It’s seems like everywhere I turn, someone is talking about the importance of practicing self care. And while I love me a good pedicure or manicure, those tips for self care aren’t really going to help you in the long run.
Why? Because the effects of a manicure…like the nail polish they put on…it wears off.
It’s not sustainable. Let me explain.
An old roommate of mine had recently gotten married and we decided to catch up over a manicure date. When we got to the salon, we both sat down next to each other. And while both of us had our nails worked on, we chatted about life, love, and what was next for each of us. Then, it was over and we went home.
I drove home that day feeling excited for my friend and what was next in her life, but I also felt a deep sadness. Our time together wasn’t long enough. All in all, we spent maybe 20 minutes together and then in the middle of that we had interruptions from other people throughout our conversation.
This story is classic of what we tend to think of when we think about self care. Self care is something you do because you know you need it. Then practicing those “traditional” tips for self care, you think it will really help, but in the end it doesn’t. It’s not long enough and often you end up craving more. Then you have to do it over and over.
So what’s the problem? This isn’t true self care. Then how do we fix it?
I actually think that self care is something that most of our culture is confused about it. And before we can start talking about my two practical tips for making self care a priority—I think it’s really important for us to know what self care is and what it isn’t.
What is self care?
Let’s talk a moment to walk through some different definitions of self care.
“care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.”
The World Health Organization defines self care as;
“the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
While the dictionary and organizations like the WHO have put together their own definitions, still as individuals, we have our own self care ideas.
What people are saying about self care.
Maria Baratta said in a Psychology Today article called Self Care 101, she describes self care like this,
“Self care in essence is the mindful taking of time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.”
To give you a peak into tips for self care on an every day level, here’s something I saw on social media.
“Self care doesn’t have to be a fancy manicure or a massage. Self care can be a bag of chips and a binge watching marathon. Do what works for you.”
Really? This is self care… I don’t think so, and I’ll tell you why.
Please note: Typically I’d reference where or who said this. But in this case, I’m deliberately not giving credit and I want them to remain anonymous at this point.
After looking over all of these definitions…
I really began to see why self care is such a struggle for us. We’re all confused about what it really is and what it really means. I mean some things that people talk about as self care—is really self care for me.
So if you’re going to prioritize self care in your life, I think the first thing to do is to really define better what self care is and what self care really means. Then, you can really integrate self care ideas into your life. In fact I have a whole list of these—maybe even some you haven’t thought of before today.
As I’ve worked to make self care a priority in my own life, this is what I think self care really means.
What does self care mean?
Self care is looking at every area of your life and being intentional to be healthy in each area. Some more aptly call this wellness or your overall well being. This is true self care. And true self care ensures that you don’t lose it as a mom.
We all know what yelling mom looks like.
I’ve been there and I don’t like it. I can bet you don’t like it either. And when you are living true self care, you actually enjoy being a mom.
There’s highs and lows—but you embrace everything.
You thrive on the phrase, this too shall pass. Because you realize that life has both good times and bad times. It’s not dismissing that life is hard or that life is great—you’re able to look at both positively. In all things you can give thanks.
This is why my 2 practical tips for self care really help you to make self care a priority in your life. Because once you recognize what self care really is—you’re no longer practicing self care—your living it.
2 Tips for Self Care that help you you make it a priority.
Here’s my 2 practical tips for self care that have helped me to make self care a regular part of my life.
1. Tips for Self Care – Schedule regular rhythms of rest.
By far this is probably the biggest contributor to why nearly everyone feels like they need to “practice” self care. It’s because they’re so busy in life that there’s little rest and we become weary.
I actually talk about how the best resolution for the new year—is to rest more. If we just rested more, then self care would be a lifestyle, not a quick fix.
2. Tips for Self Care – Do what you love.
Think about it, when was the last thing you really did something that you love to do?
As moms, because we often put ourselves last, that means that the very things we love to do, don’t happen either. That’s what it was like for my friend Beth. She felt like she was losing herself in motherhood.
But you can really find yourself in motherhood—and by doing those things you love.
What is the best self care?
To sum it up, when you do these 2 tips for self care—scheduled rest and doing the things you love—you’re no longer “practicing” self care. You’re living it. It’s a normal part of your life. And that really brings me to the whole point of this post—a lifestyle of self care is the best self care.
How do I know?
I get asked a lot what my self care routine is and how I do it. Because people notice a difference in me. So here’s how I do these 2 tips for self care in my own life.
What is your self care routine?
REST: Yearly I take the month of January to rest. Then I schedule rest into my life every 12 weeks throughout the year. Every week I set aside a 24 hour period of rest. Every day I build rest into my day. Starting with my morning routine, two 15 minute breaks, then finish my day with a nightly routine.
DOING WHAT I LOVE TO DO: Daily, I read and write. Every week I create something new. I also spend time outdoors weekly—it’s a part of my 10 things you need to be a healthy mom. Because it’s been said that someone who spends a minimum of 2 hours outside each week is healthier than those who don’t. I also make sure that I am doing new things that I love. I continue to grow this and nurture it in dreaming and becoming inspired.
But I also want to give you a caution here—that if nothing changes, nothing changes. If you aren’t intentional about making true self care a part of your life—then nothing will change.
What are some examples of self care?
I’ve put together a list of traditional examples of self care, and these tips for self care might be what you can do to make self care a priority. But remember, true self care that is healthy, is regularly a part of your life and adds to your overall wellness.
- drink a cup of coffee or tea
- do some coloring with your favorite crayons
- take up photography
- start a blog
- take a cooking class
- call a friend
- clean/organize/start clearing the clutter
- take a bubble bath
- do a home mani/pedi with my DIY lemon sugar scrub recipe
- read a new book
- make cards and send to friends, family, or strangers
- light a candle
- do a youtube yoga routine
- make a list of people you’re grateful for
- leave positive reviews for the purchases and places that you love
- create a happy list – list all the things that make you happy
- watch a funny movie, or maybe a good Hallmark movie (without a whole bag of chips)
- create a music playlist
- have a solo dance party
- Take a long shower—I crank up my music for this! Adele is my favorite!
- make a bucket list (for when quarantine is over)
- listen to an inspirational podcast
- paint your nails
- sign up for an online course (lots are free right now)
- research something that you’ve always wanted to do—like raising chickens, throwing pottery, painting, or photography.
- bake some chocolate chip cookies
- create a dream board on Pinterest
- visit a botanical garden
- plan a personal retreat
- listen to a podcast
- do a prayer walk
- redecorate a room in your home
- jump in mud puddles in the rain
There’s so many ways to integrate self care into your life as a rhythm, not just something that you do every once and awhile. And even though eating a whole bag of potato chips or an entire tub of ice cream while binge watching Hallmark movies makes you feel good for a time. Remember, this isn’t among the good tips for self care because it actually decreases your overall health.
Self Care as a Stay at Home Mom
I mentioned a little how I take breaks even during my day as a stay at home mom. But I’ll finish with a story that really sums up these 2 practical tips for self care that I’ve shared with you.
Sue was a stay at home mom to two kids. When her kids were young, her husband, would come home on Friday nights a little earlier from work. They’d have a family dinner, then Sue would get out of the house Friday night—either alone, to a coffee shop, or to meet with a friend. Not to get groceries! It was always “her time” away.
She was certain that doing this every week—resting and then planning to do things that she loved, really helped her to thrive as a mom.
After reading Sue’s story, what do you think?
Is this something that your husband would be open to doing, to help you live true self care?
What is something else you learned in this post, for how to make self care a priority? Is there something new that you’d like to try, but in the past thought you couldn’t do it?