Creating a Self-Care Routine
Ok maybe “routine” isn’t the best word but that is how I see it. When I write my daily to-do list, self-care is always near the top. For the longest time I though equated self-care with a special treat. I would occasionally reward myself by getting my nails done or just having some occasional me-time. These were all part of my self-care but where I was missing the point is these were occasional treats.
I didn’t start focusing on self-care until I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I was diagnosed with it after having my last two babies, but I didn’t seek treatment until after I had my last baby. It started with talking with my OB, then seeing my PCP, and even a few sessions talking with a counselor. My treatment did include antidepressants, but also creating a self-care routine. The idea was create a “tool kit” which includes not just my body but also a focus on the mind. It was this new focus, I started to look for ways I could practice self-care
Every day may seem daunting at first but it shouldn’t be. Self-care should be part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or changing clothes. These are all things we do on a daily basis. So should self-care be done on a daily basis.
“I don’t have time to do something for myself everyday!”
Not to be too harsh (ok maybe just a little harsh) but you can’t afford to neglect yourself if you want to take care of those you love most.
If you think about it terms of relationships with others. Everyone knows communication is key! Communication isn’t just about talking to someone, but also listening what the other person is saying.
When I think of self-care, I am thinking about a relationship with myself, my inner voice, my peace. I try to listen to my inner voice. What is that voice telling me? How can I honor it?
Ok I know this all sounds like hippie stuff, but it is really simple.
If I’m feeling like I’m carrying a lot of stress in my back and shoulders, I’ll spend some 5-10 minutes doing stretches or yoga.
If I’m feeling like I need to wrap myself in a cocoon because it was one of THOSE days? I’ll take a hot bubble bath.
I try to start or end each day with 5-10 minutes of meditation. For me this clears my mental palate. Sometimes I only get 3 minutes, that is ok too.
My needs will change from day to day so my self-care looks different each day too.
How I fit it in to my day?
I try to carve out a little time each day. I’ll be honest it is not always easy to do, sometimes I forget until right before bedtime.
I work full time, I have 2 little ones, a wonderful husband, and well a life. When my husband travels for work, I feel I like I am in nonstop motion from morning until night. Getting myself up, showered, dressed, taking care of the cats, taking care of the chickens, prepping the diapers for the day, then getting the babies up, breakfast, sometimes I will get them dressed, sometimes I will let their caregiver do that as I rush off to my home office. After work is done, it is dinner, cleanup, stories, bath time, wind down time, then bedtime. After they are in bed, it is finishing up kitchen cleanup, washing the diapers, getting the house in a somewhat cleaner state, before I can finally sit down. I also try to fit in a workout 3-4 times a week. After everything else is done, there is not a whole lot of time left over, especially since I am an early-to-bed type.
Regardless of what is going on each day I try to find a little time for myself. If that means some days I have to wake up 10 minutes earlier that normal or just leaving that pile of clean clothes in the basket one more day, that is what I will do.
Self-Care is Not Complicated
Self-care is about taking time out for yourself for just you. It is about listening to your needs and meeting them. That is it.