Rethinking Self Care
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
“Self-care” is a popular buzz word these days. Everyone needs self-care. But what the heck is it and how does one do it?
Many people seem to believe that self-care has a specific definition and it usually costs money to do it. Oh and time. Think of how often we tell women to go get a pedicure or massage or go shopping. Most of the moms I see in my practice do not have the time or extra cash to engage in these kinds of activities and because of that, they forego self-care all together. Sometimes they feel like its selfish. Its time to reframe. Self-care is not a luxury – it is a necessity. You need to make yourself a priority.
Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
I encourage my clients to think simple. Self-care is personal. What activities make them feel refreshed, recharged and balanced? What kinds of things did they enjoy that they suddenly find themselves not doing anymore once life got busy? Little things. It could be journaling or going for a walk or petting your cat. Maybe its scrapbooking or knitting. Or going to therapy or a Zumba class.
One of my favorite things that I give out to my moms is a 5 minute mindfulness exercise packet. I will include directions below. You will need your favorite kind of tea, 2 pieces of chocolate, a small vial of bubbles and just 5 minutes of quiet.
When you only have 5 minutes for self-care:
Minute 1: Boil water and allow tea to seep. Turn off the TV, put away your phone/tablet and get to a comfortable place where you feel like you can relax.
Minute 2: Blow bubbles. Focus on pushing out your breath by breathing deeply into your stomach. Notice if tension in your back, shoulders, jaw or temples is relieved when you take deep cleansing breaths.
Minutes 3 & 4: Spend 2 minutes eating a piece of chocolate. Don’t just pop it in your mouth. Notice its color, texture and smell. Nibble just a bit and let the flavor linger on your tongue until it melts, breathing deeply the whole time. Continue to be mindful of all 5 senses while you eat the rest of your chocolate paying attention to the taste, smell, look and texture. The other piece is for later. Or not. No judgement!
Minute 5: Tea time. Sip, relax and continue to focus on breathing deeply and being mindful of your senses. Don’t let these 5 minutes end without scheduling the next time you’ll take at least 5 minutes to care for yourself - make an appointment for yourself in your family calendar!