1. Your definition of it is all wrong!
We associate self-care for those with medical needs or money that can afford luxurious outings. We don’t understand the simplicity of it as well as the benefits. Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
“Give the World the Best of You, Not What’s Left of You.” -Katie Reed.
2. You Feel Selfish.
Consider taking care of yourself as an act to better take care of others. I mean really, are you the mom that is always stressed, in a hurry, yelling, short-tempered because you have x,y,z to do in 5 minutes? (I’m not judging here, this has been me too!). What would it look like if you were able to bring that down a notch? Would the kids not be teary-eyed, scared, yelling back, or withdrawing? Would your relationship with them be more quality? Would life just look and be better? That is just one of many examples. How about how you treat co-workers, spouses, friends? Do you just blow them off on your way to your desk, or do you take the extra second to look them in the eye and say hi?
3. It’s costly...
You don’t need to spend a dollar on self-care. Some freebee’s that work wonders are forest bathing (aka go for a walk in the woods!), deep breathing (try it just one minute… inhale deeply, exhale 8 seconds, repeat), stretch out (don’t know how, there are plenty of free videos to follow along with on Rugged Running, Youtube, or consider an app). If you want to invest a little. A hot Epsom salt bath (Pro Tip: Add a little essential oil like lavender to relax, or orange for an uplift), look for Groupon deals on massages or facials, or for the ladies or boys, some archery, baseball hitting, or shooting lessons to release some supervised anger.
I love to create a home spa day (either for just myself, my daughter and I, or even the whole family). Hot Epsom salt baths, steam vaporizers, store-bought facial masks (try Amazon!), nail polish, nail stickers etc.
Other ideas include scheduling, planning, and being a little more proactive in order to save you time. Yes! They say one hour of planning can save 10 hours a week! Wow! Now just think, if you have an overall, tentative schedule for the year (vacations, kids school time off, date weekends with your spouse, and YOU time) you can reuse it in future years. Make adjustments and pivots as needed but it takes the work out of it for years to come AND you have things to look forward too so it’s not a continuous GRIND without any rewards! And YES! You should reward yourself for the little things. Did you help your kiddo score an A on an exam... Then celebrate it (again, doesn’t have to be this luxurious night out, consider a good 15 minutes of eye contact, conversation, and some ice cream (kids are more simpler than you think!).
4. You Don’t Know Where to Start??!
Again planning is huge here. But how to plan and what is needed to do so or to execute certain things can be a major factor. So take yourself through some simple questions to help you start brainstorming and dialing in.
What would it look like if you had more self-care?
What would self-care look like to you in terms of your needs? (breathing exercises, yoga, a spa day, etc)
What help may you need in order to execute self-care? (babysitter? Spouse help? Friends help? “X” amount of time, “x amount of money, dog care?)
5. STEPS TO BETTER SELF CARE:
Plan an hour in order to plan your self-care!
Use the questions in step 4 to start brainstorming.
Print out a yearly calendar or use a great planner in order to start tentatively planning kids' school days off, vacations, spouse weekends, YOU weekends, dates, hours.
How much time should you plan for yourself? I’d recommend at least 2 hours on a weekly basis and that doesn’t include your normal fitness routine. If you aren’t taking care of yourself in this sense, please reconsider! It’s one of the number one things I hear from working parents...they work then they have no time for the kids so they scrap their workouts and spend time with the kids but as their health slips away, the kids learn that health and fitness are not a priority, then theirs start to go as they age and the snowball effect occurs. Health and Fitness are a MUST. It is a priority. It is NOT easy. If you choose to start a program, try to do your workout first thing in the morning. You will have a 60%+ higher success rate in doing so. So yeah, that may mean waking up at 3:00 am and adjusting your schedule to your kids' schedule. But isn’t the whole point that they are a priority too? So what would be the minimums?
I suggest: M,W,F 5 minute warm-up and a full-body strength workout (don’t overthink it, if starting from scratch, go with just 3x through planks, pushups, lunges). You are looking at a total of 10 minutes here (although to be heart healthy one needs to shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes per day) so consider adding in a walk with the kids or dog after a lunch break or after dinner.
T,TH,SAT you can focus just on cardio. Consider a brisk walk for 30 minutes or hiking is great too. Want to invest a little? Check out garage sales or online marketplaces and score yourself an exercise bike or elliptical for a semi-low weight-bearing activity that can be done when you roll out of bed!
Furthermore, use Sunday then for a 30-minute spa date with yourself. Consider a hot bath, nail trim, and facial (yeah you too guys they do make “manly” masks!). Then throughout the week, use 10 minutes a day for deep breathing, and the remainder other 30 minutes as a coffee date out at your favorite shop. The possibilities are endless, but you need to figure out what works for you!
Finally, consider re-evaluation. What worked? What didn’t this week or month? Can you make some small adjustments? Do you need to maybe schedule a massage with a professional in order to get some downtime? Or how about a yoga class, or personal training session? Make a reservation at a restaurant, etc.. in order to hold yourself accountable!