We all know we need to take care of ourselves before we can truly expect to take care of others. But, as parents, it can very quickly feel like there is not enough time in the day to do this. I will admit that recently I’ve been terrible at my own self-care. Even though self-care is so important to me, it’s the first thing that goes by the wayside when my days get busy. So, good news! You all get a blog post about it so I can hold myself more accountable in this department. Yay, you! 🙂
When I’m doubting whether or not I am worthy of self-care, it always helps me to remember this quote from Eleanor Brown: “Self care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Of all the quotes out there about self-care, this one is my favorite. It’s succinct, matter-of-fact and straight to the point. Also, I feel like it’s very easy to remember. While I’m not big on affirmations, because they make me feel weird, saying this to myself every time I get that twinge of guilt when I’m feeling indulgent helps me bring it around. The guilt is not necessary. If anyone cares that you’re taking care of yourself and feels you are not worthy, they can go suck an egg. For me, and I’m guessing for the majority of the population, the only person that doubts whether or not it’s OK for me to take care of myself is me. It helps me to keep that fact in mind as well. Anyways, you’re here to learn 5 ways to take care of yourself in a busy day, so let’s get into it.
1. Take a minute to enjoy the simple things in life.
What are some of the little things that bring you joy? Maybe it’s something like lighting a candle with a scent that makes you feel all gooey inside. Perhaps it’s petting your cat with her soft pretty kitty fur. Sometimes I like to feel fancy and sprinkle a little cinnamon on my coffee grounds before brewing it in the morning. It’s such a simple thing that takes all of 3 seconds and brings a smile to my face and spring into my step. The spring in my step may be partly due to the caffeine but it’s extra springy with cinnamon flavored caffeine.
2. Enjoy a podcast or audio-book during menial tasks.
This one has been an absolute game-changer for me. Instead of housework being this dreaded, boring, life-sucking task, it’s almost become enjoyable. Being real, it’s still not my favorite. BUT, when I’m listening to an awesome podcast or a captivating audio-book, I’m transported to another place entirely. My mind is engaged and the cleaning just ends up going on auto-pilot. I find myself doing extra cleaning tasks just to listen a little bit longer. So, that’s a total bonus. More gets done and I still feel like I’m getting a bit of a break in the busy day. Plus, the hard evidence of the work is always a great payoff too. But this could work for when you’re driving your kids to million practices, rehearsals and what have you. It could give you a quiet task to do while your kids are napping. You could do this while you’re walking the dog or taking your baby out in their stroller. The possibilities are endless! Go find some awesome content and enjoy!
3. Get some time for yourself before your kids wake up.
I’m a big proprietor of waking up before your kids get up. This is so important for me when it comes to self-care. I have a heck of a time getting out of bed in the morning sometimes. All I want to do is keep sleeping because I LOVE to sleep. I loved it long before I had children and I still love it. I will always love sleep. (You got that I love to sleep, right?) Well, I also love starting my day proactively instead of reactively. I always have a way better day when I wake up and start my day with some purpose. I take some time for myself to drink a cup of coffee, read a book (usually in the personal growth genre), and generally veg out and plan my day before it’s time to get movin’. Because of this, my days tend to run more smoothly. Part of it is probably the planning aspect. The other part is just getting myself into that positive-let’s-get-er-done place. So, when challenges do arise in my day, I don’t really sweat it because I’m already feeling good and ain’t nothin’ gonna bring me down. Give it a try. Getting out of bed is always difficult, regardless of the time. Get out of bed at a time that’s most worth it for you.
4. Move around.
I have a confession to make. I’m not very good at getting exercise in every day. I don’t prioritize it as much as I would like to. However, when I do start my day with a little exercise, there is a noticeable difference. My usual exercise of choice is power walking with my dog. Sometimes it’s more of a stroll around the neighborhood enjoying a podcast, but most of the time, I’m still enjoying a podcast and I’m walking as fast as I can without running. In theory, I’d like to run, but my knees just aren’t built to sustain that kind of exercise regularly. I also enjoy swimming and yoga. Whatever your favorite form of movement is, try to do like 10-15 minutes of it each morning. It doesn’t have to be crazy movement. You don’t even need to break a sweat. Just do something that gets your blood flowing and doesn’t hurt. Exercise helps to keep your body healthy (Duh, Momma Caped Nerd, we know!). It helps to slow signs of aging. It elevates your overall mood and it just improves everything. Whatever is keeping you from exercising, try to overcome it. Do some yoga stretches while your kiddo finishes their breakfast, do squats as you pick up the toys. Just fit it in however works best for you and you’ll be set up to have a great day.
5. Use more positive self-talk.
We are 100% our own worst critics. When I make a mistake at something, my immediate compulsion is to go into an obsessing thought process where I think of how I should have done things differently. I think of how wrong whatever I did was, and tell myself that I suck and I can’t do anything right. This is a common occurrence in all of us and it’s disgusting. I’m not entirely sure what it was in my upbringing or societal influences or whatever that causes this knee-jerk reaction, but I always need to pull myself out of that place. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself the same talk that you would give a good friend in the same situation. For example: Imagine that you forgot to get the healthy dinner you planned for tonight started at a decent time because you were too caught up in the latest episode of Handmaid’s Tale during nap time. So, instead of those delicious veggies, chicken, and grains that you were planning on, your kids are now eating freezer burritos and ramen for dinner because that’s all you had time to make for them before they need to get ready for bed. You might say to yourself “Wow, I’m the worst mom ever. I can’t even feed my kids a nutritious meal because I’m too selfish and couldn’t pry myself away from the TV.” Consider if your best friend confessed to you that they had done this. Would you call her the worst mom ever? Would you tell her she’s too selfish to give her kids a nutritious meal? OF COURSE NOT! You would tell her that she’s only human and we all make mistakes. You would tell her that she works hard and she deserves to indulge in a little television from time to time. You would tell her that her kids will survive one night of freezer burritos and ramen. They’ll probably drink more water so woohoo for hydration, right? The way we talk to ourselves should be the same way we talk to our best friend. Cut yourself some slack. Love yourself. You’re awesome and you deserve it. The nicer we are to ourselves, the better we are as parents and as people in general.
I hope that you can start implementing these tidbits of self care in your daily life. As they say, “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” You need to be able to handle life as it comes at you without it bringing you to your knees. By taking care of yourself, you can remain strong and enjoy your life. You can be most useful to your family and friends if you’re rolling with a full tank. You deserve every ounce of self-love. You deserve to see yourself as your friends and family do, or maybe even an inflated version of that. You’re doing the dang thing every day. You are awesome. Don’t forget it.
Much love and productive vibes,
Momma Caped Nerd ❤
Do you have questions or suggestions for Momma Caped Nerd? Did this post inspire or help you in any way? Let me know by leaving a comment below or by visiting my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you!