In order to be the best version of yourself, every now and then you need take the time to slow down and take care of yourself. Sometimes easier said than done! Sometimes it means making an intentional choice, writing it down in your calendar, blocking the time off or finding a babysitter and you may get the feeling that it's more hassle than it's worth! But I can tell you, from my own experience as a mom, not taking this time will eventually begin to take it's toll on your health and well being. When you feel exhausted, like you're being pulled in all directions, you're worn out and feeling like you have lost your sense of self, you need to stop and take some time for you. Taking a few intentional minutes everyday is far more manageable than feeling like you need a week of sleep, a dark room and no one to talk to you, ask you for anything, laundry to fold or meals to cook. Just a few intentional minutes everyday, just for you.
Here are a few things you can try:
1. Get moving.
Take a walk. A long walk or a short walk, a slow leisurely walk or a brisk walk to burn off some energy, whatever you feel like you need that day. Maybe you don't have a lot of time and all you do is walk to the mailbox, that's ok! Maybe there's a neighbor or a friend who wants to join you! Getting outside and moving releases endorphins in the body. Endorphins are our 'feel good' hormone.
2. Get a massage.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Our bodies hold so much tension that we are not even aware of. Holding a baby, especially on the hip can lead to sore shoulders, neck and back. Getting a massage is not only relaxing but beneficial for keeping your body physically healthy to snuggle, carry and play with your children.
3. Take deep breaths.
Next time you're at a red light or sitting in traffic focus on taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count while you breathe in and count while you breathe out. Do your inhales match your exhales? Slowing and lengthening your exhalation can bring a natural feeling of ease into the body. Are your shoulders tense? Relax your shoulders down your back and breathe deep. When the light turns green, move forward into your day with a new outlook and feelings of relaxation.
4. Listen to music.
Depending on your mood and the activity of your day, either choose music to uplift your energy or choose music to relax and calm down at the end of the day. Ideally, you're able to sit down and listen in peace but even if you have to make dinner or fold laundry, listening to music while you do what you need to do can make the activity feel less tedious.
5. Honor your rituals.
Create a bedtime routine for yourself. It doesn't need to be long. There will be nights where you can barely fall into bed before closing your eyes but taking some time to perform the same activity every night will actually help you sleep better. If you have the time, take a bath. Otherwise, brush your teeth, take the time to wash the day off your face, give yourself a little massage as you apply your anti-wrinkle, skin brightening, fatigue reducing night cream. Reading before bed can help you separate your thoughts from your day and fall asleep easier. Turn off the electronics. No phone, tablet, TV or computer in the bedroom at night. The blue light from the screen has been shown to disrupt melatonin and you need melatonin secretion to encourage a good night sleep.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Maya Angelou