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Chances are you’ve seen pictures on Facebook or Instagram where one of your friends is holding a latte and pushing a cart in Target with the hashtag #selfcare. I’d argue that the occasional Target trip and a latte are far from enough self care. Most of us need much more than we’re willing to give ourselves.
But, what is self care anyway?
By definition, self care is care provided for you, by you. It involves discovering your own needs, developing a plan to meet them, and taking the time to complete activities that nurture you. It’s an act of self love done for no other reason than to nourish your soul. As mothers, we spend so much time caring for everyone else in our family, that sometimes we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too.
Seems silly, right? We need a reminder to care for ourselves, and sometimes we even need permission. We spend so much time focusing on the needs of everyone else, that we become burnt out, stressed out, and exhausted. It’s so easy to neglect our own needs and run on empty. We need a way to balance the chaos of every day life with a bit of respite.
If you’re on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop, what do you do? What’s your first instinct? Mine would be to put the masks on my kids, but I know that’s wrong. The flight attendants tell you at the beginning of every flight that you have to put your mask on before you can help anyone else. Only once we’ve first helped ourselves can we effectively help others.
Practicing self care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, but it’s also one of the things we fail to do. It becomes so easy to say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ or ‘the kids are more important.’
How to Start Practicing Self Care
We know what self care is, and that’s half the struggle. But how do we do it? How do we make time for ourselves when we barely have time to drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot? Well. The answer is difficult. We have to find the time. We have to fight for it. I started by giving myself ten minutes a week; it may not seem like much, but finding 10 minutes to do something for the benefit of no one else but me, was so hard. The sad part was that some weeks it took me days to figure out what I wanted to do for those ten minutes.
My favorites are listening to a podcast alone in the car, reading a book, doing a face mask, or taking a nap. After doing that for a few months, I realized I needed more. Shocking, right? So I increased it to 20 minutes, then 30, and so on until I was doing an hour a week. I started looking forward to that hour and found that it made me less stressed and irritable because I knew I had a break scheduled. It was enough to reset and refresh me for the next week. My goal is to add more time throughout the week, but for now, that hour is so helpful.
Take Time for Yourself
Carving time into your schedule to do something that feeds and nourishes your soul may seem daunting at first. As mothers we are excellent at meeting the needs of our family, but not so great at meeting our own. Start with ten minutes a week for you and make it something incredibly simple. You’ll be surprised at how much that small amount of time will impact you for the rest of your week. Take time for you, mama. You’re worth it.
Need some self-care ideas? Check out Self-Care at Home: 6 Totally Free Things to Try!
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