Self-care shouldn’t be a once-a-year event that women only get to do on Mother’s Day. It shouldn’t be a day where your children suddenly “see” you and acknowledge all that you do on a daily basis and give you permission to do something for yourself. As mothers, we cannot pour from an empty cup, so we must fill our cup first. I know it’s easier said than done, but I also know that you’ll feel better as a result — and your kids will notice you’re happier. Think back, way back for some of us, to who you were as a person before children and what interests you had. If you still have the same interests but haven’t engaged in them, maybe you can challenge yourself to revisit those interests during your self-care time.
If you were fortunate enough to have a self-care routine prior to the quarantine, it may have been put on hold, like so many other activities. Or maybe you never even had a self-care routine because where in the world would you fit it in your day? With what I have come to call the quarantine stress, it is important to de-stress more now than ever.
My past self-care routine has been a lot of things, from going to the gym sans kids for a 5 a.m. workout and enjoying listening to “adult” music during my short ride there and back, getting my hair done, the occasional pedicure, time with my friends without children in tow, and sometimes it was doing absolutely nothing during their nap time or taking a nap while they napped, too. Self-care has been a bubble bath with candles and wine. My routine was often the same, and at other times I varied it, but the emphasis was on making sure I did something to fuel and de-stress myself. It’s harder currently to get that “me” time, so now I have to be creative — but I know I always feel better when I do. My “quarantine” self-care routine involves a combination of the following: getting outside every day, whether that be a stroll around the neighborhood or finding an abandoned trail to hike, working out daily (even on the weekend), raising butterflies, tending to our butterfly and vegetable garden, and actually reading a book (not listening to an audiobook for once).
Tips for a Successful Self-Care Routine
SET a self-care goal of at least 30 minutes. It is not always realistic to have a half-hour set aside successively. If necessary, break it up in increments — 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes around lunchtime, and 10 minutes in the evening. Do whatever works for your schedule.
BE intentional with your goal. It’s your time, so choose wisely regarding what you want to do. Schedule it if that helps to actually get it done. As a mother, give yourself a break. Put it on the calendar, set an alarm, and whatever you do, don’t cancel on yourself. You will be happy that you kept that commitment to yourself and your children will too when your self-care time produces a more patient, happier you.
PRACTICE being mindfully present. Stop and really listen to a sound or song, enjoy a sensory feeling, focus on something you see, or dive deeper into a spiritual practice (yoga or meditation).
MOVE your body. Whether it’s with a walk outside, a Zoom workout, or a YouTube exercise video. Humans are meant to be mobile beings, and there is definitely a positive mind-body link gained through exercise.
While self-care will vary from person to person, it is important that you practice it no matter what it looks like for you. Be consistent and committed to yourself. Once you have filled your spirit, you may find you have the energy to not only take care of your family but to reach out to a friend or family member outside your home or check on a neighbor to see if they need anything while you are at the store. While being protective of your self-care routine may look narcissistic to outsiders, it is really a selfless act so that you may be your best self and put your best foot forward as you navigate through the demands of this thing called life.
How Jax Moms Practice Self-Care
Here are what some other Jacksonville Mom team members have been doing for self-care, COVID-19 style.
“I’ve been walking three miles every morning to start my day off feeling energized and accomplished.” –Kerry S.
“I will occasionally sign up for a weekly live stream membership with DivaDance and learn dance routines while the kids nap. They have a huge library of classes you can access with tons of Britney Spears routines! Oh, and all the Starbucks drive-thrus.” –Tina P.
“All I’ve got is ‘teach kids to make your coffee and their own breakfast.'” –Krista D.
“My self-care through this has been leaving the house by myself. I don’t even have to go anywhere. Well, normally it’s a Target pickup. But just being alone in the car is heaven. I did try to do a face mask for self-care, but that didn’t work out so well because I got the mask too close to my eyebrows and yada, yada, some came off when the mask did…” –Jessica M.
“I’m trying to really focus on my skincare (more than I already do) and eat well, so I don’t emerge from this looking like a garden gnome. I’m a big fan of baths all alone at the end of the day. I’ve been getting nice candles during my grocery runs, too, so my room can smell nice at least. And I have treats stocked in my bedside table that are just for me. OH, and my Marco Polo app! My gosh, it’s a lifesaver sometimes.” –Cassy C.
“I’m reading books with noise-canceling headphones on while playing ‘airplane noise’ on loop to drown out my children while I read, while I can still keep an eye on them (not joking). Also playing Super Mario Bros. 3.” –Lindsay C.
“I FaceTime a friend while throwing a craft beer party for the snails in my vegetable (tomatoes) garden at night. Does that count?” –Stacy M.
“Funny, I’ve completely slacked on my workout and nutrition. I’m pretty strict about exercise and good about my eating during normal times. But I’ve forgiven myself during this time. I’ve gained some pounds, but I’ll hop back on the wagon when I feel like it — when things normalize again. Self-care looks like Wavy Lay’s and Marie’s Super Blue Cheese dressing EVERY DAY, too much screen time for the kiddo, and too many cookies. My mantra has become, ‘I’ll allow it.'” –Meredith L.
“A couple of friends and I have done a Zoom happy hour. I get the kids either outside or watching a movie. I’m also enjoying having Netflix parties. You pick a movie and ‘watch’ it with friends. Pretty much anything I can do that is not hanging with my kids.” –Becky W.
“My self-care tip has been riding my bike alone. For at least 30 minutes and up to two hours. ALONE. The wind blowing in my face is so refreshing and soothing. It’s literally helped change my mood some days.” –Patricia K.
“Giving myself loads of grace. Riding my bike alone every night after dinner (weather permitting). Listening to an audiobook while doing mundane house tasks. Journaling. Setting up Zoom meetings with friends at least once a week.” –Jennifer S.
“Self-care for me right now is learning not to feel guilty when I focus on my business while my husband handles the family things that I would normally have a more active role in (homeschool, cooking, etc.). So in simple terms, self-care is learning to delegate and let go.” –Theresa F.
“Walks, walks, walks. Online Purre Barre.” –Meg S.
“I make margaritas, sit outside alone, and listen to true crime podcasts.” –Allie G.
What does self-care (or what would it look like) for you right now?