Self care. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. Between all the current stresses we’re all experiencing and caring for a family of five, the summer of 2020 had me feeling drained. I finally decided I needed to do something for myself. But how could I do that and not ignore my other responsibilities? It took a while, but I finally figured it out. Maybe you’re feeling the same way. I hope if that’s the case that you’ll find this post helpful.
Why is “self care” so difficult to define?
It turns out, self care looks different for everyone. Lots of people post on social media about getting their hair or nails done as self care. Other people go away for a weekend and call that the same thing. Entirely different means to the same end: making yourself a priority.
Because of that, I never spent much time trying to figure out why there were such different definitions of the same idea. That’s probably why I didn’t identify with the need for self care in the way that lots of people on social media seem to for a long time. When I finally figured out it’s about what I need, not what everyone else needs, that changed my perspective entirely. Sure, it’s nice to go and get my nails done every once in a while, but the effect was never very long-lasting for me. I wanted something to make me feel better overall.
So what does it look like for me?
Prioritizing my time so I can exercise. I try to do it in the mornings before the kids wake up because it starts my day on the right foot, but if I can’t make it happen then (maybe because Delta has woken up three times in the night), I make it a priority to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at some other point in the day. It’s not easy, but I feel better physically and mentally.
Deciding (every day, sometimes multiple times a day) that how I feel is more important than a number on the scale or what size my clothes are. This has always been a struggle for me, as someone who had an eating disorder in high school. It’s a constant choice I have to make.
Telling my kids I don’t want to play Chutes and Ladders because it makes me want to flip the board, but I’ll gladly play Spot It or Guess Who (or literally any other game besides Chutes and Ladders…).
Reducing my scrolling on social media.
Cleaning my house because I can’t focus with it messy… Even if that means I spend all of nap/quiet time working on that.
Making time to read because it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.
Writing this blog because even though I’m not crafty, I’m still creative in other ways and I need an outlet for that creativity.
I’m glad I finally made time to figure out what self care means to me. I honestly wish I had done it sooner. The benefits are more far-reaching than I ever thought they would be. So, what are your favorite ways to take care of yourself? Let’s encourage each other! I’d love to hear about them in the comments!