For this month’s installment of REAL TALK REAL MOMS, we’re talking self-care. This has definitely been one of the most difficult posts in this series for me to write…probably because it’s about ME and not my babies!
I first want to define “self-care.” Because when I first sat down to write this post, my first thought was, “I don’t do anything for self-care. I take care of my two little ones every day, try to run a business, and scramble to make dinner every day. I’m lucky if I’ve consumed my morning coffee by lunchtime and shower every other day.” And I struggled with feeling guilty about this idea of “self-care”…aren’t we supposed to put others before ourselves? Is self-care even important?
The more I thought about it, I realized that I do, in fact, have plenty of self-care routines. Self-care is really just any intentional efforts you take to care for your physical, emotional, or mental health. Watching a movie, eating something you love, flipping through the pages of a new magazine, exercising, making a cup of coffee in a beautiful chemex every morning, buying yourself something new (it doesn’t have to be expensive), etc. And I do think it is important; we need to take care of ourselves, and if our self-care isn’t over indulgent, it will help us to stay healthy! If I’m healthy (emotionally, physically, mentally), I’ll be able to better serve others. I don’t have a “self-care” plan that I’ve written out, but there are certain things that I do prioritize and could be lumped into this category. Self-care really has a lot to do with your habits and intentions, how efficient you are with your time, and even your personality. There’s no standard of what self-care should look like and it can differ for everyone!
F O O D
Overall, I feel like I eat relatively healthfully. I grew up in a very food-conscious household, and like to think that I’ve applied all I learned from my mom & dad into my life as an adult. I buy Ezekiel bread and only make whole wheat pasta and brown rice. We don’t have sweet cereal for breakfast (usually just old fashioned oats and raisins with a splash of milk) and we eat a lot of beans. If I make meat, it’s usually organic chicken breast. I don’t make super fatty foods. And we always have lots of fruits and vegetables in the house.
But a lot of times, I get caught up with work (the babies nap from about 3-6 PM so while that’s prime-dinner-making-time, it’s also the best time for me to work) so we end up getting takeout. This usually happens 1-2 times per week. Eating dinner away from home isn’t horrible (and I suppose it’s a form of self-care?) but a lot of times we end up not eating the healthiest foods. That’s why I really need to work at food as it relates to self-care (and family care). I need to get better at meal planning, smart shopping, and not bringing tempting foods into the home. Because ultimately, while I might cherish the time spent out of my kitchen, not preparing food and not doing the dishes, it’s not the best thing for my health/longterm self-care.
When I was pregnant, I actually think I ate healthier, because I was SO aware of those weekly/monthly visits to the scale, and fearful of delivering a chubby baby (haha)! Anyone else feel the same?
E X E R C I S E
Ugh, this post is hard to write and I’m simultaneously writing a “THE NEW REBECCA” list. Exercise is at the top. I hate working out. I’ve worked out probably once since having kids. Zoe would see people exercising in commercials or out on a jog and would be baffled! She’d ask, “mom, what’s that man doing?” Then, she started to associate exercising with Nana, because every time my mom visited she’d clear out the living room and work out. I need to work on this area immensely.
Also. I hate talking about this, but my post-baby body is not without lots of scars and ugly marks. I used to be SO proud of my six-pack (ha), and that thing is LONG gone. I hate the thought that I’ll never be able to wear a two-piece again (except maybe this beauty from Rachel Comey, because it might be high enough to hide my tummy). I want to be comfortable with my post-baby belly, and for this to happen, I need to take responsibility and start working on healing exercises for my diastasis recti (separated abdominal). Anyone with me here????
S L E E P
This is one area where I do take care of myself. I’ve ALWAYS been a sleepy person, and when I was pregnant with Zoe, I slept all the time. Now that I have two littles, I do still sleep. A lot. I’ve been blessed with two very good sleepers, so if I’ve needed it, I’ve been able to take 2-3 hour naps ever since having kids. If I’m feeling tired during the day, I wait until the girls’ afternoon nap time. But, that also happens to be the prime work/dinner/clean the house time, too…so I have to be careful with those naps.
H E A L T H / W E L L N E S S
I’m not a huge fan of going to the doctor, and I’ve never actually been to a doctor as an adult, aside from needing blood work once, and pregnancy/baby related things. My midwife is amazing, and she’s always available by text to answer my random health/wellness questions! My midwives’ birth center offers well-woman exams. So I feel like I’m doing alright in this category. I’ve finally figured out how to take daily showers (just don’t ask me to leave the house before 11 AM).
D E V O T I O N S / P R A Y E R / B I B L E T I M E
Most mornings, I find myself groggy and not getting out of bed until I have to (aka Zoe is begging me to wake up and come downstairs with her). At that point, it’s too late to read my Bible without interruption. I’m inspired to get on a better sleep schedule, going to bed earlier and sleeping only about 8 hours, and prioritizing quiet time for devotions and prayer in the morning before my kids wake up. This is the most important area of “self-care.”
S U P P O R T / F U N / L E I S U R E
I have the most incredible friends & family. They are always there for me: calling, praying, texting, lifting me up, stopping by. In January, for the first time EVER, I went away for a quick weekend trip with a few girlfriends. It was so much fun and I felt so recharged; I’m already dreaming up the next trip. I’m really blessed to have people in my life who continually life me up!
I think having fun & getting away for a bit is really helpful. Maybe that’s just going to the grocery store sans kids. Or maybe it’s going to Target for 3 hours with the kids. Just walking around and looking at all the pretty things. 😉 My favorite guilty pleasures consist of somewhat regular manicures and pedicures, and weekly auction trips. Oh, and almost-nightly TV watching with Joe. We love winding down in front of the TV. Probably love it too much 😉 Escaping from home for a few hours, for whatever that may be (in my case, a mani and pedi…where my lovely friends at the salon dote on me, and it’s amazing), is great for recharging, thinking (or not thinking about ANYTHING in particular), praying, etc.
Something I wish I made more time for is reading books! I have a stack and enjoy reading, but never seem to have the time. One of my self-care goals, I suppose.
M I S C.
I think being comfortable in your clothes, or at least in clothing that make you feel good, is really important for self-care. Fashion choices certainly don’t need to break the bank, but especially with my post-baby tummy, I think it’s important for our emotional health! Find a few pieces that both work for your current body and are comfortable, and wear them all the time!
I recently got my hair chopped off (12 inches) and it’s amazing. I’ve actually been DOING my hair and buying hair products and it feels great. After a million years of having LOOONG hair and never giving myself time to style my hair and just defaulting to putting it on top of my head, it’s great to constantly have it “down” and have to “style” it. I feel like a grown up, even if my current routine takes less than 10 minutes. My next hair goal is to do something crazy (for me) with my hair, like my friend Julien. 🙂
I’ll be honest….blogging, scouring Pinterest, spending way too much time on Instagram…these are all forms of self-care. These are ways for me to recharge and tap into various sources of inspiration.
And there you have it, my thoughts on self-care! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations & thank you! 😉 Be sure to check out the other mamas in this series. One of my favorite aspects of this series is reading everyone else’s stories and feeling SO encouraged to keep pressing on! We all approach the topics differently, and it’s wonderful to read the various mama-related victories, failures, struggles, bits of wisdom, and humor:
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