I’m so tired today. It was a busy weekend followed by the regular busy school days and everything that goes with that. And in the midst of tidying, making lunches, bathing kids, brushing hair, and the list goes on and on and on… it’s really easy to put yourself last. I love my job as a Mama to my littles but it’s a full time job. It’s a fuller-than full-time job. It’s an always on, never ending job. Any other job that would demand this many hours would result in massive levels of burnout. And sometimes that’s exactly how I feel, burnt out. I’d NEVER trade this job, not for anything, but it’s definitely made me realize the importance of taking time just for myself. It’s so important, this self-care thing.
Through the day I find myself filling my short little “breaks” with things like facebook, instagram, emails, or some sort of time waster, like reading comments on news articles. (Just don’t. It’s bad news, always.) But I find myself wishing later that I had more time in the day to ________. Fill in the blank with so many different things! Lately I could fill that in with:
*read a book
*take a nice bath
*do a facial mask
*paint my nails
*shop on my own
*enjoy a sappy movie
*go for coffee with a friend
*go for coffee by myself!
*drink hot coffee anywhere!! LOL
Honestly there are more, I could totally go on. Some of those aren’t super practical with little ones running around, but would be so lovely to be able to stop for just a few moments. But for whatever reason I, like many others, am drawn back to the world of social media and the world wide web, and before I know it my couple minute break is over and I don’t feel any better. Perhaps just poor time management but I would venture a guess that I’m not alone in this.
So here are a few of my self-care tips, and believe me, I’m reading them for MYSELF just as much!!
1. It’s ok to say No.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a yes-er. If someone asks me to help with something, volunteer somewhere, etc. my initial gut reaction is to say “Yes, of course!” … but I know now what happens is my plate gets fuller, and fuller, and fuller until I’m so burnt out. Add motherhood on top of all those yes answers and I’ve basically set myself up for an epic meltdown. (And I don’t mean from the children.) I know I have to step back and look at my calendar and decide if that will leave enough time on the schedule for “nothing” moments.
2. It’s ok to do “nothing”
So that brings me to this point – our culture seems to be obsessed with BUSY. I hear it even from my own lips, and in conversations with others: “Hi! How are you??” “Oh, busy!” “Yeah, me too!” … Why is this celebrated?! I never thought I’d say it but I long for the days of my childhood where the words “I’m bored” were uttered more than “I’m busy”. It’s ok to schedule days where you don’t have any plans. It’s ok to let the children be bored and not take all the responsibility to entertain them for a time! It allows them to be creative and find something to entertain themselves. It’s ok – no, more than ok, I’d say it’s important – to sit in the quiet stillness of nothing, and just listen. I find I pray more when I do this, and as a result get closer to God in those moments. I find myself wondering why I don’t do that more.
3. Have something that’s just YOURS.
Be it a hobby you did before having children, a project you love to work on, a time you take each day that’s YOUR time, find something. It’s easy to lose yourself in this job. I started dancing the year my twins were born and it was and is my outlet. I can leave for a short time each week, meet up with some beautiful, wonderful women I’ve gotten to know over the years, and leave my worries and problems at the door. It’s given me a piece of my old self back, and I’m so grateful for that.
(I was very pregnant with Silas in this group photo!)
4. Ask for, and accept help.
Oh, I’m not good at this one. I definitely complain to the hubby when I start to burn out but if I step back and really think about it, I don’t ask for help. Complaining is not the same thing as asking. It takes a certain level of humility to accept the fact that I can’t do it all. I’m NOT super-mom no matter how much I wish I was! When someone offers to come over and help with something, ANYTHING, I know I personally need to swallow my pride and let them help.
5. Go outside.
Sometimes just the act of stepping outside, seeing God’s creation and just taking it all in is enough to bring me back to a place of thankfulness that I can’t get elsewhere. We haven’t had the very best weather lately but I’ve been trying to walk to pick up the kids more. As I walk to the school I breathe deeply, taking in the smells of spring, the flowers about to bloom. We got a hammock for Christmas and I can’t wait to set that up and find a few moments to sit in it, with a book, with a coffee, or even snuggling with one of my littles.
6. Put the technology away.
Just for a short time to start if you are really dependent on it, put the timer on, put the phone down or turn the computer off, and check something off your “what I’d do if I had more time” list. If you’re less dependent on it, see what happens when you log off for an entire day. I think I’m going to challenge myself to an entire day at some point, but for now I am going to start small!
I need to become more intentional in taking even just 30 minutes daily to myself to do some of these things. So here’s my challenge to you – do you find yourself wishing you had more time in the day for the things you used to do? Try to schedule 30 minutes to yourself somehow. Use the hashtag #30minutesformama on Instagram (if you aren’t following me – do that! http://www.instagram.com/_featherandfern_ ) and show me how you are spending your 30 minutes for self care!