Katie Squires, of Fit Mom in Barrhaven, on her Facebook feed, asked us today “How do you take care of yourself?”. She found the question via Elisa Blaha, who’s crafting/fitness/life blog is quite a lot of fun.
I was riding in the car on the way to work with husband, and I looked out the window and thought on that, being super quiet. Normally if I am quiet, my nose is stuck to my iPhone. I closed it to think more clearly. Yeah… I was also processing the fact that I got four hours of sleep in a row. Oooh baby… SLEEP! Gimme some more… Please?
Anywho, my thoughts were this: Have I ever quantified how I take care of myself? I know there are lots of things I do, but me, the list-maker Queen, has yet to write it all down and make sense of it. I wondered, briefly, if it might be overanalyzing something that is instinctive and simple.
I came to the conclusion it might be a great exercise in understanding where I am, and what I need to do better for myself in order to be a better mom to my children, a better wife to my husband, and a more motivated employee at my job. A check-in, so to speak, and perhaps some validation that I am on the right track with my new lifestyle. It also commits it to more than just in my head, and makes me accountable to make sure I do these things.
That’s heavy stuff, man.
So here it goes, my list (You know this was happening, y’all) of how I take care of myself. It may be a scratch-the-surface kind of list, but I think the point is to understand the activity, and let it send your brain off to think of the why’s. If you can understand the why, and it jives with your idea of happy mojo-makin’ funtimes, then it works! If you can’t understand why you do something for yourself, or realize that you do it but it doesn’t help much, or you hate it…. Well, then guess what? STOP!
- I exercise – I run, I am starting to do exercise classes, and plan on adding a gym routine come winter. It makes me better physically, mentally, and emotionally. ‘Nuff said, eh?
- I write – This blog, my creative dribblings, my career. I paint with words. It helps me express myself, something I do not always do well verbally.
- I take “Introvert time” – I spend short periods alone to do timesuck things like play games on my iPad, surf the Internet, read, research things I want to know more about. That time alone “playing” recharges me, makes me more patient, loving, and emotionally available to my family.
- I shop for myself – Online, window, or even in stores. I try not to spend too much (or nothing at all!), but that retail therapy is sometimes just the thing I need to rejuvenate my spirit. It helps me to remember the “things” I like that identify “ME”. It makes me more relaxed and re-centres my creativity. (Pinterest is very useful for this)
- I make lists – Yup, I do (Uhh yeah… Look, a list with an item about making lists! I am officially OCD about lists…). I organize things so that I feel less anxious about whatever it is we are about to do. If I feel stressed about situations/trips/chores/upcoming events, I make a list, and suddenly I am able to tackle the challenge. Making lists takes care of my own need for organization.
- I sleep – This one drives my husband nuts, because I ask him to be the parent on weekends for short stretches so I can sleep more. I think he feels it is wasteful of our family time. Since having my first child in 2008, I have been sleep deprived, and when I am tired, I hit a “wall” and my energy goes to nothing. I will never regain that sleep, I realize this. Napping helps me feel refreshed, and I am a much happier, cheerful person afterwards.
I can add to this list infinitely, but it is supposed to be a current snapshot, so those are the biggies for me right now. Six months from now, it will be different. That is also key. Taking care of yourself is a fluid thing, and must change as your life changes. Stick to the core principles like exercise and healthy living, but hey, maybe in six months I won’t need to nap so much?
So what is your list? Jot one down, blog it, commit it to something (A napkin, your Notes app on your phone? Crayon on the back of an empty cereal box?). Be positive, don’t focus on the things you don’t do (but want to) or the things you shouldn’t do. Make your “things” affirming, motivating, and encouraging.
Something we all do is forget to take care of ourselves. Let this be an exercise in doing so. It has helped me!