Self care is such a buzz word these days, isn’t it? I used to be a health coach so I found it was so easy to build self-care into each day because it was just a part of what I did. I had no problem waking up and meditating, doing some yoga and then blending up a green smoothie for myself. Boy, how things are different now!
I have always heard how motherhood changes your life but I never realized how it would really impact the day to day practices that I had in place until I became a mother myself. Something as simple as taking a shower in the morning became a major event–and I didn’t always get to it (still don’t some days). I had been so immersed in making sure my tiny human got everything he needed that I forgot to get what I needed, too. The thing I’m most amazed about is how long I put off going to the gym. I used to go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week before Marty was born! Until recently, it’s literally been years since I’ve been there. Where did all of my motivation to be super-fit go?
Part of it is time. And let’s be honest, another part is laziness. If I have an extra hour, I’m resting or taking a nap, not running to the gym to sweat my butt off. But as Marty becomes a better sleeper and I get a little more time to myself, I can feel the motivation to implement self care come back into play. Here are a few ways I’ve climbed out of my self care rut and gotten back on track to feeling good:
- Shower and get dressed. This is a non-negotiable because it makes me feel like a real human being that can be ready to work, run errands or get whatever needs to get done around the house. And for me, taking a shower is more than just getting clean and putting clothes on–it’s also the process of taking some time to care for my skin (hello moisturizer!) and practice some deep breathing in the shower. It’s a few minutes of peace to enjoy the warmth of the water and quiet space, alone.
- Plan out 1 healthy meal to eat during the day. Due to a hectic schedule I find myself grazing a lot, so I always try to plot out one meal a day that I know will give me some super nutrients and sustaining energy. I want to enjoy my day without crashes that those quick, easy foods can bring (and that are usually loaded with sugar). I can cook a few days worth of quinoa to dump on various veggies or leftovers, and I am prepared in a pinch.
- Create a game plan. I don’t know about you but I’m a crazy list maker. I mean, I literally make lists about my lists! So even though it can feel like I’m organized, I tend to always have a bunch of lists and because of that, I’m not sure what I should be doing. I have recently started to look at my list(s) and pick 3 main tasks that I want to accomplish for the day. If I get more than that done, great! If not, then I at least got those 3 things done. It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment, but it also keeps me mentally moving forward.
- Schedule in rest. I know this sounds ridiculous but I’m not talking about a 2 hour nap, I’m talking about 20 minutes to close your eyes and do some belly breathing (or nap!) It’s amazing what a little mid-day recharge can do for one’s mind and spirit. Also, I feel like whenever I’m tired, it takes me twice as long to get things done. If I stop and rest, I can get more done later in a shorter period of time!
- Plan 2 days to move. I am nowhere near the 5 to 6 days of working out I used to do but I currently have a Sunday morning yoga date built into my schedule that I really look forward to. The rest of the week I try to stretch 2 mornings and go for a walk 1 other day. It’s not training of any sort, but it is a beginning to get my body moving again and I know these small steps will build big results. Patience, grasshopper.
My mantra is: lasting change takes time. Do I miss the days of my perky butt and that exercise high? Yes. But the best way to get back there is to recognize things have changed and to be patient with the process. I know that I will make my way back, eventually. I try to give myself some grace when making changes and you should too! Pick a few things to work on and you’ll be building lasting self-care habits in no time.