Photo of a hat on a beach chair

Want to know what I did this past weekend? 10 loads of laundry. Around the same number of dishes. Picked up the kids’ toys about 400 times – and yet, Ben proclaimed it the best weekend we’ve had in years. Uhh…why?

Because I read a book.

Lilac Girls in case you’re wondering – soo good! Ok, we also visited the butterfly house at Reimen Gardens, ordered nachos from Club Car, and made homemade ravioli, which were all pretty great, but truly the reason why my husband was so excited about this weekend was because I relaxed for a couple of hours and read on the couch. If that doesn’t tell you something about the usual state of affairs at my house, I’m not sure what will!

That is to say, I stink at sitting still. If I’m not doing something productive with a visually rewarding outcome then I feel lazy and honestly a bit overwhelmed. How crazy is that? Maybe some of you don’t understand this concept, though I’m guessing more then a few of you can relate.

thoughts on self care

I’m constantly filling any extra time I have with things I feel I should be doing vs things I actually want to do. 

Over the years, long workouts, leisurely Saturday mornings, and yes, – reading! – have been replaced with organizing the laundry room, testing a recipe for the blog, calling the fence repairman (anyone know a guy?) and most importantly, being a present mom to my kids. Hey, that’s adulting, and I sure am happy to be in this season of life, but nowhere does “me time” fit into the current mix. I’m constantly filling any extra time I have with things I feel I should be doing vs things I actually want to do. 

All that said, let’s talk self care. Specifically making TIME for self care and not feeling GUILTY about making time for self care. When I spend time on myself it feels like I’m taking it away from people who need it more, aka my kids. The good (and bad) part is that I know this isn’t true. We’ve all heard it 1,000 times before but let me drill it into your – OUR – brains one more time: self care makes us better people which in turn makes us better partners, parents, friends, children, and co-workers. I can’t tell how how much more patient I am as a parent, and more understanding I am as a wife, when I’m also taking care of myself.

The key is actually doing it!

Usually my excuse is there’s no time. That said, a blogger who I’ve followed for years just had her 4th baby a couple months ago and is already back at the gym. Clearly there’s time – the key is prioritizing the 24 hours we have in each day. Ask yourself, what do you give time to in your everyday life that doesn’t fulfill you? I’m thinking more then a few of us will answer social media. When’s the last time you felt better and more enriched after scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? I’m personally going with never. Again, ask yourself what unfulfilling thing/person/activity can you give up in order to fit even 10 minutes of self care into your day? Maybe it’s pointless meetings that could be taken care of with an email or quick phone call, giving time to gossipy friends, or watching too much tv.

thoughts on self care

Clearly there’s time – the key is prioritizing the 24 hours we have in each day. Ask yourself, what do you give time to in your everyday life that doesn’t fulfill you? 

The other key, in my opinion, is accepting help. I gave a talk at a blogger’s conference last year about virtual assistants and when I dropped the knowledge bomb that nearly every blogger who seems to be “doing it all” had help, you could almost see the lightbulb go off in a few attendee’s minds. The people who appear to have it all/do it all don’t have extra hours in the day, they get help! For the non-business owner this means relying on spouses, partners, friends, parents, siblings, babysitters, house cleaners, lawn care companies, etc. Accepting help is crucial in order to make time for yourself. Something I rarely do, which is why Ben was so excited that I took him up on his suggestion to relax and read this weekend.

See, it’s really only been over the past month or so that I’ve made an effort to prioritize self care. The fact that our third is on the way is finally hitting me, along with the realization that whatever free time I currently have is about to be further reduced. It’s truly now or…another 3-4 years from now. That said, here’s what’s helped me make the mental shift:

  • Accepting the fact that Ben can do anything I can do. Not that I’ve ever doubted his parenting abilities for a second (I’m the one usually taking parenting notes from him) but realizing that I’m not my children’s entire world has been freeing. Our boys aren’t newborns anymore and don’t physically need me within 10 feet of them at all times.
  • Understanding that self care doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. Manicures and massages are great but so is making time to go to the dentist, reading a book, or grabbing coffee with a friend. Simple things that make you feel like an actual person! I think this an important realization to come to in order to let go of guilt over taking time for self care.
  • PUTTING STUFF ON THE CALENDAR. Sorry to shout, but this has been the only thing that works for me in terms of actually following through with spending time on myself. If it’s not on the calendar I will find 101 reasons not to do it. See organizing the laundry room, working, doing chores, etc. above. Make “appointments”, put them on the calendar, and DO. NOT. BUDGE.
  • Realizing that self care doesn’t have to take hours, because honestly who has the freaking time – even after prioritizing! It’s amazing what getting out of the house for a quick drive with the music blasting can do for the soul. Live texting The Bachelor with a friend, or taking a quick walk around the block works great too!

thoughts on self care

Self care can simply be a habit or activity that you can’t wait to do.

I’m sure you don’t need any help coming up with ways to spend your newly found free time, but in case you do, here are 50 self care ideas to try out. This list actually started out as 20 but there are so many ways to treat yourself – I’m sure I could easily come up with 50 more!

50 Self Care Ideas

  1. Sit in the sunlight for 10 minutes
  2. Drink a lemonade
  3. Buy a pair of well-fitting jeans
  4. Choose an apple over a cookie
  5. Choose a cookie over an apple
  6. Organize a space or room that’s been bugging you
  7. Scrapbook
  8. Try a new skincare regimen
  9. Pray
  10. Meditate
  11. Workout
  12. Watch a trashy television show
  13. Take a solo walk, jog or bike ride
  14. Read a book
  15. Go to the movies
  16. Get a manicure/pedicure
  17. Get a message
  18. Get a haircut
  19. Get annual doctor appointments on the calendar
  20. Meet friends for a coffee or drink
  21. Talk out a problem with someone you trust
  22. Seek help for something you’ve been struggling with
  23. Donate your “skinny clothes”
  24. Make a green smoothie
  25. Go thrifting/antiquing
  26. Buy a fun new item at the grocery store that’s just for you
  27. Take a hike
  28. Inhale/diffuse calming essential oils
  29. Cook a new-to-you recipe
  30. Take a community ed class (I took a cake decorating class in my early 20s by myself and it was so much fun!)
  31. Listen to music
  32. Garden
  33. Put on a facemask
  34. Take a bubble bath
  35. Take a mental health day
  36. Take a new-to-you fitness class
  37. Watch the sunrise or sunset
  38. Curl your hair/try a new hairstyle
  39. Binge watch a TV show
  40. Make cookies just for the dough
  41. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
  42. Give up a bad habit
  43. Take a nap
  44. Craft or DIY a project
  45. Organize/plan a trip
  46. Color in an adult coloring book (not the triple X kind, you guys!)
  47. Listen to an inspiring podcast
  48. Make a cup of tea or coffee
  49. Do a puzzle
  50. Stretch for 10 minutes

Self care looks different to everybody but to me it’s simply a habit or activity that I can’t wait to do. So what do you think – can you put your needs before other’s on a regular basis? What can you give up in order to free up even 10 minutes a day to devote to self care? What’s your favorite way to take a little time for yourself?

PS thank you for your honest thoughts on my last post. Sorry if I was unclear – recipes are going NOWHERE, and this is not becoming a Mommy blog! :)