Self-care. The phrase sounds simple enough. Who doesn’t want to take care of herself? However, as partners, moms and friends, sometimes caring for ourselves become the last priority. Self-care is a requirement, not a luxury. When I feel grounded and centered, I am much more capable of fulfilling commitments to my family, students, and colleagues. I have to remind myself of this quite often, even though it’s something I teach to my clients on a regular basis. I am teetering on 17 months post-partum, and I am just starting to feel as though I am making strides in prioritizing my self-care.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean a day at the spa or a girls’ weekend away, although I believe those are important too. Let’s begin to think of self-care as a daily practice, a meditation on creating personal space: mentally, physically and emotionally. In this space, you are recommitting to your well-being.
Here’s are the small things that I am trying to do throughout the day to make self-care a daily practice:
Morning: Begin the day with ten long deep breaths.
When my alarm goes off, I used to reach for my phone and begin checking email. Now I stay in bed and take ten conscious breaths to honor the day and honor myself. This sets an intention for my whole day to slow down and acknowledge the transitions between each appointment on my schedule.
Mid-Day: Actually eat lunch.
This one is the hardest. I am on the go between teaching, meetings and trying to keep up with what I lovingly call “desk work” (emails, texts, marketing, accounting, etc.). So many times I am eating lunch while meeting with people, checking emails, or writing materials like ahem blog posts. I am challenging myself to sit down and eat lunch without distractions. This helps me to feel full, to pay more attention to my dining choices (no drive throughs or snacks as meals), and the best outcome is that free space is usually where my mind wanders and I come up with new business and marketing ideas.
Evening: Limit device use from dinner to bedtime.
My husband and I have such little time to connect one-on-one. If we aren’t discussing our schedules, one of us is making sure the toddler doesn’t fall down stairs, while the other is putting clothes in the wash or emptying the dishwasher. “Just a minute” to check email or Facebook can easily end up being half an hour. Putting our phones and computers away at night allows us to focus on one another, whether that’s while cooking dinner together, discussing fun plans for family outings, or quietly watching a favorite show.
Start small! Observing when you are feeling least like yourself can help you to prioritize where you should set your intention for self-care. Trust that whatever little steps you take are enough and remember, you are worth it!