If there is one thing I have learned over the last couple of years in this fit journey, and most definitely since returning to work after 17 years as a stay-at-home-mom: women, especially mommas, put a whole lot on their plates.
The amount of pressure we place on ourselves is truly more than anyone should deal with. No matter what Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram portrays, life is not perfect. Not one of us is a perfect wife, employee, mom or grandmother. We all like to hide behind a facade, because that’s what is acceptable, but that facade eventually will fall, leaving behind a generation (or two) of exhausted ladies who no longer want to care for their homes, marriages, or themselves!
Self-care is so important in the society we live in today. We are all guilty of people-pleasing, comparison, and striving for perfection in a world where perfection doesn’t exist. As a result anxiety, depression, drug-abuse, alcoholism, and walking out on families are growing problems among women. If we don’t pause to take care of ourselves, who is going to take care of our family when we break?!
Think about it!
I am as guilty as anyone about neglecting myself. Not taking care of myself is one of the factors that led to my obesity. It was also one of the factors that led to my husband nearly having a second heat-attack at the age of 41. Old habits are hard to break, but if you intentionally incorporate one little thing at a time, you’ll find yourself feeling renewed and fresh for yourself and your family!
“Self-Care is never a selfish-act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on the earth to offer others”
~ Parker Palmer
Here are two very important reasons to practice a little self-care… First, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” And secondly, whether we like it or not, there is always someone watching us; this includes without a doubt our children. Girls especially mimic what they see the women in their life doing. Do you want to be the negative influence in someone’s life because they see you not taking care of yourself?
Chew on that for a minute.
Momma, when you take care of yourself, the whole family benefits!
Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your family!
I’ve put together a list of simple ideas to help inspire you to take a little time for yourself. Check it out. Let me know what you think!
1. Go to bed earlier. Seriously. Rest does a soul more good than folding that last load of clothes or washing the remnants of supper dishes.
2. Go to lunch with the girls. Even if you have to go to Chick-Fil-A so the kids can play on the playground, go out with YOUR friends! Better yet, if you live near family, enlist Nana or an aunt to babysit for two hours. Don’t be afraid to ask.
3. Take a walk. Push the stroller, walk the dog, carry your camera… get out of the house and take a walk!
4. Exercise. Take a yoga, Barre or spin class. Go for a hike or just walk in the neighborhood or local park. You could even take swim lessons! There are no limits to all the ways you can incorporate exercise into your life.
5. Get a manicure or pedicure; pamper yourself.
6. Wake up, take a shower and make an effort to look human EVERY day. I’ve had four kids and know it is a challenge, but ladies, it can be done. And you will immediately feel better!
7. Listen to music and relax. This has been my go-to disconnect for years! When the kids are at school, taking a nap, practicing sports, or even in their rooms playing; grab a tea, find something to listen to that relaxes you and enjoy. This has become such an important ritual for me that when my kids hear classical music, see a dim room lit with candles at home they know that I am taking me time and just slip off to their rooms.
8. Delegate. Enlist the help of the entire family when cleaning house or ask a co-worker for help if you are working.
9. Keep a family calendar,and keep it up-to-date. Staying organized removes a lot of stress from your life.
10. Read a book or a magazine.
11. Avoid processed food and sodas. You may wonder how this will help, but swapping chips and cookies for fresh fruit or crunchy veggies, and drinking fruit infused water instead of a Diet Coke will make a HUGE difference as you will find yourself feeling better and having more energy!
12. Watch a movie. Going to the theater alone while the kiddos are away is extremely relaxing!
13. Get in shape/lose weight.
14. Bible study. Enjoy some time in the Word. Just 20 minutes a day can be life-changing!
15. Learn to say “No”. Say no to the PTA; no to the Homeowners Association Board; no to overtime; no to the kids. It’s OK to say NO!
16. Forgive yourself. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes or have failures. Do not let your mistakes define you. Each day is a new day to improve.
17. Take a bath. With the huge market for finding fragrance candles, essential oils, and relaxing bath accessories there is no reason you can’t create a space to decompress in the evening. A bath at 10:00 and I sleep like a baby!
18. Have a hobby. Whether it be gardening, scrapbooking, blogging, photography, refinishing furniture, or scripture journaling, find a hobby that allows you to escape for a little while.
19. Experiment in the kitchen. I love to cook and find nothing more therapeutic than chopping veggies and creating a delicious and healthy dinner for my family.
20. Take a nap.
21. Step away from stressful situations. This is especially important when you work with the public. Manners and respect for others are not character traits that many have anymore. When I’ve had a really bad day trying to please customers, slipping away to a corner in Starbucks with a coffee and a magazine to regroup is the best thing ever. My attitude affects my ability to deal with the public, but it also affects the way I approach my family at the end of the day. Step away.
22. Celebrate yourself. When you succeed or reach a goal, even if no one else knows about it, CELEBRATE YOU!
23. Get a massage.
24. Regularly schedule time specifically for you and your spouse. Reconnecting with each other is a most important part of self-care.
25. Buy yourself some fresh flowers. From Publix to Costco bunches of fresh flowers are easily accessable and affordable. Grab a bouquet and arrange them in a pretty vase on your kitchen counter or coffee table.
26. Keep a gratitude journal. Writing down things we are thankful and stopping to count the blessings in our lives can be a real eye opener, especially when we think our lives are just falling apart.
27. Make and confirm a plan. Don’t just say “Let’s get together”; set a time and do something!
28. Dance. Yep, blast some music and dance while you clean, or just dance. Who cares what the kids or dog thinks? Let your guard down and have a party for one!
29. Buy yourself a cute pair of shoes or an inexpensive outfit that fits you as you are now, for absolutely no reason at all!
30. Turn off social media and your cell phone. Detoxing from the cyber world does more for your soul than you could ever imagine.
By no means are these all of the ways that you can take care of yourself, but these 30 ways should give you a good place to get started. Can you add to the list?
“Be careful how you are taking care of yourself because you are listening.”
~Lisa M. Hayes
Let’s do it for us. Let’s do it for our families!