Sitting in a hot bubble bath with a face mask or doing yoga is not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to self-care. While I do love a long hot bubble bath, yoga is just too slow for me. The term self-care wasn’t something I was familiar with before trying to become a parent. Before that, it was just part of what I did anyway. But going through IVF, an importance was placed on looking after my mental health, not just my physical health.
Now self-care means taking the time to do things that I enjoy and being a little bit selfish with my time to make sure that I get that time to recharge. Being a parent often means putting yourself last. But sometimes you need to make time for yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself, for the other people in your life.
What is self-care?
Self care is the practice of taking deliberate actions to develop and nurture your physical well-being, emotional health and mental welfare.
But it goes beyond simple indulgences like a bath or rich chocolate ice cream.
It encompasses activities and habits that promote long-term balance.
It recognises the importance of maintaining a good relationship with yourself.
And that by taking care of your own needs, you can better support those around you.
Self-care can be an effective part of national health systems.– World Health Organization
Uncommon ways to practice self care
I’m a bit late to the party, but I discovered podcasts around April of 2017. I don’t know why I never opened the app on my phone earlier, but here I am.
I like to do things “the right way” too. So I downloaded all of the back episodes of Happier with Gretchen Rubin, which had about 200 episodes by the time I discovered it. Two hundred episodes, each approximately 30 minutes long, kept me going for quite a while.
Back to why listening to podcasts is something I consider to be a type of self-care. I really notice the difference in how I feel and how I think when I don’t get the chance to listen to podcasts. I’ve replaced listening to the radio while driving with listening to podcasts. While I’m spending time in the car, I may as well make the most of it.
The good news is there are podcasts for every genre. Crime seems to be popular, but my favourite is self-improvement podcasts.
Do you think I get bonus points for listening at 1.5x speed too?
Lisa – Mama Loves to Share
Nothing beats walking around a local craft market child-free. I buy a coffee then take my time at each stall looking at the products and chatting with the stall holder. Especially great in summer with the sun on my back, it allows me to feel careless, with no responsibility, even if it’s just for an hour or so. I love buying myself a little treat whether it be a piece of jewellery or something for my home. I also love having a good stretch when I’m feeling a little uptight. It’s amazing what simply pausing and consciously stretching can do for the body. It literally takes away any tension and you feel like you can reset and start afresh.
Helen – Mama Loves to Share
There is nothing like a good sing along to my favorite songs in the car (child-free!) I pop on some Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”, turn it up super loud and have an almighty sing! Great stress reliever! I also love going to Zumba classes at the gym. There is something about the upbeat music, smiles on everyone’s faces, silly moves and the sense of belonging to a group which makes me feel so happy. It literally warms my heart and I leave with the biggest smile on my face.
Tamara – Empowered Single Moms
Journaling is a great way for me to get back in touch with myself when I am feeling scattered or confused about what to do next.
Ellen – If It Brings You Joy
I have a playlist of positive, uplifting songs and I start my day dancing a song by myself. Sounds goofy, but it’s an amazing mood lifter!
Lena – What Mommy Does
I like to plan and daydream about vacations I might take one day. I’ll even go online and research different things like accommodations and sights to see. I even have a 3-ring binder with pages from magazines of destinations or experiences I’d love to see or do one day Even if we never go on the trip, it’s nice to think about it and every few years we DO go on one of them! I think the anticipation is half the enjoyment.
Kirsty – That Noise Is Mine
I get professional help from a psychologist to make sure my mental health is looked after and whenever my kids are with their father I always make sure I get out of the house for a walk to clear my mind and refresh myself for when they return.
Charlotte – Teens Got Cents
I invite my friends out for a ‘mom’s date’. I pick them up and we run errands for the afternoon – all those things we’ve been meaning to do but haven’t made time or the things we have to get done that day. After we get all of our stuff done while enjoying each others company we head somewhere to have a nice dinner. It’s such a blessing to me. We are getting things done but also being purposeful to keep and grow friendships.
Shailaja – Shailaja V
Tea is my saviour on days when I feel like things are hurtling at breakneck speed. Every time I feel like my mind is about to crack from the strain, I take a break and make myself a cup of soothing tea. Green, black, Earl Grey- it doesn’t matter. For me, the act of watching the tea being brewed and then sipping on it, savouring the taste as it tantalises my taste buds is all the self-care I need to get me relaxed.
A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.– Coco Chanel
Here are some other different ways to take some time out for yourself:
- get a haircut
- look through old photos
- call a good friend for a life update
- go for a walk in nature
- watch the sunrise or sunset
- watch a re-run of a classic sitcom or a funny youtube video compilation
- ground yourself in the present moment with a mindfulness meditation exercise
- paint your nails, or take off the chipped nail polish
- write out your to-do list
- get enough sleep
- go for a long walk in the fresh air
- trial a new morning routine
- try a new hobby
- moisturise your whole body when you get out of the shower
- recite positive affirmations or practice positive self-talk
- delete social media from your phone
Self-care is a personal journey that requires self-awareness, self-compassion, and a commitment to cultivating your overall property. It’s not a bad thing to put yourself first from time to time. Sometimes it’s the small things we add to our day that make the hard times or busy schedules just that little bit better.
The best thing you can do is try to incorporate different forms of self-care into your daily life.
Do you have any unusual self care ideas?