Recently, a client shared with me that she realized that her entire week was scheduled around driving the kids to and from school, their activities, their playdates, etc. In between those times, she crammed in going to the grocery store, cooking, and general stuff that is involved in managing a family. Somewhere along the line she realized that she had gotten lost in the shuffle. Her commitment to her family and their needs was written in stone – there was no way anything could get in the way of that. But what about her commitment to herself? Wasn’t she a member of the family, too? She realized that going to the gym and working out made her feel powerful and calm and relaxed. Not going to the gym, frankly, made her bitchy and irritable. And that doesn’t help anyone. She realized her needs were every bit as important as the needs of her family, and she was a better mom when she prioritized her own needs.
Your needs are as important as the needs of your family.
It’s true. If you’ve ever flown on an airplane and actually paid attention to the flight attendants’ spiel, they always say to put your own oxygen mask on first, and then on your child. It’s not selfish, it’s because you can’t help anyone if you pass out. Likewise, if you are so busy making sure everyone else is covered, you miss out on catching your own breath.
"But I love my family! Making them happy makes me happy"! Good for you! There is absolutely nothing wrong with making people happy. Being happy is good! But where it starts to get a little bit iffy is when you stop making time for yourself. "But I don’t have time! I need to do laundry, make dinner, read a bedtime story, etc." Then I guess you’re going to have to get a little creative, huh?
Here are 3 easy ways to sneak in a little self care –
Maximize the small pockets of time. Your kid has baseball practice? Awesome. What can you do with this time? Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read and read in the car. Plan some phone time and catch up with a friend. Do something that makes YOU happy.
Get creative with location. You’re a few minutes early to an appointment? You finished grocery shopping faster than expected? Drive to a secluded part of the parking lot, grab your phone and download a meditation app. (Headspace is a personal favorite.) You can find guided meditations ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours. Once you close your eyes, it’s really not going to matter where you are.
Get liberal with your definition of self care. It doesn’t have to mean spending hours at a spa with a mud mask and cucumbers on your eyes (but doesn’t that sound heavenly?!). It can mean whatever the heck it is that brings you joy. Buy the good cookies because you deserve them. Splurge on the fancy bath bombs because they smell so darn good. Close the door when you take a bath, because seriously, just do it.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. Make time for yourself. No matter how busy or hectic you may think your week is. Making time for your self will allow you to present a better self to everyone else.