How do you feel about the words “self-care”?
When I see those words, I feel like it’s another thing I’m not doing well at or let’s just say it: failing.
With the enormous tasks of raising a small human, running a business, a household, and trying to take care of the ever-piling To-Do lists, and a husband who is away a lot, self-care doesn’t often make it to the list.
Part of it is that I’ve believed self-care something luxurious or extravagant…a treat, you know?
Like a manicure (I’ve only had one when I was 20) or a pedicure (I’ve only had one of those too, and that was 12 years ago), or a massage (I do that more often, like twice a year).
But before you start yelling at me that I DESERVE these things, I want to tell you something. They aren’t important to me. I could care less if I get a spa day once a month or even once a year or ever.
What I want (and actually DO), is a few daily activities which significantly change my day and my mood.
And I don’t call them self-care, I call them maintenance.
Most days I have a workout at home, do a bit of yoga, and meditation. Not a lot, not like I used to, but I do it.
I also cook all our meals and snacks. This is how I take care of my body and my family’s health.
I have a morning ritual which starts off with a few minutes to get myself together before I collect my son. Not a lot of time, just 5, but it allows me to be ready for him without feeling rushed.
You might actually say I have a lot of self-care built into my day.
But to me, this isn’t optional. This is my routine, this is my life, and trust me, I’m not nice without it.
Nothing takes long, its just little tweaks added into my day that make them better.
Maybe that’s why I’ve done so well at sticking to it, because it’s not optional, it’s just what I do.
If you are struggling with your own self care, ask yourself:
Is it optional? Is it a “treat”? Is it something you feel you “deserve”? Do I believe they have to take a lot of time to be effective or good enough?
These types of views can feel loaded because there’s so much emotional stuff attached to it.
And I’ll bet if it was as routine and expected as brushing your teeth it would be a non-issue.
I know, I know, before you jump all over me because you already have so much to do. Let me remind you that none of my own “maintenance” rituals take a lot of time (except for cooking, yep, that takes up a big chunk of it).
I get up 5 minutes before my kiddo. FIVE, and in that time, I pee, put my contacts in, brush my teeth, and drink warm water with lemon juice.
That’s it. That is self-care. It’s not fancy self-care but it is self-care, nonetheless.
As for meditation and yoga, sometimes that’s under 5 minutes TOGETHER. I stretch and breathe on the floor while Magnus plays, or meditate a few minutes in the car before I pick him up, or even just a few conscious breaths throughout the day.
I work out now at home (despite paying for a gym membership I don’t use. Giving it up just feels too much like defeat. One day I’ll get back to it…). I have kettlebells and dumb bells and lift them to videos while Magnus parks cars.
Is this my perfect picture of how I want things? No, of course not.
But to have things picture perfect for my personal maintenance would mean moving to an ashram in Hawaii (they have those there, right?).
Just kidding…sorta. 😉
But it would mean less time with my kiddo, and spending time with him is what I’m choosing right now. So, I’m working with what I’ve got and let me tell you, it still WORKS.
In fact, it works remarkably well.
Five minutes can change your mood, revitalize and energize you, shift your mindset, increase creativity, and focus. FIVE minutes.
It really doesn’t have to be all are nothing.
A few minutes a day can completely change your day around, and when done with consistency, can change your life.
Neuroscience says so.
I’d love to hear from you now. Do you struggle with self-care? What might some easy ways to incorporate “maintenance” into your daily routines? And most importantly: does Hawaii have an ashram???