I’m a mom. I have two young children. I work two jobs. I have a house to maintain. I’m involved in the pageant world. As a mother, it’s easy to put myself last. After all, there are others to care for and so much to get done every day. Preschool drop off and pick up for one, virtual learning at home with the other, work, laundry, cleaning, cooking. The list never ends. I often neglect myself.
LET. GO. OF. THE. GUILT. I used to feel guilty leaving the kids to get my nails done, or take a glorious trip to Target alone. I felt rushed to do anything if I was out alone. I wanted to do everything for everyone else first. I was starting to lose my sanity. I realized I could not be superwoman. I have to take care of myself to be at my best for those who depend on me. I need my “me time” to feel like a normal person so I don’t snap. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Give yourself an hour of “me time” a day. Okay, I know finding just 10 minutes can be a challenge, let alone an hour. But stay with me here. For the longest time I couldn’t relax until everything else was done. The dishes and the never-ending mountains of laundry. The dishes and laundry aren’t going anywhere. They’ll ALWAYS be there. Try to establish a routine for yourself of what needs to get done so you can get that time for yourself. Trust me, it’s there. Sometimes I’ll force myself to stay awake, even if I’m beyond tired, just so I can sit alone without someone asking me to open a fruit snack. Or enjoy a TV show that’s not animated. That could mean leaving the dishes in the sink or the toys scattered all over the living room so I can unwind. I’ve learned to accept that.
Establish a routine for yourself. The kids have one and so should you. Establishing a routine helps get everything done. I start a nighttime “power hour” around 4pm every day. I start by recruiting my kids to help put away their toys that exploded all over the living room. They don’t always listen and often put up a protest, but it teaches them responsibility. Then I vacuum…every single day. With 2 kids, 2 cats, and a dog, it’s a must. I’ve been doing this same routine for a long time and the kids know what to expect. It takes maybe 20 minutes to get the living room back in order. Then I tackle the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner. This is usually 30-40 minutes with cooking. After dinner I just have the few dishes and that’s it. My daily cleaning is done in an hour. I do it while my kids are awake so when they go to bed, I get my “me time”. I’m not running all over. I can sit on the couch and stare at the wall. Catch up on all the shows I saved on my DVR. Scroll endlessly on Instagram. All because I’ve established my daily power hour.
Do something nice for yourself once a week out of the house. My favorite is spending Sunday mornings at the gym. I get in an awesome spin class and spend time in the eucalyptus steam room. Maybe I’ll get a massage when the kids are in school, or get my nails done. And there’s plenty of free options, too. Take a walk in the park, find a bench and read a book, find local free events on Facebook. There are tons of them.
Learn to say “no”. This might be the hardest. We can’t do it all. We don’t need to accept all the invitations. I used to feel bad saying no to events, but then I’d end up with a jam-packed calendar that caused more anxiety than anything else. Saying no is magical. We say no to our kids all the time, we can say no to 3 birthday parties in one weekend. We can say no to going somewhere every day and spend all day in pajamas. It’s mentally rewarding to say no and cut out the extra stress.
Do you have your own tips for self care? What helps you refill your cup and destress?