Taking care of busine…YOU!

Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” and “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness “.

Making it a habit to practice self-care can be challenging. We all have busy schedules (with work, school, household, familial and social obligations) and let’s not forget the guilt. The “I should-be’s” can have very loud opinions.

How we should implement self-care into our lives:

1. I suggest trying to get enough sleep. How difficult is it to try to do anything when you’re exhausted? I know when I go through my seasons of PTSD nightmares, I can hardly function, let alone feel like caring for myself.

In order to set yourself up for success in the sleep department, my personal experience shows that (at least for me) routine and organization are key. Have a bedtime routine that shifts your mind from activity to preparing for sleep modes. One of the most helpful for me was making the bedroom a sanctuary….cozy colors, cozy blankets, soft lighting. Hygge the hell out of that space. Room darkening curtains are a must and consider removing electronics from your bedroom (cell phones, televisions, etc.

2. Practice the art of saying “no”. “No” is a complete sentence. If you have no time to give yourself at least 15 min, you don’t have time to add another bake sale, Susan.

3. Eat well to feel well. Practice mindfulness during your meals, truly savoring your food. Watch which types of food make you feel gross and sluggish and which make you feel great? Water, water, water…

4. If you are able, get a pet. Studies have shown that pets, especially a dog, help reduce stress, anxiety and high blood pressure. I’ve heard that people with PTSD are now using service dogs. I know for myself, although not a service dog, my dog has been a great asset in helping to calm and relax me – even going as far as waking me up from the nightmares that harass me and the dog will not leave my side when a panic attack sets in.

5. My personal favorite, get outside. Being outside reduces fatigue, burn-out and depression. For me, it nourishes my soul, especially when I am able to get away from the city, major bonus points when I can get out to enjoy a full moon or a sunset/rise…

6. Exercise daily

7. Get organized. Organize your space, your calendar, your routines. Organization reduces stress exponentially. Schedule your self-care so you reduce your chances of bailing on yourself.

8. Make time to read.

Life has shown me that self-care is a fundamental part of what we should do. How can we pour ourselves out for our loved ones if we feel there is nothing within us to give?

So, let’s take a look at our calendars, pick a day and schedule a nice, long walk, a hot bath, a leisurely meal with friends, even just waking up 15 minutes earlier to have an uninterrupted cuppa and some time for a little deep breathing.

Step-parents, this is especially important for us all. Hell, it’s important no matter what prefix is attached to parenting.

On self-care and hiding in the pantry

Mamas (and Dads), raising children is hard. Maybe “hard” is the wrong word. It is beautiful and rewarding and, by far, the best thing I have ever done. Maybe “complex” would be a better choice.

Perhaps it isn’t even raising children….perhaps it is simply the act of parenting. For a group of people who are just winging this and sitting at the parenting version of the prom, hiding in the corner because everyone looks better than we do, we sure cast a shit load of judgment on other parents who are just as lost and just as uncertain as we are.

Natural birth. C-section birth. Home birth. Hospital birth. Breast fed. Formula fed. Jarred baby food. Homemade baby food. Cloth diapers. Disposable diapers. Home school. Public school. Private school. Parent. Step parent. Foster parent. Adopted parent…….the list and options are endless.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? All kids, regardless of the choices made in parenting, are going to pick their nose on the playground and become Olympic athletes in eye rolling at your lame jokes.

So, now that I started my thoughts off on a goat trail, let me re-group.

I am a firm believer and proponent of self-care. Honestly, we don’t have time to not make time. Nothing needs to be complicated, costly or timely. Taking even 5 or 10 minutes, on a chaotic day (more when you can) just for you is a necessity. Meditate, walk, yoga, lock yourself in the bathroom or hide in your bedroom closet 🤣. Whatever you do, simply be in that moment and let your thoughts still and your breath energize and heal you.

Can we do that? For real?

Yes, we have to. For our sake. For our family’s sake. Do something for yourself where you are not thinking of next week’s meal plan, tomorrow’s grocery list, when you have to switch over the laundry, whether the dog was walked or the cat fed, if notes are signed or….well, you get the drift.

For me, any time out in nature allows me to re-focus, to still my thoughts and quiet my soul. In a pinch, any “outside” will do but, let’s be real, for myself – a farm girl stuck in the city, being outside of the city is definitely ideal.

I am a toes in the sand, barefoot in the grass, ride the horse bareback through the pasture, smell the soil and the rain on the air, wolf howling in the distance kind of gal.

Growing up, the howls of wolves and coyotes were my lullaby and that howl still has a way of sweetly lulling me into relaxation.

So, get out there! Play in the dirt. Jump in the puddles. Kick off your shoes. Hide in the pantry with the bag of cheetos….whatever! Just go do something for you. You not only deserve it, you need it.

P.S. even if you are not a parent, take care of yourself. If you don’t, who will?