This Sunday is Mother’s Day and as I will be spending most of it in the car driving to and from a soccer tournament, I thought it was a fitting week to write a post about the importance of self care. If you are a busy career woman, or mom, or both, taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance, but often ignored. As women, we often put other’s needs in front of our own , but we must remember to take care of ourselves. Self care can take many forms and I like to call it preventative maintenance. It is kind of like changing the oil in your car to keep it running smoothly and to ensure it doesn’t break down. Self care doesn’t have to be a weekend at a pricey spa ( although I wouldn’t say no to that). Even small things can bring joy and contentment. The most important thing is to remember to do them, so my first piece of advice is to actually set aside time to practice self care.
Put it in your calendar, just like would a dentist appointment or an oil change, and stick to it. (That is another thing – make sure you actually DO schedule your doctor’s appointments and go to them. Get regular check-ups and don’t just go when there is something wrong or you are not feeling well.)
I learned this tip from the amazing Emily Ley. I use her Simplified Planner religiously ( I talk more about it here) and also read her book – “Grace, not perfection”, which has some amazing tips for simplifying your life and living happily in the moment. It is one of my favorite books ever and a great guide to self care.
For example, I schedule a lunch break even when working from home. It gives me 30 minutes a day to actually enjoy my lunch and not eat it while hammering away on my keyboard. I almost always conclude with a cup of tea and a cookie. Another example is that my husband and I have date night every Wednesday night. It is on both of our calendars and it is a priority. It is our chance to catch up with each other and truly have time alone.
I actually hate exercise and to me, it is a form of punishment. I do not find it enjoyable at all. However, I do love a good walk around my neighborhood on a sunny day. I cherish the alone time and breathing room, but my husband and I also take that walk together and it is just as enjoyable. The only exercise class I actually like taking is Pure Barre. It is super low impact and strengthens and tones your entire body. I used to use the excuse that it was too expensive. But you know what?! I finally decided that I am worth it. There are still days I have to force myself to go, but it is only 55 minutes and afterwards I am so glad I did it. I also enjoy the results, which keep me going back. Another bonus is, the grocery store is right next door, so I get my shopping done afterwards. Speaking of grocery sopping….
Schedule a Grocery Delivery
Mondays are my re-set day, where I clean, do laundry, plan meals and get ready for the remainder of the week. I used to find it impossible to complete all of these tasks in one day and immediately felt that I was behind. As a result, I started my week out stressed. Now, I plan my meals on Sundays and also schedule a grocery deliver simultaneously for Monday morning. This has become a huge timesaver and stress reliever for me. No longer do I have to leave the house and interrupt my cleaning schedule, yet I have a full fridge and dinner ready by the time everyone gets home. I use Amazon Fresh, which I love. The mailman simply drops it at my front door and I can order until 3:30 p.m. for a 7 a.m. delivery. The monthly fee of $14.95 is well worth it for the amount of time I save. I get all of my weekly staples delivered and at least one or two dinners I have planned. That buys me enough time until I go to barre class and grocery shopping afterwards on Wednesdays.
This could be anything from exercising to getting your nails done to going to bed early with a good book or to catch up on your favorite TV show. They key is to do something that makes you happy. One of my favorites is taking a hot bath with a glass of wine and a book or magazine or binge watching Netflix on the nights my hubby is out of town and the kids are watching their own shows. I slip into my favorite pajamas and maybe put on a good mask and light my favorite candle.
When I do go to the store, I like to buy myself small treats, such as fresh flowers, a good chocolate bar or a fancy linen spray. They are not expensive things, but bring me pleasure every time I look at them or enjoy them. Trader Joe’s has the best flowers and fancy chocolate. I also love using Mrs. Meyers dryer sheets on my sheets and towels..
It is okay to say no to things. It took me only 40 years to figure that one out. If someone asks you to do something and you feel that internal struggle or that little voice telling you to say now, listen to it. There are nice ways to let someone down such as: “I wish I could, but it is just not possible right now. Thank you for thinking of me.” or “This year my priorities are very few but focused. I won’t be able to squeeze this one in.”
I hope you found this helpful! Now go and schedule some me time and do what makes you happy!