Last year we embarked on a journey of self-care at San Diego Moms Blog.
We decided 2017 would be the year we would be intentional about taking care of ourselves. The first thing I did was sit down and write out a list of what I needed to feel my best. I really enjoy reading so I made a goal to read more and set aside most of nap time for reading only. I ended up reaching my reading goal for the year in July!
I am not a morning person so I knew I would benefit from having a chance to wake up on my own each morning. We started the process of training our kids to stay in their room playing quietly until a set time every morning. I used this time to take a walk outside which helped me reach my goals of exercising and spending time outdoors, both of which are very important to me.
All of these examples are very specific to my interests and needs, but you can start to get an idea of what the yearlong journey looked like.
I learned so much last year about what it looks like to take care of myself and although I still have more areas to improve, I want to share some lessons that I have learned so far:
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Over the past year I have realized a grateful heart is truly the healthiest heart. When we take the time to express gratitude for the small and even seemingly insignificant parts of our days, our hearts change. I started writing down three specific things I was grateful for each day at breakfast. The best part of all was my girls started taking an interest in what I was doing and now they ask me every morning, “Mommy what are you grateful for today?”. Some days it wasn’t easy to come up with three things and some days it was hard to narrow it down, but developing the habit of showing gratitude changed how I viewed my kids, my marriage and myself.
2. Spend 15 minutes of intentional time with each of your children AND your husband every day. I know it may not seem like this fits into the “self-care” category, but it helped me enjoy my role of mother, especially stay-at-home mother, so much better. I felt like I was spending so much time with my kids because we were together pretty much around the clock, but with kids, quality always trumps quantity. Sure we were together all the time, but we weren’t actually spending most of that time bonding. Carving out intentional time for one-on-one quality time strengthened our relationship and also freed up some of the time that used to get wasted to spend on myself.
3. Set aside time each week for “me” time. The key part of that sentence being “set aside”. If I did not intentionally write on the calendar when I was going to take “me” time, then it didn’t happen. It doesn’t matter what you do or how long you do it, but having something to look forward to does wonders after a long week. You don’t even necessarily need to leave your house, although I think that getting out does have some unique benefits!
I am far from perfect in most areas of my life, even after a year of intentionally focusing on self-care. I still get burnt out and I still forget to check in on my mental health, but I am making strides every day toward a healthier me. I read somewhere that you are the only one who can give your children the memory of a happy mom. Don’t put yourself last for another day, I promise your kids will thank you one day!
More post on “me time”: