Part of being committed to better health and wellness this year includes better self-care and more self-love. To be honest, this is not something I’m great at but it’s something I’m constantly working on improving.
If you’re anything like me, you tirelessly (or better yet, tiredly) care for everyone and everything around you before you take a moment to care for yourself. You constantly feel drained mentally and physically and you just can’t figure out how to “stop and smell the roses.”
In reading more on self-care and self-love lately, I’ve gathered 10 ways to practice self-care for myself so that I can better care for my family and others.
My husband can easily tell when I’m getting worked up and will often remind me to breathe. He usually walks me through 3 or 4 deep breathes before moving on to whatever we were discussing or doing. When he isn’t with me and I can tell I need to take a step back and just breathe, my new Fitbit Charge 3 has a “Relax” setting that will walk me through a 2 or 5 minute deep breathing session. A lot of times when I’m not even worked up, before I go back to work from my lunch break, I will sit and go through a 2-minute “relax” deep breathing session just to start the afternoon on a calm level.
This is something that I’ve gotten lax about doing lately and am starting to work back in to my routine. I find writing very therapeutic. For me, writing in my journal is much different than writing on my blog. Writing in my journal allows me to pour my heart out to God and share my fears, as well as my aspirations in a completely judgment free area. Writing on my blog allows me to share what God put on my heart for others.
3. Take a nap and/or get enough sleep at night
This is so important and so neglected for a lot of people. Your body restores itself while you sleep. The more sleep and better sleep you get, the better equipped you will be to handle all life throws your way.
4. Take a bath/shower
Self-care is so important and that includes all the proper hygiene that comes along with it. Sometimes the most relaxing thing you can do after a long, energy-draining day is hop in the shower and let the hot water wash all your cares away. Throw in some calming essential oils and breathe in the relaxation.
5. Create a consistent routine for mornings and bedtime
This is difficult for me because some mornings, I sleep long enough to barely get myself and my daughter ready before having to run out the door for daycare drop-off and work. But if I can manage to get up, have some quiet time, get a workout and shower in, get us fed and out the door on time, I always find my day goes smoother and my mood is happier.
When it comes to the evening routine, on weeknights especially, we tend to go until we can’t anymore. We get home. We eat dinner. We play a little. While Katheryn is taking her bath, I’m usually getting her pajamas out, her medicine measured, and even folding some laundry. After she’s done bathing, we get dressed for bed, read stories, rock and get little bird to bed. After all that is complete, it’s time for mama and dada to wind down for bed ourselves. Ideally, we get to spend some quality time together. We get the kitchen cleaned up from dinner. We check the weather and get clothes ready for the next day.
Routines are hard. But if you can start off your day with some semblance of order and finish your day with some organized completion, you will work better throughout the day and sleep better at night.
6. Read a good book and/or bible study
During times when I make a concerted effort to read personal or spiritual growth books and/or bible studies, I notice a huge difference in my attitude and outlook on life. My mind is centered on things above and my heart is centered in God’s love. When you need a pick-me-up, it might be time you pick up a good book.
7. Spend more time in God’s Word and pray constantly
This builds on number six but I can’t stress enough how getting your mind focused on God’s truths will help stabilize you to make better decisions, help you think before you react in difficult situations and keep a positive outlook on life in general. When times are tough, it is so important to take your cares to the Lord through prayer. Even when you can’t speak, your tears, your thoughts, your groans will carry your concerns to Him. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:27 (NLT), “Never stop praying.”
One of my favorite movie quotes is by Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in Legally Blonde. She says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Friends, get moving. Exercise really does help lift your mood and help you feel better about yourself.
A cluttered space causes a cluttered mind and a cluttered mind causes stress, mistakes and overwhelm. Take the time to clear the counters, clean your desktop, and cut the excess from your life. Excess stuff just collects dust and causes more work in the long run.
10. Take care of yourself by getting your hair or nails done or getting a massage
I’ve been a mom for almost two years and I’ve probably only had my hair cut and highlighted three times. The last time I went, I pre-scheduled my next appointment 12 weeks out. It may be a little further apart than most people normally schedule but I needed to start somewhere more frequently than every six months. Taking time to get your hair done, get your nails manicured, and/or getting a massage is good for your soul because if you feel good on the outside, it helps you feel good on the inside. If you feel good inside and out, it helps you love yourself more which in turn helps you love others more.