Self-care. Maybe you’ve tried it before and it didn’t last. Maybe as a mom this makes you laugh ‘til you pee. “Oh yeah, sure I’ll pencil that right in after the kids are in bed, the house is clean, dishes aren’t piled up, laundry is done- and put away, the dog’s had a bath, the garage is organized, bills are paid… oh who are we kidding?!” Self-care is usually seen as a selfish luxury, not necessity. But I promise you; this is not a dirty word.
I was recently at an Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa awareness day event and got to hear Becky Henry speak, author of Just Tell Her to Stop. She told her story as caregiver for her daughter with an eating disorder. I learned about putting it into practice (or trying) when I was pregnant and undergoing partial hospital treatment for bulimia four years ago. Self-care is an incredibly important topic, not just in the eating disorder community. As a mom it was eye opening to hear her describe it. She gave the analogy of a flight attendant reminding you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping the child next to you. That’s right, you can’t help those around you unless you are prepared. In that case preparation means survival and oxygen mask. But what about our daily lives as moms?
It really is as simple as it sounds. Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. As moms we show care to our kids all day long, every day. We truly need time dedicated to just us that isn’t part of the greater to-do list. Give yourself permission to be in the moment and focus on your needs. You are more than a mom, wife, employee, or whatever labels rest on your shoulders. You are a human body and soul deserving of revitalization.
Self-care comes in many forms and is unique to everyone. It doesn’t have to be expensive spa trips or luxury retreats. It can be a hot bath, reading a book that has been taunting you from the bookcase, journaling, painting your nails or your favorite guilty pleasure Netflix show. Make a coffee date and reconnect with a friend. Try a new hobby. Do something good for your body like going for a walk, eating a nutritious meal, try meditation, go to bed early or dance like no one’s watching.
Without nurturing ourselves we risk fatigue and burnout. That trickles down and affects everything we do. No, that’s not just part of the motherhood territory. It doesn’t have to be. It’s NOT selfish; it’s a necessity. Pencil it in if you have to, although ink is preferable. Schedule time for you to unwind and refresh. Let’s teach our children it’s important to care for ourselves in order to better help others. Whatever your self-care is, let it be your time. Don’t let the world creep in and distract you from the importance of you.