The term “self-care” is thrown around often, especially when it comes to holidays like Valentine’s Day. It usually consists of a bubble bath and various face masks you need in your life to truly take proper care of yourself. I’m not one to pass up a bubble bath and mask night but there is more to self-care than the latest beauty product. A face mask will fix many things but it won’t improve the work you may need on the inside.
I’m guilty of it too. In the past, I’ve focused more on the beauty products associated with self-care rather than the most important aspect, which is self-care as it pertains to your mental health. As a mama of two energetic toddlers, my free time is limited. I’m often trying to entertain them with educational activities and play dates with friends and writing with any spare time I have. Similarly, when I was practicing as a Pharmacist and traveling for work, I didn’t have much time to stop and think about taking care of myself. There was just too much to do.
There are five things I now do consistently as part of my self-care routine that I wanted to share with you. It’s not just a holiday thing or something you can do when you have a few hours to yourself. These are changes I have implemented or am working on to instill self-care in my life on a daily basis. I do these things for myself and so I can be a better mother, wife, and friend to the people I care about most. I’d also love to here what self-care tools you incorporate in your daily routine.
Cut Your Screen Time
I put so much effort into limiting my kids’ screen time that I often lose track of my own. How much time do you spend on your phone? On social media? I’m hesitant to even check my screen time because I know it’s going to be an exorbitant amount. I sometimes find myself mindlessly scrolling on Instagram with no intention. If I’m waiting for someone or between tasks, I’ll quickly pull out my phone and check my email. I tell myself it’s for the blog but if I’m being honest with myself, that’s really not the entire picture. I do need to use Instagram and other social media platforms for this blog but not to the extent of lengthy feed scrolling. There is also no need to turn to the ‘gram every time I get a notification. Staring at my phone for two hours per day (at least) is not the way I want to live my life.
my new strategy
One way I have been attempting to manage my screen time is by putting away phones when the kids are around. Unless it’s urgent, J and I try to avoid checking our phones robotically or even responding to texts when we’re doing something family-related. Although I sometimes feel like I need to quickly check something, I attempt to resist the temptation and stay in the moment. The last thing I want is for our toddlers to feel like their parents are seriously dependent on their phones. Overall, It has helped us be more engaged and present. It’s something we talk about doing when the kids are older and have phones of their own too. My next step is to continue to limit my my screen time throughout the day, whether or not the kids are around.
This may sound obvious but concepts like “eat right and exercise’ sound great in theory but aren’t usually easy to implement. I started taking a Barre3 class last summer and after the first week, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve tried to go at least three times a week. Barre is the first form of exercise I’ve tried that I actually enjoy and look forward to (most of the time). With the music blasting and the energy of everyone around you, it feels like you’re in a different mental state.
For that one hour, you work as hard as you can and then go back to everyday life. There are times when I miss a week or two and I really feel the difference. From a self-care perspective, exercising consistently helps me feel mentally and physically strong. It’s not always easy to get there and requires some serious coordination but it’s completely worth it for me. On a side note, they have child care available for some classes, which is a huge help. You can find out more here.
Write it all down
It’s always cathartic for me to take ten minutes to write down all my thoughts, especially right before bed. I make the planner in me take a step back and just write freely with whatever comes to mind. This is the biggest thing I do for myself regarding self-care because it helps me go to sleep with a clear mind.
Meet up with a friend
There’s something about meeting up with a close friend and catching up on life that makes me feel amazing. Although my fellow mom friends and I usually schedule meet-ups at least a month out, once that day comes it’s so nice to dress up and go out. Whether it’s trying a new restaurant or meeting up at someone’s house, it’s always fun and much needed. One of the reasons I really enjoy my mom book club is for this very reason. Other than discovering new literature, I love sitting down and having a conversation with moms that know exactly what i’m talking about when I mention that my son pooped in the bath today.
Enjoy a cup of coffee by yourself
Most times, I enjoy the chaos of family life. I wake up to one of my toddlers yelling, “mama! dada!” and run down the stairs before the other child wakes up from the screaming. The sound of tiny feet running across the kitchen floor make me happy and grateful for my little family. However, anytime I wake up even half an hour before everyone else, I feel a sense of peace that doesn’t often take over. There is something to be said about going downstairs and drinking some coffee BY MYSELF and doing literally nothing else. It doesn’t happen often because I usually savor those extra thirty minutes of sleep. When I do make an effort to wake up earlier, I know it’ll be a good day.
What do you do for self-care? What helps you be the best version of yourself? Comment below!
Outfit details: Skirt: Free People (comes in seven different colors) // T-shirt: Everlane
Location: Lokal Hotel in Fishtown // Photography: Alex Ashman