What is Self Care and Why Do I Need It?
Self care is a phrase gaining in popularity. If you type it into Pinterest or google you will find a nearly endless supply of posts to give you the best ideas to practice self care, but it is much harder to figure out what this phrase means when you’re struggling to make it through your day. It is my hope in this post to take what seems like a semi-obvious phrase and unpack it so that you can implement self care into your daily life. What is self care? Why do I need it?
When I started my journey towards self care I just started focusing on myself, I didn’t really know what to call it. I just knew that I was filling my heart with things I enjoyed doing for myself, it was helping my mood, and I never wanted to stop focusing on myself again. Through research and a LOT of time on Pinterest, I found the phrase “self care” which encompasses exactly what I was doing. But it took me a long time to get there.
This isn’t something that is just for moms. Everyone needs self care.
My blog just happens to focus on motherhood, so I will be mentioning it. These practices are perfect for anyone of any age. I just believe that as mothers we really tend to lose ourselves. If you aren’t a mother, keep reading because this is for you as well.
So what is Self Care?
Without getting too obvious here, the definition is simple, caring for one’s self. While that short definition is obvious, I want to get a little deeper than that.
Self care is doing the things that fill your heart and soul, giving you the energy to continue on, and make you connect to the real, true you. You are more than a mom. You are more than a girlfriend. There is more to you than your career or your family life. Connecting with the woman you are, outside of these things is where you find self care.
You can’t pour from an empty cup
It is a phrase we have heard a million times, but it rings true. You MUST fill yourself with things that make you happy and connect you to the person you are inside. When you’re a caregiver of any sort, this means you will have to focus on yourself a little more than if you arent.
I have shared my self care journey on my blog many times, and how I found that taking 5 minute breaks for myself changed the type of woman, wife, and mother I am. I went from utterly exhausted, trying to be super mom, doing everything for everyone and ignoring myself, to a woman who is focused on keeping herself whole so that I can be the absolute best wife and mother I can be. These words are in a specific order, so I will reiterate. I went from being an exhausted mom to a woman focused on caring for herself in order to be the best wife and mother I can be.
My focus is more on myself than on being a mom. I am also a wife, before being a mom. This is not to say I ignore my child or her needs. She is a top priority in my day but making sure that the needs of myself and my marriage are also top priorities, which sometimes take precedence.
At the end of the day, as much as I hate to think of it, my house will once be without kids, and I need to know who I am as a woman. I also need to keep nurturing my marriage, because we will have to function as a couple after raising our family. Letting my marriage or my own passions fade because I’m a mom cannot happen.
Why do I need it daily?
As I said above, I say to start with 5 minute blocks and squeeze them in throughout your day. I think there’s a misconception that self care is when you go get a pedicure or a massage. There’s no denying that these are self care, but they are not the end all, be all. Self care doesn’t need to be saved up and done in one giant splurge of ultimate pampering.
I have written many articles on ideas for self care, you can find some here, here, and here. One thing you will find in these posts is I talk about how you can do it in 5 minute chunks and at home or wherever you are. The 5 minute chunks are easy enough to fit into pretty much every schedule, so your excuses are void.
Will 5 minutes a day make you feel like a new woman? Maybe not, but you will be connecting with your true inner self which will help to fill your heart with the energy to keep being super mom.
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The myth of the super mom
We see it on tv and movies all the time, the mom who runs herself ragged. She works, she has perfectly behaved children who never throw tantrums over going down the wrong aisle of the grocery store, and she always has a smile on her face. Then you become a mom, and this tiny baby needs you nonstop, sleep goes out the window, and you forget what a daily shower is like. Overnight your life goes from caring only for yourself and your needs to caring for this tiny baby that relies on you, so you, in turn, forget about yourself.
It is something that comes so naturally to us before we have kids when we are young and selfish. Yet, the minute we become moms, all that knowledge goes straight out the window. Hitting the pillow completely exhausted, and dreading feeling the same way tomorrow becomes the new norm. There is NO way for any of us to do it all, and be it all with no other help.
This is why caregivers for the elderly or seriously ill tend to get sick themselves. You get so wrapped up in caring for the other person that you completely neglect everything about yourself. Which leads to exhaustion, and in many cases, getting sick yourself. You can’t take care of everyone else without spending a little time focusing on your own needs too.
What can you do for you?
Once you figure out where you have time in your schedule for self care, you need to know what you will do. Choosing can sometimes be difficult, but here are a few of my favorite ways to spend a few minutes on myself.
- Take a bath
- Enjoy an adult beverage, or even some hot cocoa
- Go for a walk, with or without my family
- Spend some time outside
- Put on makeup
- YouTube a quick workout
- Bake cookies
- Read a book
- Listen to music or an uplifting podcast
The possibilities are endless. You can read 36 more ideas here. I suggest making a list of your favorite ways and keeping them around so when you find yourself with a few minutes you don’t waste them figuring out what you will do, and you will be able to start doing.
What are your self care goals for this year?
This year I have a few goals. I am going to start taking 10 minute blocks each day, I am going to listen to podcasts while my daughter naps each day, and I am going to spend more time being active each day.
What are your goals?