I think we can all agree that self-care is important. Especially for those of us who have others to care for. That whole thing about putting your oxygen mask on before helping someone else is true. You really can’t care for anyone else properly if you ignore your own needs.
Letting Self-Care Slide
I’m definitely neglected myself since my daughter was born almost 4 years ago. It was a drastic switch to my system, going from the ultra-self-care of pregnancy – drinking lots of water, eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, taking vitamins daily, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and so on – to horrible eating habits, not drinking water, not exercising, not sleeping enough, and generally not paying attention to myself. With everything there is to do – appointment or play date, work to be at or be done, emails to reply to, trips to pack for, laundry to be done, dishes to do, floors to sweep, groceries to buy – I know that I’m not taking the self-care measures to balance out all the busy. (Even though, embarrassingly enough, I made self-care my intention for 2017.)
I’m realizing that proper self-care now is a lot harder for me to engage in than I thought it would be. Stopping to take care of yourself can feel selfish and like a waste of time (or an annoyance) when you’re trying to juggle life, in my case as a parent of a young child not yet in school, with various hobbies and business ventures I am holding onto in an effort to fill my soul and continue to be an individual who has an outlet for creativity and drive.
There are many small things than can be done to offer my brain and body a chance to pause and focus on how I’m doing. By taking a moment to engage in these simple and easy ways of caring for myself, I have found that I’m more able to attend to the bigger needs I see for myself as the calm collects around me and the haze of busy-ness thins.
A Simple Hack to Engage in Self-Care
Disclosure: Before I get too far, here, I want you to know that this is a sponsored post. I have partnered with YMC and Celestial Seasonings and have been compensated to craft this post. However, as synchronicity would have it, what I’m about to share with you is a journey in self care that began before this campaign even came across my desk. In fact, I had just restocked my supply of Celestial Seasonings teas when I found out I was lucky enough to participate in this, and was already considering writing a post about my recent simple self-care experiences. My partnership with this brand comes fully from a place of authenticity and that all of the opinions expressed here are truly mine alone. (As is always the case with any sponsorship I engage in.) So without further ado, let’s get back to what I want to share with you.
By far the most impacting and easiest path to self-care has been in simply turning on the hot water kettle. This very simple act has been an easy routine to get into, and draws me into a moment just for myself. When the kettle boils and screams at me, it’s a reminder I cannot ignore to go pour myself a cup of tea. I choose a tea bag from my pantry, just for me. The choice is entirely my own, not swayed by my picky-eater’s tastes, not needing input from my husband, purely based on what I feel like having. Do I want the invigorating zing of Lemon Zinger? The sweet spiciness of Apple Cinnamon?
Convenience Increases Success
I then pop the ready-to-go tea bags into a mug and pour the hot water in, letting it steep. Loose leaf teas are lovely, too, but at this point in my life every little way to make getting that self-care in easier helps to make it more achievable. Therefore, I very much appreciate the simplicity of using tea bags. I really like that Celestial Seasonings uses real, quality ingredients (with rigorous testing standards) purchased directly from farmers, and now even have an organic line with some amazing new flavours, like Ginger and Turmeric (my new favourite pushing Lemon Zinger into second), and Chamomile Lavender.
Now, this is where one can lose track of their self-care efforts. I’m finding that if I leave my tea to steep while I run off to start another task on my to-do list, I might forget about the tea and wind up left with a cold reminder of my failed attempts to take care of myself. Instead, I sit down in front of my wood stove and commit myself to just sitting still while I hold my hot cup of tea, inhaling the steamy aroma. I take deep, cleansing breaths of the soothing steam, focusing on simply being warm, cozy, and present as I start to sip my tea.
With the hot cup held between my palms, and the rising aromatic mist, I’m constantly reminded of the fact that this moment is meant to slow me down. I’m less inclined to run off to throw in another load of laundry, reach for my phone and fade out of the present. Instead, I’m given a chance to reflect on what’s bouncing around my brain, or to sit and chat with my amazing almost-4-year-old about whatever is on our minds, without distraction.
Simple Self-Care Has Serious Benefits
I have no doubt that this simple experience does a tremendous amount of good for myself, and my family both directly and indirectly, as a calmer, happier mama makes for a calmer and happier home life. My mind is more organized, my stress level has decreased, and I have noticed a difference in how I respond to incoming stress.
I’m realizing that self care starts with pausing. Reflecting. Tuning in to yourself and your environment. From there comes a domino effect of slowing down to take better notice of what needs are begging to be met, and considering how to move forward. And this simple act of starting the kettle and sitting down to soothe my body and mind is working well for me. It’s become part of my routine over the last month, and certainly a positive one.
When was the last time you sat still, without your phone to get lost in, without the TV to distract you, or a to-do task to focus on completing? When was the last time you let yourself focus on what is already in your brain? When was the last time you just were? Grab a cup of tea, drop the responsibilities and tech for even 10 minutes, and see what happens.
Here’s a giveaway from Celestial Seasonings. Good luck!