I feel like ‘self-care’ is a term that is thrown around as a blanketed heading for any and all excuses to do something for yourself. I hear people doing things in the name of self-care – when honestly they are just exercising selfishness or trying to draw attention to themselves for unnecessary reasons. But the truth is, that self-care should be something that you are intentionally doing in order to take care of yourself on a day to day basis. It should be things that take care of you mentally, physically, and emotionally. It should be about YOU and YOU alone.
“Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.”
Oftentimes we are too focused on how we can/should take care of those around us. As Mothers, we too often put our children’s or partner’s needs before our own. And while that is a way to show love to the ones we love – you can’t live your life doing that all the time. The best analogy I’ve ever heard is relating self care vs caring for others to how airplane safety speeches always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before you put one on your child’s or whoever else is seated near you that you want to assist. It’s really simple when you think of it that way: you can’t adequately or effectively take care of someone else if you haven’t first taken care of yourself. If you can’t breathe, how can you possibly help someone else?
We’re big on self-care around here at Rage Against the MOMachine. We’re big on not losing ourselves in this thing we call parenthood. So I thought, it would perfectly poignant to share with you guys some of the ways I practice self-care on a daily basis.
- BATHS. Do you follow us on Snapchat? (ashley.sumrall & theboymom) Well if you did, you’d know we love a nice scalding bath. We each take one every single day. Why? We need that downtime. That me time. We often take a drink with us to the bath too. You’re killing two birds with one stone too: getting physically clean, and getting mentally/emotionally cleansed from the day. Shut the bathroom door and immerse yourself in hot water and let your mind and body relax.
- GETTING READY FIRST. My kids know that Mommy has to get ready first before we can go anywhere or do anything. I make sure that I allot myself time to stand in front of my mirror and apply as little or as much makeup that I deem necessary for the day. I fix my hair and put on my clothes before I tend to my children. It’s important for my psyche that I get myself set and ready to face the day. It makes me a better me and a much better mom. It makes me feel good about myself which in turn affects how I treat others.
- SAYING ‘NO’ WHEN I FEEL OVERWHELMED. Now for some people this may just be second nature. But I’m a super people pleaser. It is incredibly hard for me to say no, especially if I feel like I’m inconveniencing someone else..or possibly disappointing someone else. So, I have to intentionally take a step back and realize my own limitations and make sure that I say ‘no’ before I set myself up for failure.
- GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE. Now, I’m an extreme introvert – but that does not mean that I prefer the hermit lifestyle. The idea of spending an entire day at home and not ever leaving, sounds pretty dismal to me. I don’t mind being out and about where the people are – doesn’t mean I want to interact with them…I just need to be among them sometimes to do things like go to Target or Starbucks or Old Navy or the park or the splash pad or the beach…and so on and so on and so on. If I have my kids, I of course have to bargain with them…let’s go do THIS thing for Mommy, and then I’ll do THIS thing for you. Or sometimes my need to escape the house is satisfied by a purely kid driven trip. Either way: I’m out of the house for a bit.
- SLEEP IN. Man, I love sleeping, and when I get the chance to sleep until my little heart’s content – I take full advantage. If I don’t have my kids, or if their dad is there to take care of them…I sleep sleep sleep until I’m ready to get up. I usually have things to do or things I want to do (like getting out of the house by a decent hour so I can retreat back to my house for that introvert healing time) – so 10 am is the latest I usually sleep in now. But hey, it’s better than my typical 5:30 am wake up call. Sleep is important for physical health – for anyone. But getting enough and quality sleep is important for MY emotional health as well. It’s literally a necessity, but I need to take it past the necessity line and indulge a little in order to reap alll the benefits it offers to me. 😉
A lot of times we are doing things like I mentioned without too much extra thought. Sometimes, you’ve been doing something in the name of self-care for so long that it has just become habit for you. That’s fantastic. However, sometimes we need to find new ways to practice self-care…or find any way at all to give yourself that extra care you need in order to function. I always like hearing how others practice self-care, and I hope that maybe I’ve helped one of you recognize an important way that they can and should be taking care of yourself!
Tell me, what are ways that you guys practice self-care?