Self care is such an important component of anyone’s daily routine. Once you become a mom, however, it can be really hard to find time to take care of yourself. Self care feels selfish and almost spoiled.
Self care is, at times, choosing yourself over your kids, and it can feel like neglect (ok maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point.) Now that my children are five and seven, I find myself stressed beyond comprehension. The pressures I face daily as a mom, manager of multiple businesses, wife, and human being are not easy.
About a year ago, I decided to make a change for myself. I was tired, drained, and no longer remembered who I actually was beyond mom and worker bee. I hoped that by making sure I took care of myself, just as much as I took care of my kids and my work, that my kids would ultimately benefit. Also, it was high time for me to do something for myself again.
There are so many ways that you can work self care into your routine. Also, I define self-care in a way that works for me. It doesn’t have to be a weekend away at the spa, or a shopping trip without the kids. But it can be. It can be whatever helps you ground yourself again.
Here’s a glimpse into my self care acts:
#1 – Read a book.
As you know, this one sounds way easier than it is. It’s incredibly hard to read a book when you have two kids fighting over a toy that neither of them has ever cared about previously. Or when you have tiny hands knocking on the bedroom door when you just barely sat down and picked up that book. I promise you though, if you find the time (even once a week) to check into a book that grabs your full attention and lets your mind travel, it would do wonders for you.
I love self development books (and podcasts), and I have three books that I read several times throughout the year. Safe to say, I’d highly recommend them even though I know they aren’t for everyone. If you are looking for good reads, I suggest in no particular order:
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I understand that a lot of people pick this book apart, and it’s not for everyone. For me, it just works. She speaks on a level that is relatable to almost every aspect of my life. I am able to take bits and pieces and apply them as I see fit.
Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak and she is magnificent and simply captivating! This book helped me to shift my focus to creating a joyful life by living intentionally. Martha explores the concept that we all have an internal compass, and why we’ve spent so much of our lives ignoring that compass.
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. What I loved most about this book is I can tailor it to different aspects of my life, but ultimately they all connect because they all begin with the simple act of being intentional with my morning routine.
In 2018, I had a goal of reading a book a month. My goal did not include self development books, but I found myself gravitating towards those more due to where I’m at in life right now. I didn’t quite accomplish my goal (probably because I reread 3 books instead of picking something new) but I got closer than I ever have in my adulthood. I think I landed somewhere around 7 or 8 books. In 2019, I’m adding that goal back onto my list. I want it to be a healthy mix of self development and fiction.
How is this self care? It’s allowing yourself to take even 30 minutes a day or every other day to do something for yourself. Maybe something you’ve been missing for all these years. Or maybe introducing something new into your life.
#2 – Skincare routine.
If you love baths, this would be a great option too. For me, however, I like to make sure I take the time to focus on my skin. I take 15 minutes every day to make sure that I’m really taking care of my skin. It’s incredible how much a good skin day can improve my mood. I’m suddenly more confident, and ready to take on the world (or household). This includes using a face mask at least 2 times a week, on top of my routine of cleansing, serum, moisturizer, and oils.
How is this self care? Pretty self-explanatory really.
#3 – Journaling.
This can be reflecting on your previous day or the week. This can be journaling with the intent of goal setting. Or it can be gratitude journaling. Focus on whatever pleases you.
I tend to do a combination of the three and change it up based on my mood. I like to try to reach for a journal daily, but realistically, I maintain this practice around 4-5 days a week.
How is this self care? It forces you to allow time in your day to focus on the big picture.
#4 – A quiet coffee.
Or tea, lemon water, or whatever you drink in the morning. I love to enjoy my first coffee of the day (yup first, because I’m a solid 4-5 cups a day kind of gal,) in complete silence.
I enjoy iced coffee and cold brew as well, but my very first cup of the day has to be hot (all year round). This one is quite simple. But it’s coffee. It doesn’t require much more detail.
How is this self care? Quiet time gives you those moments of peace before the house gets hectic. Use it for something productive, or use it to just sit by yourself (because how much alone time do you really get?)
#5 – Lists.
To do lists. Grocery lists. Filming lists. Blog post lists. You name it, I probably have a list for it. I love making lists and I love being able to cross tasks off once I’ve accomplished them. Taking the time to plan out my day, or schedule a special project actually helps me accomplish things faster. And seeing those items crossed off the lists definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Lists might not be for everyone, and that’s perfectly ok. There are many ways you can tackle your projects without listing out all of the minute details of how to accomplish them. Find your way, and just move forward with it.
How is this self care? It guides you to rank tasks by level of importance, and offers you a chance to know everything can’t always all get done, but keeps aware of your visible accomplishments.
#6 – Cleaning.
I get that it’s a chore, but to me, it’s relaxing. Our home is quite small at just under 1,000 square feet so its relatively easy for me to keep a clean house. I vacuum daily (sometimes twice a day when I’m feeling anxious) and make sure most surfaces are wiped down. I also keep a loose cleaning schedule (click on “cleaning schedule” for the printable for my schedule!) for the house which basically has me shifting my focus around different areas each day.
How is this self care? Maybe it isn’t for everyone. For me it is. I’ve never felt more accomplished than when I come home and my house clean, or wake up and it still smells clean. There’s also no better feeling than having your own mother stop by and say, “Wow, your home looks really great.”
In 2019, I will be adding some sort of exercise into my self care routine (so maybe that’s one you can already add to your list), but I’m still trying to figure out exactly what type is right for me.
I know its important, and I want to set the example for my children when I’m telling them to stay active. But I also know its important to research, to listen to my body, and ultimately, to find something I enjoy.
And in the sake of full disclosure, for me, self care also includes binge watching a series on Netflix or Hulu, or catching any NHL game I can find once the kids go to bed. It helps me decompress and while I know it isn’t the best thing to do before bed, sometimes I just need to not have to think!
I’ve found a way to add all of this into my routine, but I’ll admit it takes time. I had to adjust my schedule in order to add the self care acts I wanted into my day. I now wake up every morning between 5 and 5:30 am (yup, that includes weekends too). I still have to set my alarm as my internal clock hasn’t fully registered this yet, but it is getting increasingly easier to get myself up and moving that early. To me, self care is more than just pampering (there’s a reason I didn’t say pampering to begin with.)
Focusing on self care based on how it is defined for me has allowed me to be more in tune with myself. It has allowed me to find myself again as more than just a mom and wife. Which has, in turn, has allowed me to be a better and more present mom.