Last week I sat in my chair feeling mentally and physically exhausted. I just wanted to be 4 again and curl up in my Mom's lap. I longed for someone to take care of me. To cook me a meal and do the laundry. Unfortunately, my Mom lives a 12 hour drive away. When we become moms, it seems like we weary ourselves taking care of everyone else, forgetting that we need to be taken care of too. Our Moms are not there to do it so we need to take care of ourselves.
There is a reason that flight attendants intruct passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before assisting anyone else to put theirs on. If you don't put your own on first, its highly likely that you will be unable to help anyone else. Same with being moms. If we don't take care of ourselves once in awhile, there is going to come a time when we can't take care of anyone else either. And who deserves and needs our care more than our little ones?
So what does self care look like? Weekly massages? Manicures? Pedicures? Girls night out with a glass of wine? A cruise? A weekend at the hotsprings soaking your stress away? All these things are wonderful stress relievers. However, when you have little ones, these things can all seem unattainable impossibilities. Too tired to book a massage. Can't afford it or have the time anyway. No one to look after the kids. A weekend getaway or a cruise if you can do it, happen infrequently. And guess what. We need self care on a daily basis.
No, even though the above things can be very relaxing, self care usually looks a lot different:
Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and take 3 deep cleansing breaths, dropping your shoulders on the second breath and telling yourself on the third breath that everything will be ok.
Make yourself a cup of tea and turn on some quiet music, sitting quietly for 5-10 minutes.
Add some humor into your day.
Spend a few minutes writing in a gratitude journal. This is useful in changing negative thought patterns to positive ones which in turn reduces stress.
Do a few simple yoga poses. You don't have to feel guilty about not having time or energy to get to the studio.
Get outside for a few minutes. Go for a short walk if you can.
Have a hot shower or bath. Use some epsom salts or essential oils.
Pray or meditate or both. Studies show these activities helpful in reducing stress.
These are just a few simple ideas to get you started. I'm sure there are other things you might think of to help you rejuvenate. Whatever, it is, its important to do some self care consistently on a daily basis so that you have the energy to be the best mom you can be. Self care is not selfish. Its vital to our wellbeing and that of those we are caregivers for.