Self care. You’ve heard about it. You know it’s important. Maybe you’re trying to implement it. But with all of the things you have going on in your life, odds are it’s one of the first things to go when making your to-do list. Protecting your self care time is not only important–it’s essential to your health.
Before we talk about how to protect your self care time, let’s just make sure we’re all on the same page. So first…
What is self care?
Self care is doing something for yourself that recharges you and fills up your personal bucket. It’s different for everyone. For some, it might be getting their nails or hair done. For others, it’s going to a yoga or exercise class. It might be spending time outside in the sunshine, in the mountains or at the beach. Or maybe it’s something as simple as taking an extra long shower (or taking a shower in the first place *wink*) or going to bed 30 minutes early. Bottom line: self care is making time to taking care of yourself.
Why is self care important?
The short answer: You can’t draw water from an empty well.
The long answer: As moms and women, we have a lot of different responsibilities. It takes our time, energy, attention, words and love to take care of each of these responsibilities: kids, house, job, marriage, church and friends to name a few. Just like a car can only run on fumes for so long, we can only give of ourselves so much before we run out of gas. At some point, we’re going to have to fill up–whether it’s forced on us or we choose to do it before we hit empty is up to us. Self care helps us better regulate ourselves and deal with the ups and downs of life. Self care allows us to do the things we need to do to the best of our abilities. Self care helps us feel good about ourselves.
Is self care selfish?
Absolutely not. Look at it this way: I have three kids, ages 7, 5 and almost 1. I make food for them, make sure they have shoes on their feet when they leave the house, get them showers and baths on a regular basis, give them hugs and kisses and tell them that I love them. Is that selfish to do those things for them? No. I do it because I love them. I want the best for them and I want to help them become happy and healthy human beings. So the next time you question whether or not taking some time to give yourself a little self care is selfish, tell yourself this: I love myself. I want the best for myself. I want to be a healthy and happy human being and self care allows me to do this.
So this leads me to….
How To Protect Your Self Care Time
I’m a busy mom of three kids, a wife, I volunteer in my church, I run a household, I have a blog. All this is just to say, I get it. But I’m here to tell you that I am a better mom, wife, volunteer, friend, sister and person when I consistently take time to care for myself. Taking time for yourself to recharge and refill your well doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. But in order to make it happen, you do need to be intentional and consistent. This means you need to set aside time to take care of yourself, free from distractions.
Here are some ideas that may work for you:
- Turn off your cell phone: The simplest things, no matter how well meaning, can distract us from taking full advantage of our self care time. Hearing the ding of a notification for a text or Instagram or Facebook can pull you away from whatever you had planned on doing and leave you feeling dissatisfied. If turning your phone off isn’t an option, consider silencing it or turning off your notifications and leaving your phone in another room.
- Lock your bedroom/bathroom door: If your kids are prone to coming into your room when the door is shut, this could be a good option for you. Maybe 5 minutes to use the bathroom without an audience is all the self care you have time for that day and if locking the door is how you get that time, then do it.
- Set a timer: This could be used a couple of different ways. You could set a timer as a reminder to start your self care time. You can also use a timer to set a certain amount of time aside for your self care. Setting a timer helps take your mind off of remembering to do something or keep track of how long you’re going to do it.
- Be accountable to someone: Having someone you are accountable to makes you more likely to do something. The person you’re accountable to could be your husband, a friend, a family member, or anyone else you feel comfortable sharing your goals with.
- Leave your house: Sometimes just the act of leaving your house can be a form of self care. Additionally, going somewhere you know will be distraction free will help you protect your self care time because you will be able to stay more focused and present on what you have planned.
I’d love for you to comment below on ways you show yourself self care or how you protect your self care time!