How To Make Self Care Really Easy

How To Make Self Care Really Easy |

Sometimes I think the idea of self care gets a bad rap when you are a busy mom.  Like caring for yourself doesn’t count if you can’t get completely away from your responsibilities. Self care only counts if it is a pedicure, a long nap, a date night or an evening out with your girl friends. If you can’t be checked out entirely for a few hours, then it doesn’t count. It isn’t good enough.

If you can’t get a long break – especially if you can’t – you still need to care for yourself. You cannot care for your family’s needs non-stop without meeting your own. Self care is useful even when it is tiny. It can be moments in between, or moments during. It can be simply a breath, a re-settling of your awareness into your body. It can be a decision to do less today, to let go of perfection and judgement and comparing.

Try one of these things for a bit of self care today:

  • Whatever you are doing right now, take three deep breaths. Close your eyes if you can, but that’s not a requirement. Let your thoughts go. Just focus on the act of breathing.
  • Whenever you think of it, in the middle of whatever you are doing, practice letting go of that running drone of thoughts about what comes next or what didn’t get done last. Feel what it feels like to be in your body right in this moment. Do you ache anywhere? Send a loving thought to that spot. Thank your body for the ability to do this task, whatever it is. The strong arms to lift your son. The dexterity to change the diaper of a wiggly baby. The knowledge and patience to help your daughter with her first homework ever.
  • Go to bed early tonight, just 10 minutes or an hour, whatever you think your body needs most.  Leave the dishes undone, or the washing in the machine. It will all be there tomorrow. Give yourself the gift of rest.
  • Take five minutes today to list three things you are grateful for. Just three things. If one of those things is a person, take one more minute to tell them thank you.
  • While your kids are occupied (with anything), pick up something fun to read. Just for you. Not Facebook, not email. Read a few pages of poetry or beautiful prose. Read an article or two in that magazine that’s been gracing your counter all week.
  • Get some exercise. Go for a run or catch a class at your gym (my daughter loves the gym daycare!). If that’s not possible, walk around your neighborhood, with or without the kids. Have a dance party in your kitchen before you start dinner. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot at the grocery store. Just get your body moving.
  • Say no to something. If you are feeling overwhelmed and worn out, pick one thing on your list today or this week and resolve not to do it. Make a little space in your schedule and give yourself permission not to fill it with something else.
  • Get out a notebook and do a brain dump of everything that is swirling around in your mind. Don’t worry about making it pretty or organized. Just get it out of your head. Close the notebook and enjoy the quiet in your brain for a few minutes. Turn to a new page and write down whatever swirls up in that quiet. When I do this, it is usually my dreams and soft inner yearnings that whisper into that space, the things that get shouted down by the busy routine of daily life. Find a way to commit 15 minutes to something on the second list in the next three days.

 What will you do for yourself today? 

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11 Responses to How To Make Self Care Really Easy

  1. Donna September 5, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Hear, hear Dona! If you can’t meditate for 8 hours, do 2 minutes! All of us could benefit from learning that you do the best you can with what you’ve got…and when you do that with self-care, usually you find a little more time, and a little more. Great post! x
    Donna recently posted…OnTheBeach: Recovery Time Is Not Just For Operations and Little Old Ladies!My Profile

    • Doña September 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      It is so true – the more time we make for this stuff, the more we see opportunities to do more of it!

  2. Juniper September 4, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    This was the second time that day that someone told me to take 3 deep breaths, so I actually did it. Great thoughts here, self care can be the little things!

  3. KendraKay August 30, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    I’m so glad I read your blog!! ALL of this was helpful…I love every idea. The other evening, we were broke and choosing not to overspend by eating cereal on our date night. I realized then that WE are the ones who say, “This isn’t good enough or romantic enough or long enough (in terms of a mom break).” It’s so much happier to say it is good enough. And I totally tweeted this. 🙂
    KendraKay recently posted…Noonday: Interview with MeganMy Profile

    • Doña August 30, 2013 at 9:47 am #

      I think the most important thing is to recognize what is good enough for *you* which might not be the thing for someone else, or might not match up with the “accepted” list of whatevers. But hey, I love cereal for dinner! And thanks so much for tweeting!

  4. Stacey August 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    This is definitely something I need to get better at. Even now that my daughter has gone off to college I have not mastered the art of self care. Constantly putting the needs of others before my own, but I’m working on it. Starting today!
    Stacey recently posted…Why starting today is the best idea you’ll ever have… Period.My Profile

    • Doña August 30, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      It is definitely a practice!

  5. erica @ expatria, baby August 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Great tips, Doña! I agree, sometimes it can be hard to practice self-care in the midst of all the responsibilities that we face in our daily lives, and sometimes that goes unacknowledged. Like, sometimes it’s just not practical or even POSSIBLE to take three hours and go for a mani-pedi, right?

    One kind of self-care that I’m slowly learning to let go of some of the “shoulds”. Like I feel like I “should” play with my kid whenever she asks, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes I just don’t really feel like playing babies. And so I give myself permission to decline so that when I do feel like it, I can do so joyfully!
    erica @ expatria, baby recently posted…Pregnancy Update: 18 Weeks (Plus that whole first trimester thing.)My Profile

    • Doña August 28, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      I realized recently that I really wasn’t even enjoying the whole pedicure thing. I wedge it in somewhere (even a 30 minute pedi requires wedging) and then leave and not feel more relaxed or pampered than when I started. I’d rather spend that time on something I really love!

      Oh, the “shoulds.” I have a whole other post on that word!!


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