For the majority of my life, I’ve treated myself – my body, mind, and spirit – as an afterthought. A hindrance, even. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve begun to realize the effects of always putting my true needs last. From the big things, like nutrition, hydration, exercise, sleep, etc, to those practices of self care that aren’t always on the top of one’s mind, such as sitting in harmful positions for my body or ignoring my posture, I know I need to change. I’m not getting any younger, and the invincibility I felt with my body during the first 29 years of my life is fast beginning to fade. It is time for some serious self care, and this is why I made “Self-care” my one-word intention – a sort of all-encompassing new years resolution – for 2017.
So what is self-care, and what kind of things might I focus on in attempting to figure this out and turn over a new leaf? Or, perhaps, an entire forest of new leaves. I’ve got a lot of self-caring to make up for.
Now, I don’t want to complicate the simplicity of this one-word intention thing I caught on to last year. I learned a lot about simplifying life during 2016, and I know that less is so much more. However, I would like to brainstorm a few ideas about self care, and how I can honour myself best through this intention throughout the next 12 months, and (hopefully) gain some life-long understandings.
To me, “self-care” means that I am taking care of myself in order to be the best version of myself that I can be in my current circumstances. It means pushing myself to do what I should be doing to meet my basic needs, as well as listening to what I truly want and allowing myself space to be the Hannah that I am, happily, even if it means not being 100% healthy or “responsible” in exchange for simple pleasures and meeting the needs of my soul. Some days I won’t want to cook, a frozen pizza will be made for dinner, and I won’t feel as if I have failed.
You see, I believe self-care really has a lot to do with finding balance and simply listening to one’s self, more so than just brushing your teeth and drinking those 8 glasses of water a day. As a busy mom, I think that caring for my mentality is just as important (if not more so) than caring for myself physically. Motherhood can make you a little bit crazy (and that’s okay).
That being said, here are some ways that I’ve thought of in which I can try to practice better self care as a mom, as a teacher, as a woman – as a human being in an age where health and happiness can sometimes come last.
Ways To Practice Self Care
Brushing and flossing daily
Beyond the health of my teeth and gums, proper oral care can help keep the rest of your body healthy, too (something I didn’t know until I got pregnant and read “all the books”). I supremely suck at dental care, especially since the pregnancy turned into a baby, so this is a top concern for me.
Not only will having a dinner plan help me to nourish myself and my family properly, but it will also let my mind rest easier. Having a plan is practicing self care by allowing myself to worry less and act more.
Water over wine
I know. I hate to say it. I do love wine, there is no way around that. Cider, too, actually. But I find I’ve been depriving my body of proper hydration by consuming more alcohol than I
likely definitely should, and rarely drinking water at all anymore. There are so many positive benefits of drinking water, and I just need to get back in the habit. Speaking of… let me just go fill up my bottle now. (Here’s the non-toxic and eco-friendly water bottle I use, just in case you’re looking for one. That’s an Amazon affiliate link, FYI.)
Let’s face it, I’m addicted. Probably like most everyone out there these days. We just can’t put down the phones and the constant hits of dopamine they provide us with every time we get a text or see a new “like” roll in. Dopamine is seriously addictive, and I need to work through this to find a better balance for my physical, mental, and social benefit. I’ve got some ideas and some things I’m already trying that I’ll share soon.
I’m not a “girly” girl and the pampering thing has never been part of my self-care strategies. I don’t like to paint my nails or spend exorbitant amounts of money getting my hair done. I don’t take baths, moisturize, or have a skin-care regimen. Heck, you’re lucky if I even put on deodorant most days. I think allowing myself to find pleasure in some extra special care for my body will, in turn, leave me with a more positive self-image and give my mind some time to relax in the simple act of lovingly caring for myself.
There is a plethora of research to suggest that spending time outside is incredibly important for ourselves, in many ways. I’ve written about the importance of taking time to get outside with kids, and I know that it’s true, whether you have a child or not, but I still find myself cooped up far more than I should. I need to make the effort to get out there, and to go explore outside alone and with my little every single day.
In order to practice self care, I need to care for my brain. A big part of this is that I need to get my life and all the many facets of it organized. This year I’m going to try the bullet journal method, and I’m really excited about it. If that doesn’t work to help clear my head and help me be more successful with my time, then I’ll try something else. Let’s hope this is the solution I was looking for, though.
It takes a while to build routine, but once it’s there it happens naturally. I need to take a good hard look at what I need and want to do, and develop routines to make sure that these activities all have their rightful places in my days and weeks.
Pump up the endorphins
My body needs more movement. This type of self care will make me feel healthier, improve my mood, and help me role model an active, healthy lifestyle for my daughter. Be it yoga, Bellyfit, dancing, running, hiking – I need more activity.
Investing in friendship
One hour talking in earnest with a good friend is worth a bajillion dollars in therapy. Okay, maybe I made that statistic up, but I’m sure there’s a truth to it. Spending time with true friends and good people rejuvenates and inspires me. I need to make a bigger effort to schedule time together with those people who make me a better me, and (hopefully) who I do the same for in return.
There is more. There is always more. But for today, that is all.
How do you engage in self care, and what does it mean to you?
Disclosure: I have included an affiliate link to that awesome water bottle. If you purchase through that link, I make a small commission. It probably won’t lead to any income, but a girl can keep trying. Right? You can view my full disclosure statement here.