Don’t get me wrong. I am all for the conventional self-care practices like bubble baths, long walks and naps. In fact, I have an entire list of practical self-care ideas for moms. But I also want to talk about the less-talked about types of self-care.
This right here is the entire reason that I started “Mommy Needs a Timeout.”
Once I became a mom, I poured everything into my kids and left nothing for myself. I gave up my career—which I wanted to do. I put my marriage on the back burner, stopped hanging out with friends and even stopped having fun. Eventually that caught up with me and I woke up one day thinking, “Who the hell am I, and what the hell happened?”
I thought I was alone in feeling this way. I was almost embarrassed and ashamed because I love my family and I am so grateful to have three children. I felt like I was being a spoiled brat because I actually had to fight infertility and miscarriage to even have children in the first place, and then here I am wishing that I could just be “me” again.
It took years (and a slight obsession) of working, counseling, coaching, reading, surveying and overall personal growth to discover that:
- I was not alone in feeling this way.
- We can still be an awesome mom AND be connected with our identity.
- We can have it all and live a life that we love.
Here are five alternative ways that I have practiced self-care on my personal development journey over the past few years.
1. Create healthy boundaries.
I got into the boundary game late, meaning I always felt bad for saying no or standing my ground. So, I didn’t. The good thing is that people think I am really nice. The bad thing is that people think I am really nice. When you don’t stick your ground, people tend to walk all over you.
Just because you stand your ground doesn’t mean that you aren’t nice. Just because you have opinions and limits doesn’t mean you’re a jerk. As author Danielle LaPorte says, “Open heart. Big f*cking fence.” You can set boundaries and still love and be compassionate. They are complimentary, not contradictory.
2. Justify your reason for taking action. Today.
Every time I see a FedEx truck in my neighborhood, I am half hoping it’s coming to my house and half wondering if I ordered something. What is it about that free two-day shipping that gives us permission to spontaneously order items that we may or may not need? It’s justification.
If it weren’t for the allure of the free two-day shipping, I wouldn’t be impulsively placing orders for ergonomic can openers, modern versions of Polaroid cameras and Harry Potter themed nightgowns…
Ordering is quick, easy and it has a “special” value. Which makes it completely justified in my eyes. Justification (versus excuses) is all we really need when we want to motivate ourselves to do something.
Today, I challenge you to find the justification to take action towards one of your goals. Maybe it’s completing a workout. Or, making time for yourself. Or, having that difficult conversation. When you justify your reason for taking action it goes from being a burden to being a privilege.
3. Take ownership of your life.
For better—and for worse.
Someone recently said to me, “You are really taking ownership of your happiness now.” And, that’s true. I OWN my happiness, instead of depending on someone else for it. And in the same way, I OWN my sadness, instead of blaming someone else for it. It’s freedom.
4. Choose joy.
Happiness isn’t something that can be told, it can only be shown. Happiness is not a feeling: It is a way of life.
5. Believe that you are beautiful.
We have to realize our beauty is not how we look, but how we feel. When you accept yourself, you FEEL beautiful, and thus you ARE beautiful. It has nothing to do with weight, makeup, clothing, or hairstyles. Love yourself.
At the end of the day, self-care is simply about loving yourself. Only then will you be able to love others to your fullest. Remember: You can’t give what you don’t have.
Whenever you hit a bump or feel stuck, remember where you started. I know the journey has its ups and downs, but stepping back and seeing how far you’ve come is a great reminder to celebrate.