People talk a lot about self-care, but as a parent with a full-time job, it is difficult to find an opportunity to take care of yourself. I strive to ensure my children have balanced meals, are well-hydrated, spend lots of time outside (with sunscreen!) and have adequate amounts of sleep. When it comes to myself, though, I have a tendency to relax the rules a bit. Self-care can be associated with indulgence, which I get–people talk about self-care in terms of manicures and pedicures, ice cream cones and the like.
Don’t get me wrong…these things have their place! But true self-care is about being the healthiest person you can be, which is the best gift you can give to those you love most.
I’m working on it. I have started running again, and exercise is truly a game-changer for me. A good run does wonders for my mood, and although a bad run makes me feel a bit grumpy, it still helps me feel accomplished. There are other things I can be working on, though, and this week I have a few additional, simple goals related to self-care.
- Don’t eat lunch at my desk. Unless I have lunch plans with a colleague, I am perpetually eating lunch at my desk, which is kind of gross, to be honest. And kind of sad. I don’t need a whole hour, but taking 20 minutes to eat a sandwich and read a book in our lunch room shouldn’t be that difficult. Plus, I might actually have the opportunity to connect with a colleague!
- Morning pages. I’m going to get up just a few minutes earlier and drink my cup of coffee in silence while scribbling three pages of thoughts. My life has changed astronomically in the past five years, and I don’t often give myself the opportunity to consider and come to terms with what I have lost and gained in that time. Writing provides me with an opportunity to be proactive about anxieties and negative feelings–I can get them on paper and let them go.
- Bake something. I know, I know. Sugar and fat don’t really come to mind when someone says “self-care,” but baking is a true pleasure of mine, and baking something for someone else is even better. I love the taste of an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but I love more watching a person’s eyes light up when I hand them an unexpected package of baked goods.