Taking care of ourselves can come in many forms and there is no right or wrong as long as it is conscious, intentional and built in. As long as you are taking care of you, what this looks like is often quite subjective. Below are some ways you might take care of yourself (as well as model to your children what self-care looks like). In the exercise you will be asked to explore your own self-care according to these categories so get those thinking hats on and enjoy the process!
- The 3 Categories of Self-Care
- Feels Good & Feels Alive
The 3 Categories of Self-Care
- Physical & Emotional
You can take care of yourself physically by eating healthy and exercising or making sure you get enough sleep or getting acupuncture or massage therapy. You might take care of yourself emotionally in therapy or by practicing yoga or meditation or laughing every day or practicing deep breathing. There are many ways to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Think about what you might add to this list as possibilities.
- Responsible & Fun
Staying on top of your doctor appointments for example is one area of responsible self-care as is taking your car in for its needed checkups so that you and your family are safe while driving. Putting on your seatbelt might qualify too! Getting monthly pedicures may be more of a fun thing (unless you are prone to ingrown toe nails and then pedicures may be a responsible act of self-care too!) Other fun self-care may include girls’ nights out, massages, a quiet cup of coffee or a great hike! The possibilities are endless. What else might you add?
- Action & Chosen In-action (doing/not doing)
Both setting time aside for you as well as saying NO to life’s obligations (or your kids’ schools) constitutes self-care. Sometimes you want to do-do-do and sometimes you just need to be-be-be…to sit still! Listen to and honor yourself. Action might be writing a chapter in your new book or planning a vacation or going on vacation or out to lunch whereas chosen in-action is the active choice to say NO and embracing that NO when you don’t have it in you to give of yourself to others. What else?
Feels Good & Feels Alive
Ever notice that some actions/chosen in-actions make you feel good and happy while others seem to nourish your soul? Of course this is entirely subjective for what nourishes me (writing for example), may bore you to tears! Additionally, what makes us feel good some days (lunch with girlfriends) may make us feel truly alive others (lunch with old happy friends where conversation and stories and laughter flow and you actually say “Oh, I needed that!”). Both are important for emotional wellbeing. Self-care that generates vitality however, that makes us feel truly alive and brings us closer with our authentic selves is especially important! Sometimes, we moms forget what else makes us us aside from our kids or what else drives us in life.
- When you reconnect with that authentic self – it brings you joy, peace, a feeling of wholeness and balance…you feel more complete.
So the trick is to first rediscover what these things are that makes us feel both good and alive and then to build them into our lives – commit to them, schedule them, and create structures to support their existence – because they are important because YOU are important!
- To be the best possible version of ourselves for our kids – we must take care of ourselves!
We take care of ourselves so that we can be more emotionally and physically available to our kids, even in the more challenging moments or especially in those moments! And we do it to model to our kids the importance of taking care of ourselves because as we know they will imitate what they see!
- Challenge Yourself!
Begin to explore the status of your own self-care: jot down things you are already doing to honor your self-care in each of the above categories: physical & emotional, responsible & fun and action & chosen in-action. What do you already do and what would you like to take on? Next, note which make you feel good and which make you feel alive. The goal is to have possible actions (and in-actions) in all of the identified categories and that both make you feel good as well as make you feel alive! Have fun with this!
Next, choose one or two actions/inactions to take on this week. Share with us and let us know what you’re up to! Whatever you choose make sure to create the necessary structure around that allows it to occur…secure a sitter (or your husband) to be with the kids, set a reminder alarm in your phone, or a get a friend on board to join you.
- Make it happen. You are important!