What does self-care look like to you?
I'll bet that you pictured what is most often portrayed on social media. You pictured a well-groomed woman wearing an evenly applied face mask, holding a glass of wine with a stunning manicure. Now that this picture is fresh in your mind, remove it from your brain's data bank, permanently.
Self-care isn’t always manicures, pedicures and face masks. Yeah, it feels good to have those things done. Let’s be real though, is this something that is making an impact on your well-being long-term? Probably not. Self-care is about taking care of yourself as a whole, and that includes your mental health.
Pampering yourself physically is important, but self-care needs to have a focus on mentally pampering yourself.
As a mother, it’s hard to find the time to focus on yourself. There's sporting events and practices.There’s planning dinner for the week, and then actually cooking it. There's doing the laundry, and then actually folding it. On top of that, you’re trying to remember all the little things. You need to read to your kids more often, work on letters/colors/numbers, and not let them get too much screen time.
Trust me, I get it. Being a mom in today’s world is hard.
Gone are the days where our sanity is intact. We no longer have an abundance of free time. The days where that perfect mani will stay unchipped for multiple days is a thing of the past.
So, I encourage you to embrace the change. You’re in a new season of life. You’re the keeper of tiny humans. You’re a busy mama with a full plate and you need to change your self-care routine accordingly.
Manicure Your Mindset
Every day your brain is dwelling on what was difficult, what goes wrong, or what you haven’t accomplished. Change your thought process and watch everything around you change as well. Examples?
During the early days of infanthood, remember that babies only stay babies for a short time. Push through the colic, sleepless nights and endless feedings. Implant the idea in your mind of how quickly this time will pass. Enjoy every moment of that glorious little gummy smile.
During the “terrible two's”, remember that toddlers are not terrible. They’re tiny humans that are trying to figure out the world. They have mounds of information thrown at them daily. Their little brains are working full-time to interpret everything.
When you make an effort to look at things in a different way, your mind will follow. Could you imagine the impact this will have if you implement this idea today?
You will be in a better headspace at the end of the day if you are intentional in all things you do. This is important in every area of your life. You may not be able to carve out a lengthy chunk of time each day to tend to your to-do list. You may not get more than a few hours each night with your family, but you can at least make the most of the time you do have and avoid time thieves.
I’m going to use an example of the most common time thief - technology.
When you get a spare few minutes, most of us immediately grab our phone to scroll through social media. Social media is a thief of your valuable time. Technology feels like some sort of weird time warp. You mindlessly grab your phone and start the infamous scroll through your timeline. Before you know it thirty minutes have passed, but it feels like you sat down only five minutes ago.
If you have things on your to-do list, then go get them done! Stop waiting until later. Stop saying you’ll check the latest updates on Instagram and then you’ll go do the laundry. Stop saying you'll check Facebook, and then you'll play with your kids. Because we all know what happens. You sit, you scroll and you stay there. You have limited time during daylight hours to enjoy your life. Stop the scroll, put the phone down and make every minute count. Your mental health will thank you for it.
Again, it isn’t a glass of wine and a face mask, but it has a much bigger impact on you. Your mental health will greet you with a huge hug for this one. Don't believe me? Try it and see for yourself.
Go for a drive. Sit on your porch. Open the windows and fill your lungs with fresh air. Take a walk. Get a healthy dose of the outdoors as often as you can. See the beautiful sky. Smell the fresh-cut grass of the summer or the crisp leaves of fall. Step outside and feel the stillness in the cold winter air. Feel the buzz in the air from the spring plants bursting with life. Get back in touch with Mother Nature and you’ll find that you get back in touch with yourself.
These concepts may, at first, seem completely out of tune with the common idea of self-care. But today’s outlook on self-care doesn’t always have a lasting impact on you. The manicure chips, the face mask gets washed off and the wine is usually left unfinished (who actually likes the taste of wine anyways, come on!). So do yourself a favor, get rid of your current idea of a pamper sesh, revamp your routine and see the impact it has on your health.