We’re all familiar with the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” That’s because it’s true. If we don’t recharge our bodies and minds, we can’t give support to others who depend on us.
This is particularly important right now. While we are all muddling through the “what’s next” of pandemic living, many of us are not looking after ourselves.
With children having been underfoot for the past four months, job security and work-from-home options being uncertain, and no clear direction for the upcoming school year, parents (moms especially) are feeling the strain.
So how do we make that all-important self-care a priority?
Something that I think is important to note: while things like “taking a shower” should never be classed as self-care, they can be tasks that fall off your consistency list, only because they are less necessary when you’re holed up at home. To ensure your basic needs are met, work with your partner or children and develop a routine so you don’t “forget” to shower.
Schedule time to yourself
This is especially important if you are the main caregiver of your children. You choose what you would like to do with the time, but make sure to find this time every week.
Some ideas to make good use of your alone time:
- Read a book
- Sit outside
- Go for a walk
- Take a drive and sing along to your favourite music
- Watch a show or movie
- Play video games
- Give yourself a facial or mani-pedi (or something else that feels indulgent to you)
- Eat something sinful
Put your self-care time into your family’s weekly schedule. Make sure your partner is on board, and make sure they get the same amount of time for themselves as well. Literally put it in a calendar that everyone will see so you can truly enjoy some DND time.
Get outside and get active
Time in nature is said to be restorative. Fresh air and sunshine lifts the spirits and reconnects us to the natural world.
Moving your body outdoors gives you the benefit of exercise and fresh air. Whether you take a walk around the block, do yoga on your patio or balcony, or just simply “be” outdoors, you will feel some of your stress melting away.
Bonus points to you if you can encourage your children to get active outside with you. I know it defeats “time to yourself” when you include the children, but kids love to explore, and you can experience a leisurely stroll while they stop and look at every rock and bug.
Related: Keep your family safe outdoors
Since everyone is at home a lot more right now, make sure you’re taking advantage of this situation.
My daughters are 100% responsible for the dishes all the time now. And they know it. Of course they moan and groan about it, but they still do it. And it’s one thing I can finally say I have let go of control over.
Finding chores and household tasks that the rest of your family can do without your input will help you let go of some of the weight on your shoulders.
I wash the laundry, but everyone is responsible for putting away their own clothes. We share cooking responsibilities – sometimes my husband does it, and sometimes my eldest daughter. Often I will enlist both my girls to wash and cut veggies for dinner.
The trick is to find something your family members like to do (or at least don’t hate doing) and ask them to do it every time it needs doing. Then it becomes a habit, or “their chore” and it will start happening with less nagging from you – eventually.
Get enough sleep
People need different amounts of sleep. Find your happy spot when it comes to sleep, and make sure you get it – every night.
Sleep helps balance out your hormones and lets your body recover from the stresses of the day.
Read a few articles I’ve published on sleep:
Nurture what you love
Everyone has hobbies, or things they enjoy doing over everything else. Find something you’re passionate about, and pursue it.
Whether you have an hour a day, or an hour a week, spending time immersed in what you love will lead to feelings of satisfaction, and that’s one of the best ways to put yourself first.
Find activities you enjoy. Writing is at the top of my list. Creating content for other busy families truly makes me happy, and now that I’m offering services as a freelance writer, I hope to find satisfaction in my work as well.
Some other things I enjoy are taking a dance class (when we’re not all safe at home), listening to music, going for walks and making time to read a book. And I truly do enjoy time with my children. Maybe not while they’re trying to do homework, or fighting over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, but quality time with my daughters is high on my list of fun things to do.
Do you make self care a priority in your weeks?
Taking dance classes was part of my self care routine, but that’s out the window now, so I’ve had to get more creative with my time. I find it harder to distance myself from my loved ones – and I definitely need to do that.
My favourite self care activity is sitting outside with a book. It’s quiet, the kids know not to bother me, and I get fresh air.
What do you love to do to escape the “home with everyone all the time” vibe? Let me know in the comments.