In my last self care post, we went through why it is important to take some time for yourself.
You may be wondering now “How can I find the time in my busy schedule?”
As a mum, I know how hard it can be to find some down time.
You set out to have a quiet coffee and your child suddenly needs you to look at every toy she owns. Or you get ready to do some yoga and somehow your sleeping child senses your relaxation and prematurely wakes from their nap.
I totally get it, it happens more often than not!
Does self care work?
As with everything, it depends person to person. However, it can absolutely work as long as you are picking the right tasks.
This time 12 months ago I was a mess. I was seeing a therapist once a week (she’s amazing, I highly recommend seeing someone no matter what your situation is) and I was constantly beating myself up.
“I’m a terrible mum”
“My house isn’t clean enough”
“People judge me because of my dirty dishes”
“Jack couldn’t find his work boots this morning, that must mean I’m a failure as a human!”
Man.. I was in a world of suffering that I had created for myself!
But then I took my therapists advice… I slowed down, I took time for myself and I accepted that life will happen regardless of whether or not the bathroom sink is clean.
So I set out to make time for ME.
I listened to my body more, I told people if they didn’t have anything nice to say that they were no longer welcome (this may seem harsh but trust me, you DON’T need or deserve that kind of negativity in your world!).
Do you want to know what happened?
Our world got better, not just mine but also my families.
As I was taking more time to care for my own needs, I became happier and less stressed. Even though I was taking time out of my day, things were getting done more.
My dishes didn’t pile up nearly as much, my partner and I bickered less, Luna’s toys didn’t live on the floor and got picked up every night.
Everyone has been happier since I started caring for myself more, because it has indirectly promoted a happier lifestyle.
So what can we do to help you set up a routine that seems realistic but also efficient?
I have put together a few steps to help you get your self care goals together.
1. Don’t set unrealistic goals
We’ve all been there, especially me!
I’ll get this grand idea that today is the day in going to get my life together… I’ll sit down and start planning.
“Yoga five times a week, walk 3 times a week, HIIT twice a week, me time every weekend, bath every Friday night, paint nails on Sundays..”.
I have a very big “go hard or go home” mentality, which unfortunately means I end up going home a lot because I over-commit!
So when you start planning for your self care routine, make sure it is realistic.
Start small, work your way up as time goes on.
For example, instead of “Do yoga 5 times a week” try “20 minutes of yoga one night a week”.
Same goal, just smaller and easier to achieve.
Setting yourself up for failure will frustrate you, and that’s the opposite of what we want!
2. Assess your needs
What do you need?
Do you an hour to yourself to read a book? Do you need to detox in a nice hot bath? Do you need to ask your partner for more help around the house?
Work out what will be the most beneficial for you.
For me, my self care started as me going to the park or beach for a few hours on a Saturday (While Luna is at her grandparents) and reading a book.
When I started doing this I got a bit over-excited and my fiance was on work holidays, so I did it 4 days in a row. I read 2 books and felt amazing within myself.
I know that this isn’t a realistic goal, but it was an amazing taste of the down time I crave.
20 ways to achieve Self-Care in under 5 minutes
3. Get your family involved
It is important to communicate in relationships, so get your partner involved. Let them know that this is what you need, when you plan to do it and ask for their support.
Let me clarify that this is not to seek approval or permission, you don’t need anyone’s permission to care for yourself. This is to keep your partner in the loop of what is going on.
I find that this step is especially important if you have kids.
Why? Because of a few reasons!
- Letting your partner know that you need some down time helps them (hopefully) notice that you are burning out and need some help
- If you need someone to take care of the kids, it’s giving your partner fair warning, rather than just dumping and running (even though this is really tempting on a particularly hard day!)
- If you’re doing it at home with kids around (IE reading a book in bed) you’ll need the help of your partner to help keep them away from you!
- It lowers the chance of you coming out of your self care bubble to be met with “oh my God, the kids were awful! I need you to wash their socks, and make them eat… Oh and we can’t find Elmo!”.
This kind of thing is the quickest way to undo any self care work you’ve put in, especially when you’re starting out.
- If your kids are older, you can explain to them that it is important to take care of your personal needs, which in turn also teaches a valuable lesson.
4. Incorporate things you can turn into a habit
Things like eating a healthy nutritious lunch or starting the day with tea instead of coffee.
Small changes like this are ones that have a greater chance of becoming part of your routine.
For example – I used to have 2 coffees a day.
I’ve slowly been weaning out my second coffee and replacing it with green tea. This small change already had benefits!
I’m not struggling to sleep, I’m sleeping earlier, I don’t suffer the mid-afternoon coffee crash so I can focus better.
So schedule these kinds of things in as well, and soon you won’t need a schedule while continuing to reap the rewards!
5. Accept that it doesn’t always go to plan
You might plan to read with a hot chocolate when your kids are in bed, and then that’s the night they choose to ask for water seven thousand times.
If this happens, either push it back a bit later until they are in bed or try again tomorrow.
I know, it sounds counter-productive! However, when starting a self care routine, putting pressure on yourself to achieve your new goals can be stressful.
You will get there! It may just take a few attempts.
What if things don’t go to plan and it leaves you feeling frustrated anyway?
I love to use some essential oils to calm and relax my mood. This can be self care in itself!
Pop on some lavender and let the frustration wash away!
Don’t have essential oils? Try a candle or wax melts, whatever delicious scents you enjoy.
6. Sit down and write your schedule
Now that we have covered these 5 steps, it’s time to sit down and actually write your self care schedule out!
I love using my bullet journals to plan these kinds of things, but you don’t need one to get organised. Setting an alarm on your phone will do just fine.
Think over the previous 5 steps then pick a time, place and self care activity.
(I have some ideas here if you’re stuck. Try to pick something that suits what you need or want to achieve)
It doesn’t matter if you plan for something that takes 5 minutes, or 5 hours. What matters is that it is something that benefits you, suits your lifestyle and is achievable!
Once you have started your self care routine, you can gradually add to it! The beauty of this is that it doesn’t have to be the same thing every week. One week you could enjoy a bath and the next could be a night out with friends. The world is your oyster, go get it!
Here are a few ways I use my personal down time.
Trying new things
I love to try new things, especially crafty things.
A little while ago I attempted my very first piece of DIY art. It was a lot of fun to make and something I hope to do more of in future so I can get better at it.
Relaxing with my bullet journal
Anyone who knows me, knows I loveeeeeee my BuJos (Heck, I dedicate a part of my blog to them!)
I love going out to a park once a week, looking over the ocean and getting my Bullet Journal sorted.
I find it very therapeutic, relaxing and helpful for getting my sh!t together!
What on earth is a BuJo?
Crochet & Cross Stitch
In case you haven’t started to notice the theme, I love crafty things!
Both Crochet and Cross Stitch are long term passions of mine.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to do either of these as much as I would like.. With family life, housekeeping, my blog, quality time with Jack, trying to spend time with my sister… But when I do I get into a wonderful zone of relaxation that helps me reconnect with my passions!
Okay, so now that you have the basics for creating your own routine and a bunch of self-care ideas…
I have a challenge for you!
Some time this week I want you to make sure you fit in your self care. Plan ahead if need be to clear your schedule, then set an alarm.
When that alarm goes off and if you’re doing the dishes, stop and go take care of yourself! I’ve said it a thousand times and I will say it again…
The dishes can wait, your health can not!
I’d loveeee to hear how you go with this! So if you get your self care routine started, leave a comment and let me know how you went!