In the event of an emergency airlines instruct parents to put their oxygen masks on first, before helping their children or anyone else. At first this didn’t make sense to me, I always put my children first! Then I realized if I didn’t have enough oxygen myself, I wouldn’t be able to help anyone. This is a good rule of thumb to follow in everyday life as well. As moms, we often get so busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take time to care for ourselves. I am definitely guilty of not practicing regular self care, and both myself and my family have suffered for it on multiple occasions. No one likes to be around a grouchy stressed out mama, but it wasn’t until I cried over spilled milk (literally) that I realized something had to change.
Surprisingly, taking the time to practice self care was not something that came easy to me. I’m practically OCD when it comes to my to-do list, and walking away from it to do something “leisurely” just didn’t feel right. I knew if I was really going to succeed at this self care thing I was going to have to keep it short, and simple.
I started by writing a list of things I could do in less than 3 minutes that would relieve stress and/or contribute to my physical well-being. Then I committed to doing one thing on the list each hour of the day. It’s simple, it’s easy, and most importantly- it’s working!
I have more energy, my mood has improved, I’m no longer stressed out at the end of the day and I’ve never felt more content with life in general. I’m spending more quality time with my kidlets, and because I’m no longer a total *&!#% at the end of the day my relationship with the dear husband has improved as well. It seems odd, but even though I’m taking time away from my schedule to practice self care, I’m actually accomplishing more than I ever have before.
I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck is possibly on my list to yield such amazing results, and of course I’m going to share. However, you’ll probably be surprised to find that everything I’m doing is really, really simple. That’s the beauty of it, self care doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it have to take a lot of your time to be effective! So here you go…
Simple Ways To Practice Self Care That Take 3 Minutes Or Less
- Drink a glass of fresh squeezed juice
- Count your blessings
- Tell someone you love them
- Meditate for 3 minutes
- Jam out to your favorite song
- Take a GOOD multiple vitamin
- Email a friend
- Hold a yoga pose for 1 minute
- Light a candle
- Rub lotion all over your body
- Apply a facial mask, go back to your to-do list, then rinse it off 10 min. later
- Read a daily devotion
- Join a message board on Baby Center to connect with other moms
- Eat a fruit or vegetable
- Put some energizing essential oils in a diffuser
- Turn the radio on & dance!
- Give yourself a compliment
- Give someone else a compliment
- Read a blog post from one of your favorite blogs
- Sit outside in the sun and listen to the sounds of nature
- Forgive someone
- Drink a glass of tea
- Write a journal entry
- Place a heat pack on your back or neck
- Drink an 8 oz. glass of ice water
- Eat a small bowl of ice cream
- Buy something for yourself online
- Eat of cup of yogurt with live active cultures
- Call your husband at work just to say you love him
I’ve also made it a point to take a bath once a week, and do one “big” thing for myself each month. On Wednesday I’m going to get a one hour massage, and next month I have a lunch date planned with my best friend. I also attend San Diego Moms Night Out every two months to give myself a chance to get out of the house and connect with other moms.
The bottom line is I’m doing my best to be mindful of putting my proverbial oxygen mask first, and remembering that if I don’t care for myself, I wont be to do a very good job caring for anyone. If you’ve found yourself feeling run down or stressed out lately, I encourage you to make your own list of simple ways to practice self care, you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes! Chances are, you have some pretty important people that depend on you, so don’t let the guilt of “not having time” to care for yourself get in the way. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to do a much better job taking care of those you love, and accomplish more than you ever imagined possible.
What do you do to practice self care? Please leave a comment and share!