Self-care is something I haven’t always gotten right. When I first became a mom, I wasn’t good at loving and caring for MYSELF. I put my needs far behind those of my family, and it left me moody and exhausted. Self-care and self-love not only help you, but they also benefit everyone around you. They provide relaxation and restoration so you can give other relationships the energy and attention they deserve. My husband and daughter deserve the very best of me. When I intentionally practice self-care and self-love, I am a much better mama and wife. I am more patient, I have more energy, and I am more joyful. It also sets a great example for my daughter. You are a person just like everyone else, and you have needs just like everyone else. Neglecting yourself and your needs may leave you feeling run down, stressed, and maybe even bitter. Below I discuss some quick and easy ways to practice self-care. As a mom, or even just a female with so much on your plate, it can be incredibly hard to find time for yourself. I encourage you to try to take just 10 minutes for yourself each day. It can be early in the morning before the kids are awake, during nap time, or after they go to bed. And some days you just need to turn some cartoons on for a few minutes (for the kids!) and take a break. So, go ahead and LOVE YO SELF. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit, because you are SO worth it.
Relax. Do something for YOU. It can be as easy as sitting in silence for a few minutes while you focus on your breathing. It’s amazing what a little quiet time alone with yourself can do! Read a book or magazine, write in a journal, soak in the bathtub with some calming music and candles, pray, paint your nails, do some devotions, or read your bible. Take time first thing in the morning to meditate or manifest how you want your day to go, and start your day off on a positive note.
Drink water. I have to admit... I used to be SO bad at this. I hated water. But there are so many health benefits that water provides. It improves digestion (drink a glass first thing in the morning before anything else), can clear your skin, flushes toxins from your body, and keeps you hydrated and feeling healthier among so many other amazing benefits. So, drink up!
Practice gratitude. I’ve found if I very intentionally focus on the good around me, I am more thankful and appreciative. Gratitude also helps me let go of stress. I think of my baby, my husband, our health, the roof over our head, the food in our bellies, and our families. Count your blessings… like for real. Count them. Sit down and think about each and every one of them. Focus on every good thing around you, and how in the midst of stress, you are so so blessed. Breathe gratitude! The world can be both chaotic and beautiful. What you choose to focus on is how you will see the world. You are in control of your life. Choose a grateful one!
Move your body. Exercise has so many benefits for me- it gives me more energy, helps with stress and anxiety, keeps my body healthy, and overall makes me feel better. Do something as simple as taking a walk or stretching. Go for a run or hike, take a class at the gym, or follow a workout video in the comfort of your own home. Do whatever gets you moving!
Say NO! This one may be really hard, especially if you are a people pleaser like me. I like to say yes to people. I like to make people happy. But when we keep saying yes, we are also saying no to other things that we don’t even realize. We stretch ourselves too thin which leads to burnout. We may think we can handle it all. And we may think that thing we said yes to was small and not a big deal. But those small things add up. And if you are constantly saying yes to other things and packing your calendar full, when is there time for you? You need to say no to other things and say yes to you. What brings you joy? What do you love? What leaves you happy and fulfilled and content? Say yes to that. What leaves you drained? Say no to that. Say yes to rest, and peace, and grace. Make yourself a priority.
Find connection. When we find connection with a friend, spouse, or family member, it nourishes our soul. Sometimes all you need is good conversation with a friend over coffee to feel restored and refreshed. There is nothing quite like sincere, genuine connection. Find a safe person (or persons) who allows you to be truthful, real, and vulnerable.
Be present. Take some time each day to shut off all screens. Turn off the TV, put your cell phone away, and shut your tablet or lap top. Focus on the people around you. Those people are what I like to call "the really good stuff." There is so much life waiting to be lived beyond your phone! How we spend our days is ultimately how we spend our lives. Try to be very aware of where you are focusing your energy. Are you more worried about everyone else on social media or your own family?
Sleep. This one is SO important. Getting a solid night's sleep is such a big part of leading a healthy lifestyle. I find my mood is much more pleasant when I am well rested. Sleep helps everything from your brain to your heart! So, put down your to-do list, hit the sack early, and wake up feeling like a million bucks!
Last but not least, buy yourself some flowers!