There is SO much hype out there about self-care these days. It seems to be one of the new, trendy things we have to put on our “to do” list. OR it sounds kinda “high falutin” and what those “ladies who lunch” do that the rest of us might feel too guilty about indulging in. But I’m here to share with you some of my own personal experiences here on this topic. I’ve been noticeably absent (or maybe you haven’t even noticed at all!) from my website, my Instagram, social media in general, and my normal life of sharing wellness, tips, stories and motivation. We all have seasons in our lives, some hard and some downright brutal, that we wade through. I’ve been in a season that is now part of my story and, while I’m not really ready to share that story, I feel like it’s time to get back to some of the things that make me feel normal, bring me joy and meaning – and silly as it seems – one of those things is typing out in this space to whomever out there chooses to take the time to read.
Back to the topic of self-care. I think self-care has taken on a whole new life of its own and I want to break it down and get it back to basics. I want to take away any of the guilt associated with these two words, the mystery, the hype AND especially the idea that it is too expensive OR that it is NOT necessary! Rather than think of self-care as one of those trendy things that just makes you roll your eyes, just think about doing some things – big or small – that make you feel good, energized, calm, relaxed, or just a little happier. I’m not saying you have to go for a week-long stay at Canyon Ranch or some fancy spa. While that would be nice, it’s just not realistic for us normal folks. I’m basically saying you need to think of things that you can slide into your day to take care of yourself. Now go back and re-read those last four words in that sentence. Take Care of Yourself. That’s all self-care is.
I get that you are busy. I get that you are stressed. I know what it’s like to be so overwhelmed with taking care of everyone else and trying to keep all the balls in the air that there’s just no time or energy left. It’s during those times that it is even more important for you to find ways to care for you. I finally realized this and have a few very simple things that really helped me over the past few months. They are all doable on a regular basis, simple, cheap and can be under 30 minutes.
- Ice water with lemon. (staying hydrated helps give you energy . . . especially good after a sleepless night – see below!)
- Uplifting Books. (Recently I’ve not been able to invest the time or energy into a novel, but these books were great for giving me a message in only a chapter, a paragraph or whatever soundbite I could digest on some days. I always found some nugget – or two – in them)
A Bath. (I’m telling you a warm bath just calls my name. Throw in a magazine or some music and whatever is going on will be shut away for just that bit. For me, it’s not always so relaxing though since I have a pup who loves to throw her tennis ball in for me to fetch . . .
- A walk, a cuddle or kiss from my pups. If you are a pet person then you know what I mean. That total unconditional love is just the best when you need it!
- Mini Masks. Have you seen these? I’m here to tell you this is my new favorite product! Pat one of these little puppies on your face, lie on your bed, close your eyes for 20 minutes and I promise you’ll feel like a new woman! Who knew such fabulous self-care could be found at your local drug store for a whopping $4.49??? Go get you some!
- A candle. I know, I know. This is so dang simple it’s not even worth typing. But, really, there’s something about lighting a good candle that just makes things feel better. The smell, the mood, and the lighting just takes the edge off of the day. (and if you are a rose’ girl, then a little glass on the side is a nice treat)
- Friends. This might be the best self-care tip I can give you. If you have a circle of girls then gather them around, call them up, start a fun group text, take a trip, lean on them and let them lean on you. They want to lift your load as much as you want to lift theirs. And if you don’t have this type of group then it’s time to start reaching out. It’s never too late to make new friendships or re-fresh some old ones.
- Sleep. This may mean going to bed 20 minutes earlier, ignoring the alarm clock now and then, even skipping that early morning workout in favor of sleep. This may mean getting comfy and closing your eyes for a 10-20 minute catnap when possible. (This one has been a personal struggle for me so I share it because I know how important it is and how often it is the thing we overlook. )
- Laugh. Not to sound trite, but laughter really is great medicine. Sometimes humor is the only thing that will work in a situation and sometimes that awful, inappropriate, dark humor is completely okay. (My dad used to be the best at lighting the mood at a funeral with just the right amount of humor. Not sure why I remember this, but I do!) So just find whatever it is that tickles you – instagram funnies, re-runs of Seinfeld, a friend you can call that’s always good for a laugh, or a new Netflix show.
- Space. Oftentimes the best thing you can do to take care of yourself is give yourself some space. I’m talking about time in your day. You may need to start using the word ‘no’ to make this happen. I promise it’s okay and the world will still spin if you do not sign up to bring the donuts on Friday. Space in your head. Sometimes our minds are racing with 3,456, 231 things and we are exhausted from not having any mental space to even process what is going on around us. This takes time and effort but letting go of some of the unproductive thoughts and unrelated junk taking up space in your head helps. Continuing to imagine what might happen or attempting to fester over things you have no control over only clutter your mind. Please, for the love of all things, let it go.
- Forget the list. What does this mean? Well, I am a list tackler. There is nothing I like better than to make a list and mark things off of my list. Sometimes that list just rules my day and in my head those items just have to get done. These “to dos” are important to me and my Type A sense of accomplishment ( you know what I mean if you are one) but let’s be real. We all know I’m not curing cancer. So, if something falls off the list or doesn’t get done – and instead I take my dog for a walk, or sit outside for 10 minutes to gather some space, or take some time to listen to a podcast – then I’ve done a much better job of taking care of myself. And nothing came crashing down. I know I’ll be more productive as a whole. And a lot happier.
These are some of the simple things I have been adding to my day, my week, mylife in order to do a better job of taking care of myself. They are not time-consuming, expensive or complicated. They are little rituals that have really made a difference in my mindset, energy and overall peace. Where I used to feel guilty about thinking about myself, I have finally let that go. If you are in that space, please do the same. Each day is there for us to grasp and fill up. It is not selfish to relish those things around you that help you be the better person, mom, daughter, wife, worker, or whatever role you play on any given day.
So glad to be back here!