I wanted to take a minute and share with all of you something I found myself too busy for, but really needed to make more time for - Self Care.
I'm a busy mom of three under 7, the youngest is just about 8 months old and is leaping past normal baby stuff and is nearly walking. I barely have time to eat breakfast as my day of cleaning up messes and chasing a baby and 2 toddlers, the housework and business flies by. I have to take a mental break and force myself to let things go so I can have a minute with God.
You can often find me just stealing away a few moments for my self-care. Usually if I can get those few minutes in with God in the morning before the kids get up my day seems less chaotic and more right with the world. I like to have a cup of coffee or a Chai Latte and spend a few minutes relishing in the amazing blessings that I actually do have. I find that I get really discouraged about life, If I look at what I can’t do. My to do list is ever growing and If I can look at what I have already accomplished, with what little time I have now, imagine what I can do when my kids are grown. In the meantime, just enjoying life right now seems to help.
Do you ever feel like you can never catch up with your ever growing to-do list? Me too.
So during one of my morning moments with God I began to think about the simple ways that I actually do take time for self care unknowingly. Like spending time in the garden and spending those few minutes with God when I am trying to avoid yelling at my unruly kids, or locking the bathroom door. I may not have a whole hour to myself but I do take some time to just do “me”...if you know what I mean.
I wanted to encourage you to pay attention to a few of the ways that you do care for yourself. Perhaps it’s drinking coffee and spending time with the Lord each morning, or making yourself a healthy and delicious breakfast. Perhaps it's choosing to delegate the laundry to your spouse. I bet you do take care of yourself better than you probably realize.
Self-care seems to be a popular thing these days…
I feel like society puts a lot of pressure on us to do “self-care” when in reality it’s just making sure to take time for yourself, to literally take care of yourself.
If you look back in time, self-care consisted of care for your physical, mental, and emotional needs.
Self-care means different things to everyone. According to Wikipedia, “Self Care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.”
Or an old school dictionary reads:
the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.
"autonomy in self-care and insulin administration"
the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
"expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care"
But What is self-care really?
In my definition Self Care is any deliberate act we do to take care of ourselves.
For a creative maker this list might give you an idea of how you might already be practicing self care:
Putting the kids to bed early
Dropping the kids to daycare earlier than usual
Skipping bath time if they really don’t need it
Taking the day off work rebalance yourself
Getting started earlier in the day
Planning meals & Making Shopping Lists
Time Management Calendar
Daycare backup lists
Budgeting For Home And Business
Organizing Your Closet
Setting A Schedule
Making a Healthy Breakfast The Night Before
Organizing Your Phone Lists (Emergency, Business, etc)
Of course you probably can see where I am going...you already have taken care of yourself by just doing the basics. But, and this is a big BUT, you have to take the time to be kind to yourself. There are no rules on self care...you just take it day by day. I know being a small business owner is hard. Real hard. So just think about taking care of yourself and that requires you to be kind to yourself too.
Do you know that you are powerful? Like you have mad super powers. You possess the ability to change the world with your hands, your voice, your words, your passion, your business, and your family? That is power!
Here is the thing though, with that power we have a responsibility to first take care of ourselves before we can properly take care of anyone else. When we operate our business, or run our households on empty, that is when we get into trouble.
I know that as makers it’s hard to keep it all together all the time. That is ok. I struggle myself but I also know that putting things in place, strategies will help you recharge, maintain, and do amazing things in life and business.
Don’t make the time - take it.
We all know what it’s like running a business. Barely enough time to make healthy meals, running errands, sending emails, responding to social media, email campaigns, and heck, actually making a product right! You are busy and even busier if you have kids.
Taking care of yourself has to become a necessity not a luxury. You can start by deciding to do it and creating a simple strategy to make it happen.
When you have no time for self-care, take it...here is how:
Make the conscious choice that you are going to make a change and decide on a time that it works best for you. Either first thing in the morning, during afternoon naps, or in the evening after all the kids are tucked in for the night. Sometimes, just making time for self-care is as simple as taking a small action to delineate between time for you and time for the rest of the day. Spend time writing in a journal, painting something personal, working in your garden, reading the bible, drinking coffee on the deck or porch or with a neighbor, or perusing a book.
- Set an alarm
Don’t just set an alarm and push snooze. It might take some time to get used to the thought, but nothing matters more than this time you set for yourself. Nothing is more important. Look past the mound of clean clothes on your couch, the dirty dishes peeking out of the sink, the scattered toys on the floor, and the millions of emails you have to respond to. Ignore it all.
- Make Backup Plans
I don’t know about you or how you run your home but I have backup plans. Either a craft that the kids can do while I take my time, tv time, or tablet time. Don’t feel bad either for putting your kids aside for just a moment or your business. No one else in the world is more important and more deserving of taking a few minutes to yourself. Even hire a sitter if it means you get this time for you.
It’s time for you. That one hour you took out of your day is set aside for you. Whatever it is, make sure you do it regularly. Either work out, drink a cup of coffee and spend time with the Lord, take the time to do a craft or art project that has nothing to do with your work, or heck just sit alone in silence for an hour.
Create a routine and follow it, but also allow yourself to take the time when things get out of hand. Some days we need it more than others.
Mental Health Days
Take days to just go crazy. What is going crazy you ask? Well, it means getting dressed and leaving the house with no real itinerary or plans. Going crazy was something my mom used to do with us when we were kids and now, “Going Crazy” for me is just what I need when I am stifled creatively, can’t focus, or need inspiration. When you are a creative person and your business depends on your creativity nothing is worse than being unproductive, unfocused, and stifled. So set a day to go crazy. Some of those places for me are the museum, hikes, art shows, coffee shops, flea markets, farmers markets, the lake, ice cream shops, or even just for a drive. Just go do something, anything that is out of the ordinary.
Move Your Booty
Don’t forget your body. When we move we have a tendency to stay in action. For me, I move when I am outside in the garden. There’s something about connecting to nature that for me ticks my mental health checkbox and my physical needs too.
I have promised myself that this month I am going to try to do some dance workouts because my kids can do it with me. If they like it maybe they might even push me to do it more. I think it’s important that I keep moving for my health and to teach my kids the same.
So for about $20 a month I can get some funky dance moves on and spend some quality time with my kids. The baby can even join in. Perhaps I should even record it and share it with you! ;)
These days I have been trying to eat healthier and lose my baby weight. I have been doing something that is super simple and that is; just eating more fruits and vegetables. I also find that if I plan meals for the week, I at least don’t have to think about what to make. It takes another stressers off my already crazy schedule.
My daily menu:
Farm-fresh eggs from our chickens mixed up with whatever veggies I have. Some days it’s a potato, onion, and peppers and others I get really creative...whatever I have time for and I feed this to my kids to including the baby.
A mini Charcuterie plate of whatever I have in my kitchen. Usually sliced ham or turkey, sliced apples, some kind of cheese, and whatever veggies I have with some kind of dip I pre-made. It works great for me, and is super satisfying. My kids even love it and we often will picnic with it or have it poolside.
Honestly my husband is kind of picky so I make something that he would enjoy and I don’t worry so much about it. Whatever I have planned I eat, I just use a small plate instead of the standard ten inch plates these days.
If meal planning helps you eat better, do it. Or heck just stock your house with plenty of fruit and veggies and do yourself a favor, grab an apple...just eat something healthy. I know that being a busy mom and business owner is hard, just remembering to eat is hard but we have to put ourselves first too. Getting the kids something healthy is never the problem, it’s remembering that we need to eat too. Your email, your work, cleaning the floors, whatever, it can wait.
So maker friend I hope that I somehow encouraged you in some way to take some time to care care of you and perhaps I helped you be a little softer on yourself. I bet you already are caring for yourself but seem to be blinded by the ways you already do. I think that life is about evaluating, adjusting, and trying out strategies that help us learn and grow and then reevaluate. I would love to hear about some of the ways you are caring for yourselves already and perhaps ways you are trying to value your own self-care even more.