A few years ago, it became a popular hashtag, and that’s when I noticed… we’re really bad at self care.
#metime #selfcare – and photos of things that were anything but effective ways of caring for ones self. Like most things, it took seeing it in other people’s Instagrams to make me realize how poorly I was managing my own time and how I was not anywhere close to doing it in a way that actually helped take care of myself.
I feel like taking care of yourself is a challenge for most people, but as moms we have an extra layer of difficulty built in to this challenge in our daily lives. That difficulty is of course, our children.
Taking care of our kids naturally comes before our own rest. Kiddos keep us running all day and then make certain we don’t get uninterrupted sleep or a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. Kiddos give us reason to stay home when we’d really like to get out of the house, and they definitely give us a good reason to wake up with the sun every morning. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by motherhood, I know the last thing I want to be worrying about is doing self care “right”, but over the past 7 years of parenting, I’ve learned that taking care of myself can mean the difference between being the mom I want to be and someone I REALLY don’t want to be.
“Me time” mistakes we’re all making
- Calling tv time “self care” – I LOVE a good show as much as the next person, but watching tv is not a great form of self care. It doesn’t require much thought and when you’re done with the show you probably feel just as tired or stressed as you did when you started it. It just delays the stress and distracts you for a little while. I’m not against television, just make sure that you use it properly and don’t ONLY look to the tv as a way to destress at the end of a long day.
- We stay home – Getting out of the house can be a challenge, but don’t let that stop you. Do whatever you can to have child-free time outside of the home at least once a month. This can be as simple as wandering the isles of a store after the kids are in bed or a night out with friends but make it happen as much as you can. Staying in the same place and seeing the same thing over and over again is not the best use of “me time”. Challenge yourself to get out of the house if you can!
- Being too tired – We’ve all said it… “I’m just too tired”. Never be too tired for a little bit of relaxation at the end of the day. Even if it’s just five minutes with a book you love or choosing to take a bath instead of a shower, do something that you love every day.
- Believing all the memes – If you are on Facebook too long, you’ll become convinced that there is no other way to be a mom than to have no hobbies, no social life and definitely no sleep. While these are funny, relatable jokes, they don’t have to be the only option. Keep striving for that healthier balance with sleep. Try to find an affordable hobby that you enjoy and text a friend every once in awhile. Breaking those silly mom stereotypes will do a lot for you in terms of me time and self care.
How to have a better “me time”
Plan for it in advance so you do what you really want to do instead of just vegging – Like we talked about above, tv time is not a great long term me time solution. Think about what you’d like to do ideally before you are in the position to actually take a little bit of time off.
You could even make a list of fun self care activities that you enjoy and organize them by how much time they take up. That way when you are exhausted and can’t quite think of something to do, you have a ready-made list for yourself to choose from.
Eat something yummy that you can feel good about – I’ve found that snacking on things that taste awesome and make me feel good about my choices is a HUGE help for better self care. Special K Protein Bites and Special K Nourish Bites are my go-to for this. I keep a bag of them in my desk to have during work, but also sometimes pull them out for a couple quick bites in the evening while I enjoy a good book. Don’t stay up too late – This one is huge for me, but always a struggle. Sleep and I have a complicated relationship, but I’ve learned that ALL my days are better when I enjoy a cup of coffee and a book in the evenings and then get off to bed at a decent hour. Most things can wait for the next day, but getting as much sleep as possible between kids waking up is something that can’t wait!
Get outside as much as possible – If you can’t find a way to get outdoors alone, you can even do this with the kids. Go for a walk around the block, take them to the park, or even swing by the pool. Do whatever you need to do to get out in the fresh air because this will improve how you feel so much! This is another reason I love those Special K Protein Bites. They are easy to throw in my bag and take with me when we’re on a walk or at the pool. I have a snack that I can eat without guilt and a way to keep my energy up in the hot Texas sun. Have you found yourself sabotaging your own self care by not using me time properly? What ways have you found to take better care of yourself? Share in the comments!