The Routine Maintenance of Self Care
Take a moment to think about yourself. How often do you take care of yourself? I’m not talking about daily survival or basic hygiene, so that 5 minute shower this morning while a toddler watches doesn’t count as “me time”.
Would you say you do things every week that you define as self care? At least five things? Three? Any?
I know you’ve heard it all before about the oxygen masks and pouring from empty cups and if you’re anything like me you get all jazzed about making time to take care of yourself. And then something comes up. A kid gets sick. A snow day. Whatever it is that makes you put your plans aside and take care of others first.
The thing about self care is that it doesn’t work if you don’t actually do it. Like all day every day. I don’t mean spend all your days getting mani/pedis, massages, and fabulous blow outs — though that is my dream gig so if you hear of an opening for that please get in touch!
You can’t put off simply caring for and thinking about yourself until you “need” the me time.
Think of yourself as a car (hear me out). No matter how much you love your car and drive carefully and always fill it with gas, if you don’t take it in to the shop for routine maintenance it’s going to break down. In a really expensive way.
Much like routine oil changes and maintenance to your car, self care isn’t meant to fix a serious issue. It’s meant to avoid one. Are really poorly timed flat tires still going to happen? Yeah. But dealing with them won’t seem so overwhelming if you know the rest of your car is in a.o.k. shape.
On the other hand if you haven’t been diligently maintaining your car, you might find out that your entire engine needs to be replaced when you finally get around to taking it in to the shop for that strange rattling sound you’ve been hearing off and on.
So how do we do it? As busy parents, how do we make time for self care?
It starts by making the radical decision that you’re worth it. That you deserve to be happy in your own skin just for being you. Just for being.
Once you let that sink in and are comfortable saying it out loud to yourself, your loved ones, and other commitments, then you decide on something small. Maybe it’s a long shower or hot bath once or twice a week. Maybe it’s going to a yoga class or for a run. Maybe it’s reading a book just for fun. Maybe it’s meditating or praying in a quiet room.
Pick one thing and do it. Be selfish about it. Write it on your significant other’s calendar or call a babysitter if you have to so you know the kids will be taken care of without you.
Once you get in the habit of carving out a little time for yourself try to carve out more. And more. Until everyday you find yourself doing something just for you. It can be small and quick so long as it truly is something that fills you.
I know, you’re thinking, “Gee, that’s easy for you to say” — but trust me, I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for you. So to prove I’m really trying to do better about taking care of me, I’ll be posting on Instagram as I go this month. Join me and use #iwillcareforme
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