1. Do something that you love once per day.
I'm a firm believer that we weren't born just to work and then die (sorry if that's a bit harsh!). You have things that you love to do. Think about the things that make you feel that deep warm glow within, and try to do one of them each day even if it's just for a short time. Some ideas are: call a friend for a chat, go for a walk, have a bath, read a book, practice yoga or other exercise, listen to music... with or without a private dance party ;) - the possibilities are endless as long as you feel that it fills up your heart or clears your head.
2. Ask for help
This is something that many of us struggle with - a tonne; because even when you find a helper, the temptation to take over to "make sure it's done right" often prevails. All I ask is that you find a way to balance your roles so that not every task defaults to you. Often it's the mental chaos of the neverending to-do list that is more stressful than actually getting things done. Therefore, when you can share responsibilities - with your kids, your partner, or by paying someone - you will free up some of that head space that is making it so hard to concentrate and think clearly. If sharing roles isn't an option, then organization and routines will help to simply your life. Whether you meal plan, only grocery shop on a certain day of the week, and put your vitamins in a daily pill container, the more things that are built into a schedule, the less brain power will be wasted on them. It's like a hard drive, when you have too many programs open at once the system gets slow.
3. Stop, what do I need in this moment?
A sign that we need to take a minute for ourselves is a sense of overwhelming emotion: a sudden flash of anger or irritability, or breaking down in tears. Quite often those feelings are not being caused by the situation, they are an overflow of built-up feelings. Once you recognize that your emotions are not quite what they seem, you can learn to stop first ... and then think, what do I need in this moment? Sometimes the answer is food and it's low blood sugar making you cranky because you skipped lunch, sometimes it's a little space to breathe by yourself, sometimes it's that you haven't worked your brain enough that day... it could be a great number of things (although if you ask your mom or your best friend, they might have a clue for you) but understanding our body's cues has become so suppressed that it we no longer recognize what we need, or we're too distracted to listen.
My favourite self-care ideas:
- infrared sauna
- dry skin brushing
- castor oil packs
- make sure you eat as well as your kids do
- meal planning
- yoga class (or Youtube at home)
- meditation or deep breathing
- epsom salt baths with a drop of lavender oil
- journal or make lists
- colouring books
- planting a vegetable garden
- go to bed on time and on schedule
- make a cup of tea
- book a massage, pedicure, counselling, or acupuncture appointment
- bake muffins
- kayaking and paddle boarding (soon I hope!)
- make your own body scrub
- listen to music or a podcast
- buy fresh flowers or a new plant