Sitting in the sun reading a book and drinking a cup of tea. No children around, no jobs to do. How good does a little bit of self-care sound!
But is it realistic? What does self-care look like in your life?
As parents, we are always being told that we need to look after ourselves. This is even more important in our current uncertain times! But how do we do this? The advertising for Mother’s Day tells us that buying a new pair of slippers or a spa voucher will fill our self-care needs. But is this all that it takes to prioritise our needs?
As a mum here are a few of my thoughts on self-care.
There are different types of self-care. Fun self-care and hard self-care!
Catching up with friends, drinking wine, eating cake, taking time to get your hair done. These are all important types of self-care! These types of self-care are promoted by social media and advertisers, they are pretty easy to organise, achieve or purchase. They feel great and give you something to look forward to.
The other type of self-care is a bit trickier – going to bed early, making time for exercise, choosing healthy food. This is the self-care that pays off in the long run. It can be hard to motivate yourself to do it but is so important. This type of self-care is more like self-discipline or self-parenting. You wouldn’t let your kids get away with not taking care of themselves but we let this happen to us.
Routines and habits are the best way to make self-discipline work in your life. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to motivate yourself to fill your self-care needs every day, you just want it to happen.
Find your own self-care
Figuring out what self-care works for you can be tricky! This will vary depending on your stage of life, needs and interests. One of the most helpful things I have found is to ask myself, “What can I do now that will help me later?”. This might be resting while the kids nap or quickly getting some chores done! It might be lying on the couch reading or getting out and going for a walk. There are so many ways to take care of yourself and you need to find what works for you. I find that asking myself a specific question helps to focus my thinking and give me clarity about what I really need.
For me, self-care looks like
- Going to a pilates class (if I don’t have the commitment of going to a class I won’t do it)
- Meeting up regularly with friends (virtually at the moment)
- Going to bed with a clean kitchen, lounge and dining room, with all of the toys put away!
It doesn’t look like
- Putting the washing away (that doesn’t bother me!)
- Making the bed
- Getting up early to go for a walk
There have been times when I have felt like my version of self-care isn’t good enough! But I am learning not to be judgy – I try not to judge others for what they choose to do with their time and I’m learning not to be so harsh on myself.