Like any other working mum, I have a lot going on at the moment. I’m working three days a week on a contract, studying two part-time courses, setting up my business and trying to be the best mum I can to my three kids (two of whom don’t sleep!) I recognise I am in need of self care more than I ever have been, but somehow it just wasn’t happening and I was falling to the bottom of the pile once again…. Sound familiar??
The intention was there, my god was the intention there! Every sunday night I would write a list of all the things I needed to do that coming week and every week under the heading ‘Me’ it would say ‘dye hair’ ‘get to the spa’ ‘bed by 10pm’… and every week that spa membership would not get used and my grey roots were becoming more obvious. I might on occasion get to bed by 10pm (but then beat myself up for not cracking on with my college work, or the fact the washing pile was overflowing). Self care for me, felt like another tick box on my never ending ‘to do’ list and my failure to see it through made me feel even worse (and resentful).
It was only when I flipped my focus from self care to self love that I noticed a tangible difference. It was small things like actually taking a lunch break at work and popping into town to have a proper bra fitting and ditching my old maternity bras (yep, slightly embarrassed to admit this one!) It was taking an extra 5 minutes to grab a coffee from my favourite cafe as I did the school run and savouring the aroma and the hit of that first sip. Previously if someone had suggested to ‘have a bath’ as a way to unwind, I would’ve shuddered (I just don’t enjoy baths), but with my new sense of looking after myself in the moment, I took myself upstairs once the kids were in bed, had a lovely hot bath listening to my favourite podcast, shaved my legs and applied a (patchy!) layer of fake tan. Ok, so the new bra thing had been on my ‘to do’ list for quite a few months, but the other things wouldn’t have even figured, but by grabbing precious minutes within my day to focus on the things I needed in that moment, made a monumental difference to how I felt about myself, how I interacted with my children and my husband and how I approached my never ending tasks that week.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed by life in general and can’t imagine finding time to invest in self care, here are my tips for making it an integral part of your day:
Reframe your thoughts – Lose the guilt that many of us associate with doing something nice for ourselves. Shift your thinking from ‘I really must ……/I should…../I need to…..’ to ‘I really want to……/I’m going to……../I can’t wait to……..’ and it’s amazing how you will find time in your busy week to commit to these things.
Look for small opportunities every day – Self care doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant to be beneficial (but if a day at the salon/spa is what you need, then go for it – you’re worth it!!) Take a few moments and tune into how you are feeling in that moment and what you need to nourish yourself. It could be something simple like calling a friend for a catch up, or reading a chapter of that novel that you started 4 months ago, or just sitting quietly with a cup of tea/glass of wine and reflecting on the day. The key is to recognise that these are moments just for you, to reset and recharge your batteries.
Savour the moments – Try and stay in the moment and take in your surroundings without letting thoughts of what is going on a work, or what you’re doing for tea creep in. Really taste that cup of coffee you just ordered, breathe in the fresh air on your commute to work (unless you’re surrounded by smog!) and appreciate the flowers in the vase at home, as it’s these small things which can really make a difference to how you feel about things.
Just these three simple tips should have you feeling a little more cared for in no time at all. I’m certainly reaping the benefits from the shifting way I approach my own self care (plus I have smooth legs and my grey roots have disappeared…..for now)
What are your favourite self care tips? Share in the comments section below.