When I started to write my blog this month, I knew I wanted to talk about self-care because not only is it so important for moms (and at least in my personal experience, so important for the early weeks of postpartum and even the first few years of having kids…maybe it’s going to always be important, but i digress), but also it’s something many of us neglect to do. We neglect either because we forget, or things get busy, or we prioritize the kids’ activities and needs, or even your spouse’s and your marriage’s needs…all worthy things to prioritize…but what often gets left behind is self. And managing what you need. I even think it can be hard to know exactly what YOU need at any given moment because we spend so much time thinking about other things, other people, etc.
So, I went down the path of drafting what I wanted to say. I googled to see what other people on the internet were saying so I could try to offer something additional or different.
And then I felt stuck. I wrote a sentence, then re-wrote. Then started a new kind of sentence, then re-wrote that one. Have you ever done that? It just felt like no matter what angle I tried, it wasn’t quite right, but I also didn’t know what was.
Then it hit me. I need my own self care. I am getting stuck because I need my own self care. I can’t teach or write about self care until I’m doing it for myself. UGH. And I thought I was doing so well with it ;) So for brutal honesty, I’ll say to you that all moms need self care, and we need it before we can fill others up. And I'm offering myself as a use case for this, as I can’t share tips with you as if I have it all figured out (nor can I be at my best for my family and friends if I’m not caring for myself first). But what I can do is tell you about my plan for myself and what I’m going to do to manage my self-care this week and month and hope that it encourages you that you aren’t alone and maybe give you some ideas to try for yourself.
Self-care can take a variety of forms, so I’m going to experiment with a few different buckets and see where I find the most benefit. I recently finished a book called “Play” by Stuart Brown, M.D., which discusses the importance of play for well-being, not just for kids but also for adults. It was fascinating to learn the different types of play (e.g., sports, music, pretend play, teasing, organizing, crafting, planning, etc.). So, while I could go on and on about how interesting this was, I’m just going to say for now that I’m planning to incorporate some type of play in each bucket and encourage you to read the book for yourself ;)
Physical Self Care:
Move for 5 minutes in the morning when I first wake up. As I’m writing this, I did this this morning literally still in my bed (which helps me, and likely anyone like me, when I struggle to get out of the warmth and coziness). I’m going to share this stretch routine that is great for any mamas who carry stress or tension in their hips (particularly useful for those in early postpartum when hips can be a little wonky), so be sure to follow me on Instagram and I’ll get it out soon.
Schedule 3 specific exercise sessions per week. More is great, but knowing I’ll get 3 in gives me a sense of peace that it will happen. In the book "Play", one big way to invite play into your life is movement (of any kind!). For me, this will be yoga, walking, and working on some postpartum exercises (I’m still working on these 4 years later…"postpartum" is a lot longer than we often think! See my other blog post about this.)
Have a dance party with my kids. We used to do this a lot at our old house when we had Alexa hooked up. We’d say, “Alexa play Jackson 5!” And my then 2–3-year-olds would dance around with me. It’s so fun! Alexa hasn’t been hooked up yet at our new house (we moved almost a year ago ha), but maybe that’s a task for the list. But I don't need her to have the dance party, so I am not going to let that stop us!
Emotional Self Care:
Journal at night a couple of times this week. Same as movement, if it’s more, great. But at least 2x. All that I’m looking for here is a dump of thoughts, nothing organized, just getting them out.
Here’s a version of play: Make macarons for Easter. Baking has become such a fun creative space for me, and now that I know that, I need to schedule it in so it happens (btw, scheduling is also a form of play for those of us planners out there!).
Spiritual Self Care:
Turn on a meditation to listen to while I fall asleep, at least 2x this week. I used to do this every night and somehow got out of the habit. But when I was doing it regularly, it helped me fall asleep faster. And sleep is something I’m really needing more of.
My new idea is to stick some post-its in a few places with a word to meditate or pray about and keep top of mind. I’m going to use the words "draw closer" to help me remember to draw closer to God and myself and really listen to what I may need and what may need to come next. If you’re reading this list for ideas for yourself, this could be any number of words to think about – "patience", "resilience", "deep breaths", "hope" ...and many, many more. Maybe I’ll try lots of post-its, those words sound great too ;)
Ok so before I get too overwhelmed with my list, I’m going to stop there (I like making lists but executing needs to stay reasonable). This is my plan for this week, and I’ll see where it takes me next week and throughout the month. What works is something I’m going to try to continue, and what doesn’t, I’ll skip out or try something new.
I’d love to hear what resonates with you or even if you’ll try making a list like this for yourself. I tried to keep it to things that could be done with minimal time, so I hope it gives you ideas that feel doable to you too. So, tell me in the comments or send me an email – I’d love to hear from you.