In today’s society, it’s considered
selfish to take care of yourself be-
fore you’ve attended to everyone
else. This notion is especially true
if you’re a mom. We’re made to
feel like horrible mothers because
we want to take a break from
our children and go do something
“frivolous” like get a manicure or
have lunch with a friend sans kids.
The truth is, though, it’s not only not selfish, but mandatory to take of ourselves, whether you are a parent or not. And if you are a parent, then it becomes critical, because you can’t care for others well if you don’t take the time to refill, recharge, and replenish yourself as needed. I learned this the hard way when I became pregnant with Baby Dude. I did too much and didn’t take care of myself. I headed rapidly toward burnout for over a year and when I learned I was pregnant, the physical toll the first trimester took on my body caused me to collapse, both physically and mentally. It took a nervous breakdown for me to learn how to take a step back and say no to things that ate up the time I needed to care for myself. A baby has a way of putting things in perspective, and I’m forever grateful to the Lord for sending me Baby Dude when I needed him most.
What follows is a list of seven things I like to do for myself as a mom. I have to admit one of the reasons I’m writing this post now is because I haven’t been good about doing all of them on a regular basis. In the interest of avoiding burnout I list them here for you, hoping they’ll also help you get started on some ways to relax and recharge.
1. Exercise. I won’t bore you with what you already know are the plethora of benefits of exercise. Even a little bit goes a long way in battling burnout and depression. If you can, exercise without your kids, but one of my favorite ways to work out is to briskly walk Baby Dude in his stroller.
2. Read/watch a (non-kid) movie. If reading is your thing, don’t read parenting blogs and articles (which I realize is counter-intuitive since you’re reading a parenting blog right now, so do this once you’ve finished this post), but read something for pure enjoyment that’s just for you, whether it be a book, a magazine, or online articles.
3. Take an Epsom salt and essential oil bath. I started taking Epsom salt baths to help alleviate the migraines I suffer from, but they’re also great for sore muscles and general relaxation. Pour two cups of Epsom salts into a warm bath. I use jasmine oil to ease the migraines, but you can use any kind of oil you’d like. Lavender oil is fantastic for relaxation.
4. Get a sitter and go out with your spouse, friends, or alone. Even if it’s just for an hour.
5. Have at least one thing in your life that’s just for you- such as a hobby or regular outing. Work does not count. Whatever it is, make it a standing appointment.
6. Listen to music. Again, music you enjoy that’s just for you, whether it’s classical or bluegrass.
7. Meditate. Even five minutes a day of meditation is beneficial. If you’re like me and it’s difficult for you to sit still and breathe deeply, there are a couple of apps to help you get started, such as Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think.
This is my list, and is by no means complete. What’s on your list? Please share in the comments.