Pre-requisite for reading this post: Go make yourself some tea, or lemonade, or get a glass of wine. Something you can sit down with and feel a good amount of “cozy up and read” with. No seriously.. Go on!
Got it? Yay! Good 🙂 Ok, let’s proceed:
Let me start off by saying- I am no expert! However I have spent a lot of time unhappy. You might say, in fact, that if I am an expert at anything, it is being UNhappy. I’m not talking like moderately unhappy. I’m talking clinically depressed unhappy. Having the perfect life and yet nothing can make me feel happy, unhappy. Thinking I beat depression one day just to have it back for a month (or months) straight, unhappy. Some days and months are easier than others but luckily, this has in turn, helped me learn what I can do to care for myself and my family, keeping everyone just a little happier. I’d love to share with you what works, when I am working. 🙂
Take Time For Self-Care
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, and if you haven’t well you have now! This is an absolute must, and looks different for everyone. It might not be a bubble bath with wine, candles and a good book, or perhaps it is. It also won’t need to look the same every time. Self-care is everything from brushing our teeth in the morning to escaping for a wine night with the girls, to putting the kids to bed early so you can eat the last of the ice cream and watch your favorite show…or three. It might be taking more walks, it might be saying no to more things so you can spend less rush-time with your kids, or enjoying your hobby more than once a month. Whatever it is that YOU need to have a better day, DO IT. (Notice I didn’t say what makes you feel better, because sometimes that will counteract all of the wonderful self care we’ve been doing already! Ice cream once a day is fine for me..but coffee once a day, will ruin my week..and the week of everyone who has to be around me! Even if it will make me feel better in the moment. Self care is not necessarily better in the moment, it’s truly better for your life, although splurging is always fine in my opinion 😉 )
Don’t Just Take The Time, Make The Time
By this I mean, don’t just decide to read a book tonight, or watch a good show, revel in it. If you are setting up a bath for yourself, set it up like no other. Candles, bubbles, wine, cheese, heck Netflix in there with you, go the whole nine yards with it. You will thank yourself, not later, but right away! That book needs a cup of tea and a spot in the sunshine! Your kids will be perfectly fine playing in the yard, and seeing you take care of yourself is incredibly healthy for them too. They need to learn by your example that taking care of themselves is not just OK, but encouraged and important! Set up some painting for you and for them. Outside if you can. Ask them what they need to have a better day, and do your “self-care time” together. Do it now if you have even a bit of time! This post will still be here! Go! When your day feels overwhelming, as though you have not even an extra second, that is exactly when you need to make the time for self care. This is your life. Make YOU important. Which brings me to my next point:
No Excuses! Yes You Can!
Sure, your now-sleeping six month old might wake up and decide he needs you, and that won’t be the nicest way to leave your bath, (I’m really committed to this bath theme ;)) but he might not! Even if he does, you will have started to make the habit of caring for yourself, which is the most important part of self-care: Doing it! Get used to finding little hidden moments in your day, not to hide behind the bathroom door and jump on Facebook, (guilty!) but to intentionally fill your cup. Motherhood, life in general, is absolutely miserable without your resiliency tools. They don’t come from being perfect and knowing exactly what to do, they come from just trying your best in the moment to brush the dust and debris off of your inner voice, craning your neck and listening to what it needs right then. This again brings me to the next one:
Don’ Worry About Perfect!
One of the biggest mistakes I see and hear people making is comparing their self-care to others, or to the optimal. Self-care is not about doing everything perfect all of the time! In fact, it’s the opposite. Self-care means caring for yourself and listening to what you truly need. Maybe it’s as simple as a glass of water, tea, a nap, a run, remember, it’s about caring for yourself- loving yourself. We don’t justlove people because of their perfections, or just when they do things right, we love people despite their flaws, we might even find their little flaws and quirks endearing. Strive to find that for yourself. Find yourself quirky and endearing! Laugh about forgetting your vitamins-again, or about how long it’s been since you entered into your journal, and keep it lighthearted. It will be much easier for you to find a way to remember next time if you don’t fill yourself with guilt and it will help you to end your day positively and to fall asleep happy. Easier said than done I know, but don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t worry about doing it every time! Embrace yourself for doing it once, ignore the times you forgot, before you know it, it will become a habit.
Read more about Building Healthy Habits and Learning To Accept Your Perfection To Beat Life and Depression in a soon-to-be post or two!
Build Healthy Habits- It’s Not Just Bubble Baths and Books
There are a few habits that help everything else fall into place: Drink plenty of water. Eat well. Take supplements. (Here’s a list of what I find to be most important for a a
busy, read:any, Mom.) Try to get outside every day. (I know that can be a big one, especially if you’ve been feeling really down. It’s crazy how the littlest things can seem so overwhelming, so please know I don’t just say that lightly.) Clean just one thing a day. Baby Steps, start with any little thing and build onto it. Let your healthy habits change and flow with you, the way you take in your water, maybe it’s warm with lemon, then it becomes tea, then a nice new water bottle, and your diet is free to change with the seasons and your desires. Make Self-Care an everyday part of your life, not just set aside for one night a week.
Make It Easy
Get yourself that fancy new water bottle! Keep your supplements next to your tea and honey. Buy chocolate ice cream to put in your morning protein shake. Put your phone in the next room while you work out. Treat yourself to a fancy, absolutely amazing, Peloton Bike or another exercise bike. Put your running shoes and workout clothes right next to where you get up in the morning. Turn your bathroom into a lovely little sanctuary (ooh! this is going to be my one thing to clean today!) This is your life. The only one you get, (save for reincarnation if that’s your thing :)) and you deserve to enjoy it! Do whatever big or little steps you can to make it easier on yourself to build habits of self-care.
Self-Care Helps You Learn Who You Are
Learning what makes you feel better, makes you feel better! The small things, like learning you love chamomile tea, or the scent of lavender, they build your sense of who you are, which in turn help you keep building healthy habits, building in time for yourself and overall enjoying more little moments of your life. One little step at a time, and before you know it you’ve made it a mile, once you’ve gone a mile, another step is SO much easier. Learning who you are, and learning to enjoy who you, are truly helps build a better quality of life. It really does help you learn how to be happy. But don’t get stuck on being perfect! Let those unhappy moments, days, or weeks run their course. The deeper your love and understanding for yourself goes, then more effort you put into yourself when you’re feeling even slightly up to it, and the easier it will be to pull yourself back up out of bed and back into enjoying your life. Good luck, I know you can do it. Start right now, just one little thing. 🙂