It was a Saturday, the to-do list seemed like it went on forever, and my kids thought it was their duty to be my shadow.
I kept checking outside, waiting for a break in the rain, because there’s nothing worse then going grocery shopping in a monsoon. Realizing this break was not going to come anytime soon, I decided to disappear.
One of my favorite things to do when I was a child, was to pile up all of the blankets on top of myself, crawl deep inside my bed and listen to the rain. Often times, I would take my favorite book and stuffed animal and pretend that everything else in the world didn’t matter.
In an attempt to recreate the lazier days of my childhood, I grabbed a book, piled the blankets as I high as I could, and crawled into my bed. Minutes later, I heard footsteps. Oh great, I thought to myself, they found me. My daughter came over first and lifted the blanket to see where I was and what I was doing. She looked puzzled as she tried to figure out why mom was hanging out in bed reading a book.
Trying to wrap her head around this image she very rarely sees, the first words out of her mouth were, “Mom, what are you doing?” This was not a inquisitive type of question, rather an accusatory type – like: get out of bed because mom’s aren’t allowed to take time for themselves.
Next, my son arrived – he can’t stand being left out. Of course as soon as he saw his mom in a fort of blankets surrounded by books, he felt the need to play too. So with a running jump and a belly flop landing on top of my hiding place, he made his way right into my alone time.
Motherhood can often feel all-consuming. Sometimes I wonder if we’re raising a generation of kids who believe that mom is simply an extension of them. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone tell my husband to go climb under a pile of blankets and practice self-care, he just does it.
And my kids, well, they are masters at self-care. They know exactly what to ask for and what they need. When they are tired, they rest. When they want to play, they play.
Women, at least for a small part of their day, can do the same.
When was the last time you put yourself first, even for just a moment? Or how about the last time you chose to care for yourself? Self-care makes up an essential part of a healthy lifestyle that keeps us feeling happy, and more in tune with our minds and bodies.
So often our health and well-being end up last on our list of priorities as we move through our day checking off boxes on our lists and making sure everyone else’s needs are being met. We pretend that we’re superhuman, existing on caffeine and the notion that we must get everything done, and take care of everyone around us.
You can find calm clarity every day, but it requires you to make it happen. Prioritizing our own health and well-being is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, and our families.
Here are six simple tips to help you fit self-care into your busy day:
Say no to someone or something.
Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Say yes to yourself.
Take that cooking class you’ve been wanting to take, train for a half-marathon, get together with friends. The key here is to say yes to what you want.
Practice self-care in intervals.
Taking time for ourselves doesn’t have to be done all at once. Find 15 minute intervals throughout the day to take a breather and engage in activities you like.
Adjust your expectations.
If you find that your energy is low, and your mind feels cluttered, shift what you are asking of yourself.
Find an hour each day that you can go running, do yoga, or take a class.
Let go of one thing on your list.
Fine one thing each day that you can take off of your to-do list (maybe even permanently).
Give it a try: get a massage, or take a yoga class. Hit the grocery store alone. Sit at the naked spa with a bunch of other deserving moms (I have a friend who swears by this) or just simply grab a pile of blankets and crawl back into your own world for a little “me” time.