Realistic Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care
Self-care is a buzzword for moms these days. With technology constantly enabling us to do many more things in the span of a day, the expectations for how much we do have grown exponentially since our own childhoods. Before I moved to Ohio and had kids, I regularly practiced yoga. I got regular pedicures. I read books – actual books, not audio books or from a kindle. I had an exercise policy – if I didn’t earn my shower (meaning I didn’t sweat enough to feel gross), I didn’t get to shower that day. Today as I write this, I truly cannot remember the last time I took a yoga class that wasn’t screen-based from home. Earning my shower? I actually laughed out loud even thinking about enforcing that with myself these days. The other two? Forget about it. Seriously. Those are just not even on my radar anymore.
The obvious takeaway from this is that I don’t prioritize myself – and this is a common mom trait. But this is a pretty serious problem. Taking time for yourself to do things that truly nurture you is essential to your well-being. We need to start thinking about ‘me-time’ as essential, because it is. Of course, we treat it more like a luxury and spend time guiltily thinking about what else we could have done with that time. So, let’s be accountable to each other. Let’s change that. Here are a few tips!
Find your motivation. Write it down.
What’s your WHY for self-care? For most of us, this is easy to answer because we want to be there for our kids and set a great example. However, that will often not be enough of a motivating factor, so really think about some of the things that you would like to change that could benefit from a little more ‘me-time.’
Are you too stressed out to really connect with your kids? Do you want to set a good example? Do you feel like your attention span is too short for meaningful interaction? Are you having a hard time falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning? Do you battle constant exhaustion? Do you have a really loud self-critic?
Whatever your motivation, figure it out, and write it down. I find that using a daily planner is really helpful for this.
Take 5-10 Minutes EVERY DAY for a walk outside without your phone.
Humans in the age of technology desperately need time for reflection, meditation, walks in nature, or more sleep. When our to-do list keeps growing, we can’t seem to find the time to nourish ourselves. So let’s start REALLY basic here – take a walk outside.
This sounds trite and probably even ridiculous to some, but giving yourself time with nature is exceptionally beneficial, especially to you moms out there like me who legitimately feel like they have no time for themselves. I promise 10 minutes outside every day is an attainable goal, but more importantly, it will help you realize just how much more time is actually available with a little re-prioritization.
However, it doesn’t count if you’re using technology. Talk a walk without your phone and give yourself this time to be alone with your thoughts. If you have a dog, walk the dog. Every day.
Try 5-Minute Meditations
If you’re still stuck in a world where you can’t seem to make time for self-care, even with your motives clear, try a really simple daily 5-10 minute meditation practice. Don’t think you have enough time for the workout you REALLY want to do? Some of that isn’t lack of time, it’s lack of something else (hint – it has to do with prioritization).
Meditation is a keystone habit. Taking a walk outdoors is a form of meditation, but if you’re not able to turn off your thoughts (needing to be within arm’s reach of technology is a serious red flag here), it may benefit you to actively train your brain through guided meditations. Meditating with regularity has a ripple effect throughout your life and has the potential to bring about a lot of positive change, and it has a tendency to help you when you prioritize where your hours go. Therefore, if you’re wanting to have more “me time” in your life, meditation is an excellent place to start. It doesn’t have to be hours a week, either. Just 5 minutes a day can bring about great change. Check out this free 30 Day Meditation Challenge – lots of women have used this and similar programs to start meaningful daily meditation practices that stick.
Motivated and prioritizing that ‘me-time’ now? Awesome! Here are a few practical steps to create a new habit so you keep that ‘me-time’ in the forefront.
Create a family calendar using Gmail, and put ALL of your self-care on it. Yoga class? Calendar it. Pedicure? Calendar it. Then make sure that your entire family knows you’re not available during those hours. In my family, if it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t actually happen, so block time.
Just having your events on a calendar isn’t enough for you to remember them. You have to remind yourself, and your family, that they’re there too. Set reminders. Then remember to remind your family too, because there’s nothing worse than being all zen-ready for yoga, about to head out the door, hearing the dreaded “I NEED HELP WIPING!!” from the bathroom, quickly followed by your husband asking, “Honey, can you handle it this time?” Way better to already be out the door! (and yes, this is a true-life example, thanks for asking)
Start saying no more often
Saying no is important, but for people who don’t prioritize themselves, it can be downright stressful. Saying yes all the time means your schedule gets filled with other people’s priorities, leaving no time left for you. There’s nothing wrong with a default response of “let me get back you” – just always remember to actually get back to them. Be honest with yourself about what brings you joy and just say no to the things that exhaust you. It’s OK to say no.
The biggest thing to remember about changing your approach to ‘me-time’ is that change is 20% insight, but 80% action. Making small steps to altering your daily routine can have huge impacts, so when in doubt, take those baby steps. And, seriously, take a walk outside. You will not regret it.
Adapted from Source: How to Squeeze “Me Time” Into Your Busy Schedule | The Local Moms Network
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