I rest on the seventh day. Sunday, fun day is my self-care day. Before I go into what that’s all about, I’ll give you a quick peak into a day in my life:
Up at 6:00am (sometimes before if baby hates me)
High Schoolers out before 7a
Middle Schooler out before 8a
Third Graders up – their morning routine begins – out the door before 9.
WRITE – I MUST WRITE!
In between baby needs – she’s only 10 months so she needs a lot!
Take care of hubby – he’s a disabled veteran with only so many spoons
ADVOCACY – I MUST ADVOCATE! (this can involve group moderation, research, pro bono branding and marketing work)
Kids are getting home already!
After school madness begins – snacks, homework, projects, after school activities
BABY – SHE NEEDS EVERYTHING
SHIT – DINNER! Did I take something out! DAMNIT!!
Extra curriculars plus quality time, times 6
BED – right?
Dinner cleanup – who hasn’t taken a shower – please stop annoying your sister – OMG STOP CALLING MY NAME! I’M STANDING RIGHT HERE!!!
BED! It’s bed time – 9:30p – Good night Kids, I love you!
WRITE – I MUST WRITE or clean or nurse baby or sooth husband’s aching body
Repeat like groundhog’s day until the end of time (I find a lot of joy in this chaos, what this quick over view doesn’t show is the laughter and tears and life we’re living)
Ok! After all this, self-care isn’t only warranted, it is necessary. I must respect the energy required to run a household of 8. I must honor my hard work and dedication by honoring my need to rest and recharge myself. Mind. Body. Spirit.
All this is a lot easier said than done. Life insists and persists and it’s hard to resist the myriad distractions that get in the way. This means there are some weeks, I don’t remember to indulge in self-care. Those weeks are always extra taxing to get through.
This week I did remember and since last night I have been making an effort to be mindful of my own needs. Almost like a check list of things, I do or intend to do in order to focus solely on me. As I was going through it in my own head, I thought, maybe the Smarties following along here might find this useful too.
So, here’s my Self-Care Check list:
Assess my needs – am I tired, restless, sad, happy, bored, hungry, groomed, etc? This mental exercise puts me in touch with myself and I use it to help me prioritize my self care. For example if I am both hungry and tired, I can decide which one is more pressing…should I eat before a nap or can I wait until after?
Indulge in something that brings me joy – even without the blues, this is a really great practice. My joy is music and 2016 was no slouch in that department. I love to dance, especially when no one is watching and laugh at myself and be silly. Sometimes I knit, or paint, or watch junk TV, or chat with friends.
Ensure my personal needs are met first – After spending a week putting every other thing ahead of myself, spending a day or two, ensuring my own needs are met first is refreshing. I have a friend who spends some time everyday reminding people to eat and shower and take some time to breath. It seems silly to have to remind adult people of these basic things but adulting is fucking hard and sometimes you need a reminder!
Give permission to disengage from stress – A lot of crap happens in a week. Drama ensues, especially post-truth and whether it’s a tense situation at work or online or with friends or family the stress can build. I can’t speak for anyone else but my brain really loves to relive awkward and stressful conversations and situations. I use to really over thing and obsess and then I started giving myself a pass. There are obviously some things too urgent to pass over (kid’s drama or conflicts for example) but there are plenty of situations you can safely check out of, guilt-free. I have to mentally give myself this permission in order to let things just die and be done.
Find and indulge in leisure time – Sometimes I like to read, or binge-watch whatever show or go to the salon or the movies or hang with friends. This might mean I have to juggle some responsibilities or even *gasp* blow off an obligation or two. I always stress or feel guilty about this but when I push myself to do it, I always have a wonderful time and ask myself why I don’t do it more often (whatever “it” is)
Check out totally – Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to do even get out of bed and that’s ok. I’m allowed to have a “do nothing day.” this requires no extra energy but to occasionally nurse my child or grab something to eat. This also requires cooperation from my husband and the children. Which I try to get ahead of time but honestly, sometimes I wake up on a Sunday morning and decide, I just can’t. I’m grateful to have a family that gets that. I understand it’s a privilege.
To be very honest, sometimes self-care looks like finding a clean sweater and brushing my teeth. Sometimes I don’t get to check any of this off the list, sometimes I get to check one or two. I have yet to ever check off everything on this list in one weekend. I’ve got time.
What does your self-care check list look like?