I’ve always been a person who needs self-care pretty often. I love socializing with friends, taking care of Watson, striving to give my relationship with Brandon the time it deserves, working whenever I can fit it in throughout the day, and spending as much time as I can with my parents and other family. But even though these are things I choose to do because they make me happy, there’s not a lot of time left at the end of it all for myself. And when I don’t carve out that time for self-care, I can feel it negatively in all aspects of my life. I bet so many of you can relate.
Before having Watson, self-care was easy. I had a lot of alone time… basically whenever I wanted it or needed it. But as a bunch of you know first hand, being a mama is the fullest of all the full-time jobs. Like, no sick days. No “Nah, don’t feel like having responsibilities today” kind of days. You’re in it to win it, girl. At all times. Which is amazing and wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for one thing else in the whole world, but geez…. it’s tiring!
On that same note, I’ve realized that when I feel at the end of my rope and spread a little thin, it reflects on the type of wife, mom, daughter, and friend that I am. But when I practice self-care and put myself first for a moment or two, it really helps in all aspects.
Today I’m sharing my best tips for self-care. Just some things I do personally that center my focus back onto myself and leave me feeling more focused, refreshed, and generally more fulfilled because self-care makes me happy. I hope this inspires you to take some moments for yourself because at the end of the day, you’ve got to make sure you’re taken care of before you can totally take care of anyone else, right?
1. Make your health a priority.
It’s easier said than done, but when I do this, it rewards me tenfold. I believe the key is making it a habit. To do this, start with small changes that are totally realistic. Here are some simple things you can add into your routine to be more healthy.
- Drink a glass of warm lemon water each morning before anything else. See all the benefits?
- Get up to date on all of your checkups and doctor’s appointments. Annual mole check? Bi-Annual teeth cleaning? I know, not fun.
- Exercise regularly. My gym has childcare, so I try to go there 3x per week and then take walks the other days of the week. I also don’t exercise hardcore… easy does it for me. Just being active period is what you need to feel the benefits emotionally! Go for a walk or on a hike. Long walks outside in the fresh air has to be the most mind-clearing thing I can possible do for myself.
- Get enough sleep. I used to stay up until 1 or 2am every single night working and I could not break that habit for the life of me. But it worked when I stopped making unreasonable goals. How could I go from staying up until 2am to going to bed at 10pm? That was too big of a difference. So I slowly started making my bedtime earlier and earlier. Now I start winding down for bed around 10:30pm and go to sleep around 11:30pm. Still a ways to go (I’d like to be asleep by 11pm), but I’m getting there and I feel so much better because of it.
- Eat healthy. Again, little changes add up to big ones. I started keeping about every fruit known to man in our house because Watson adores fruit and now I do too. I crave it, so that was an easy snack replacement for me. Turns out, oranges > Cheetos. I also started adding collagen to my coffee!
2. Get off social media.
Just a little break, even. And that can look different for everyone… Maybe it’s a boycott for a day once in a while or maybe you can remove some of that temptation to check social media. I totally deleted Snapchat and Facebook off my phone and that has been huge. I literally have just two things to browse on my phone now—email and instagram. The email app would go bye-bye too if I didn’t have business emails coming through. But still, I have all notifications turned off. So I have no clue when an email comes through or when something happens on instagram. It’s been nice.
And y’all know this, but sometimes I take days off at a time from blogging and posting on social media. At the end of the day, it’s a job for me and I should always treat it that way and make myself consistently post, but sharing online can be draining sometimes. I try not to beat myself up if I take a day (or four) off here and there.
3. Schedule alone time.
For me, alone time is key every now and then. There’s science behind it—alone time is really good for you. So I try to do something that makes me feel happy and relaxed during that time. Think about what brings you joy. Maybe it’s shopping or maybe it’s going to a coffee shop to read a book. Whatever it is, carve out the time and go do it. And for you mamas, I know “carving out the time” is so much easier said than done. Babysitters are expensive and hard to find on a whim or in the middle of the day. We enrolled Watson in a “mother’s morning out” program, which you can find at a lot of churches and preschools. He goes twice per week for three hours each day. The time goes by insanely quick, but I can’t tell you how nice it has been to be able to run errands (or do nothing at all!) totally by myself. I also will sometimes plan my alone time for after Brandon gets home and can take over on daddy-duty.
4. Clean the house.
This may sound totally crazy to think that vacuuming could be a form of self-care, but I swear by the claim that a clean environment will help give you a clear mind and soul. If you have the means, hire someone to do it for you. We splurged a little in our last house and had someone come once per month to do a big clean and it was worth every penny. It really just came at a good time for us as we were both learning to balance life as first time parents. Plus, I fully believe that the best way to spend your money is to create more time for yourself, which then leads to joy. (I encourage you to read this article!) We stopped with the cleaning crew since moving to our new house, but I’ve honestly enjoyed taking my frustrations out on the floorboards. It’s hard for me to dedicate multiple hours per week to cleaning all at once, but I’ve started devoting 15 minutes or so every day to cleaning and it has helped a lot. Sometimes I feel like I’m picking up after Watson all day long, but if I don’t, the mess adds up and starts to overwhelm me. And then I don’t know where to start. So I definitely encourage consistently keeping things tidy to have a clear, happy mind!
5. Be mindful to reduce stress.
Everything on this list should help with stress relief, but try and practice at least one thing per day to ease your mind. Take a warm bath with epsom salt (I love the Dr. Teal’s Lavender kind). Put on a face mask and play some spa music in the background. Plan a hot date with your husband. Get in bed early and read a good book. Download one of those meditation apps. Lay still in silence. (I’ve started doing this sometimes during Watson’s naps and it has been life-changing.) Go to a yoga class. Have a wine night with your girlfriends. Smile more. Write positive affirmations. Tell your family you love them. Take tasks and thoughts out of your mind by making to-do lists and journaling. These are some of my stress-reducing activities. What are some of your favorite stress-reducing activities?
6. Buy yourself something nice.
A little treat or a big splurge. A new lipstick or a pair of earrings you’ve been eyeing. Maybe it’s even a $5 bouquet of flowers at Trader Joes that you really don’t need. You work hard and you deserve it.