself a healthy lunch/snack
~ Scroll through Pinterest
~ Lay in the sunshine
~ Go on a picnic
~ Go for a swim or a bike ride
Another cool thing you can do, if you are a list-maker like me, is to make lists when life gets overwhelming, such as the following:
Hopefully some of these things will inspire you to enjoy some me-time! Self-care is so important - make sure you take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, and fill your cup each day so that you can fill your families as well!
[All images from Pinterest]