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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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