Happy Valentine's Day to you!
Self care, self care, self care... how many times have these two words entered your mind in the last week, month.. or year?
Whether those words came to mind because you've finally worked-in that 15 minutes to yourself; or whether it came to mind because you felt completely overwhelmed and wondered "when am I going to have fifteen *%jhkj$*!^kjh% minutes to myself?!". Let's talk about it.
If it was the former: Good for you for making the time for yourself! Keep it up! If it was the latter: Breathe. Exhale. Let's make a plan to improve your mental health.
Self care is vital component to a healthy mental practice. Not only can it improve your happiness levels, but it can make you a more-present mom, a better partner, a sharper entrepreneur, etc.. It can strengthen your mental game and it can strengthen your relationships.
Here are some tips from a "it's-a-work-in-progress-but-I've-gotten-so-much-better-at-it" mama of two vivacious boys. For years I dished this advice to my family, friends and clients; but I was terrible at doing it myself. Practice what you preach, right?
For years I was on auto-pilot and rarely made the time. "How can I - when there's so much to do?" Does that sound familiar? Perhaps it hasn't been a conscious thought. Perhaps you were on auto-pilot like me. There aren't enough hours in a day. This is the truth. Not if you're trying to make homemade-from-scratch-everything, be home with your children, home school, run your own business, work a full-time 9-5, and keep your house clean (the list could go on!). Well, guess what? If you don't work-in that little bit of self care for yourself, it's eventually going to give. Don't let it get to that point! Start caring for yourself today. It's perfectly okay to not finish your list. Taking the time for yourself might actually rejuvenate you enough to get it done more efficiently - and more happily.
Now comes the HOW. Here are some ideas that have helped me over the last year:
If you've ever enjoyed a good zumba class, a good run, experienced an amazing yoga session, or pumped iron at the gym - you'll know that euphoric feeling that is called Endorphins. The feel-good vibes that give you a natural "high". Endorphins are neurochemicals produced in your brain's hypothalamus and pituitary gland. They're often referred to as "natural painkillers" and they activate opioid receptors in your brain to help minimize pain. Endorphins are released during many other daily activities too, like: laughing, sex, eating favourite foods, breastfeeding, etc.. So fit it in! Even if that 15-minute yoga session looks like the picture above (mini monkeys climbing all over you). Or even better - if you do have little ones that like to climb on you - use their body weight to challenge your poses!
Perhaps you don't know where to start with this one. Perhaps you've never even meditated before. Perhaps you're not sure you believe in meditation. Here's a secret: You don't need to be spiritual to meditate. You also don't need to be an expert. The key is just taking moments for yourself to practice mindfulness and breathing. Sure, it's an innate subconscious function that we all do - we naturally just breathe and think; but there are a plethora of ways to train our minds to breathe in a more optimal way for our health and to choose our thoughts to benefit our bodies on a holistic level. Check out I Mediate Calgary for resources and how-to's. I promise you won't regret it.
The kids are in bed and the house is a mess. Why not take 15 minutes to just enjoy a glass of wine before you start? Have a glass with your partner. Have a glass with a friend. Have a glass by your damn self! It's the taking-of-time for yourself that is key. But the antioxidants/resveratrol in wine kind-of makes it healthy and therapeutic. Right? Right.
HAVE A BATH
I don't say this because you haven't showered in 3 days (..okay maybe that is part of the reason;) Have a bath because you can! Even if it's just for 15 minutes! There is something about soaking in a warm bath with bubbles that just feels right. Kids are in bed. Leave the dishes. Leave the scattered toys. Leave the laundry. Just pour yourself a bath and enjoy the silence. Even better - pour yourself a glass of wine while you're soaking! Cha-ching! Double whammy.
If you haven't noticed a trend with the examples above - the key is to just MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. It does not need to be a lot of time (bonus points if it is though:) You'll be surprised at how just 15-minutes of self care can refresh you. Like the saying goes "You can't pour from an empty cup". So fill yourself up!
If the above examples just don't resonate with you and you're having a hard time coming up with some ideas - write a message, send an email.. call me! I'm more-than-happy to help out a fellow mom (or dad). Ps. This article was geared towards mothers, as I find we tend to struggle with self-care the most. But I do know that fathers can struggle with this as well . Please reach out if you need - whether you're a mother or a father.