Put yourself first

I think we’ve all been there. The harsh word or angry outburst, that sometimes feels random and we just don’t understand it. Sometimes we feel it build up, but we’re not sure what to do about it. We become the ‘mean mom,’ and we feel so guilty about it. We also feel guilty when we take the time to put ourselves first, we feel like we’re stealing the time from our family, we feel like we shouldn’t take the time for just us because there’s so much else we need to/should be doing. We feel guilty for that too.

Sound familiar? Let’s talk about the need to take care of ourselves! What we often forget is that taking care of yourself IS taking care of your family! It’s so important to take care of yourself!

When you don’t take care of yourself you feel:

Anger
Hostility
Depression
Resentment
You eat your feelings
Have low self esteem

Ring a bell? But on the other hand I bet you tell yourself that you don’t have enough time to do self care. Sometimes we picture self care as the mom who dumps the kids off somewhere every weekend and goes clubbing, or the moms who have the opportunity to go to the spa on a regular basis, we don’t have that kind of time. We also don’t have that kind of money. We also bash on the moms who do this, so why would we go and do something we bash on others for, right? I’m here to promise you, you can practice self care in your every day life! No matter the time you have (or think you don’t have). Make yourself more of a priority, so that you can truly be there for the people in your life who are also your priority! It’s super cliche, but you truly cannot pour from an empty cup!

So what I have for you is a list of different things you can do, that you can pick from every day, or a few times a day even. Things that you can do in as little as one minute, or on the days where you have more time, things that take a few hours. So mom, here’s to learning to love yourself again!

We also feel guilty when we take the time to put ourselves first, we feel like we're stealing the time from our family, we feel like we shouldn't take the time for just us because there's so much else we need to_sh

If you only have one minute to spare:

Set a timer and choose from the following-

Let it go. Sing the song if you have to. I know you know which song I’m talking about here! Let it go. I’m sure there are big life changing items on your list of stress, but I’m certain that not all of it is that big of a deal. Take one minute to decide if its a battle that’s worth it. Pick something on your list that isn’t that big of an deal and just let it go.

Delegate! Kind of goes along with letting something go. I’m sure there’s something on your to-do list that someone else is willing to do for you. Ask your significant other to do the dishes, ask them to sit with the kids for a few while you breathe. Ask a friend for help, have your kids pick up their own mess and work to make it a habit. It only take a minute to ask for a helping hand and passing it on.

Close your eyes and breathe. The kids are loud and crazy, you keep thinking back to that bill that is due and maybe you’re unsure how you’ll pay it right away. I don’t know what your exact stress is, but I know that setting a timer for at least a minute and just closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing will help. Do NOTHING, seriously, unless there’s blood or flames everything will be able to wait for one minute. Collect your thoughts, let it go if you’re able, and breathe through it.

Remember how much they love you. They do! It might not feel like it when they throw fits and it’s totally normal to feel like your whole household is against you some days. It can all start to feel like a personal attack! But remember they throw the fits in front of you because you are their safe space. They are learning how to regulate their emotions and they feel safe to be their 100% real a-hole selves around you. It’s because they love you.

Scream into a pillow. You might have laughed at that. But I’ve done it, I know other moms who have done it. Maybe don’t scream the whole minute into the pillow, I don’t want you to pass out… but sit for 30 seconds and then take a pillow and scream it out!

Wash your face. No, this isn’t quite like the inspirational book. But the warm water, and the fresh face can be the boost you need to get through the breakfast fits. You will feel better knowing you took a minute to do something for yourself.

If you only have five minutes to spare:

Set a timer and-

Dry shampoo your hair. Maybe you don’t have the time to actually shower that morning, and now you have to go through the day feeling just how you look. Crappy. We’ve all worn the mom bun, crusty eye, I don’t know what that stain on my shirt even is, what-year-is-it-again look. But taking five minutes to brush and dry shampoo your hair can make you feel just a tad bit better, and look like you might actually know what year it is. When you feel like you look a little put together, your mind starts to follow suit.

Meditate. This is the same thing as closing your eyes and breathing from before, but with five minutes and sitting comfortably you’ll be astonished by what garbage thoughts you are able to clear from your mind. You’ll also be surprised at how difficult it is to actually clear your mind and center your thoughts. Try to make it a practice and see how much better you feel through your days.

Hide in the pantry and eat a kit-kat. Okay, I don’t recommend you do this every day, it does contradict a lot of the tips I give you about being healthy. But sometimes this is so necessary. Just hide in the pantry, or the bathroom, or eat it while you go outside to get the mail. Sometimes you have to take what you can get, and chocolate is always helpful!

Speak up! I understand that sometimes we try to speak up and we’re met in turn with hostility or anger. But on the other-hand, sometimes our loved ones didn’t know something bothered us so much. But we should love ourselves enough to be able to speak up about what’s bothering us. Take a minute or two to try to think of a nice way to bring something up and spend the rest of that time speaking up about what’s bothering you. This doesn’t even have to be something confrontational, sometimes taking a few minutes to talk to a friend about what’s going on at home, or inside your own head can really take a lot of pressure off. When you say things out loud, or even in a text message your mind and your heart are both so much lighter. You might even feel like the stress isn’t that big of a deal anymore. When we say things out loud, we ourselves gain a new perspective on the situation.

(Also, take the time to be that supportive friend to someone else. It only takes five minutes. It can be hard to do, but it’s always important to make sure there’s a balance in the friendship!)

Make a list. I make lists for everything! Take five minutes and make a list of what’s on your mind, what you want to get done, or what needs to be cleaned/taken care of. Then you can reference that list through the day to help you stay on track. Journals and daily planners are amazing for this. If you want to see how I use mine click here. But how ever you do it, or whatever you make a list of, by writing it down, you give yourself permission to no longer hold it in your brain. The less chatter in your head, the more clearly you can think and the more room you make for what really matters. This also helps everything seem like less of a big deal, the house might feel trashed, but once you make your list you see that it can be tidy after you dust, do the dishes and fold the laundry. That’s only three tasks to do. That doesn’t feel so bad.

If you can carve out 10 minutes in your day:

Maybe you have 10 minutes until the kids have to get up for school, or the kids just went to bed. Maybe your significant other is playing with the kids after dinner, or they are all glued to the tv watching a cartoon. Take 10 minutes and-

Read an uplifting book. Actually, read any book you like, read a magazine, or read an awesome blog post from another mom all about taking care of yourself…. (wink).  But especially when you read something that inspires you, even if you only get 10 minutes, you feel ready to take on the world! You also feel awesome knowing you took a baby step in the right direction to bettering and taking care of yourself!

Paint your nails. This is like the dry shampoo trick. Maybe you hate feeling frumpy with boring nails, maybe your nails are chipped and looking straight jacked, maybe you feel like spicing it up and painting them something bright and fun. Whatever the reason, it only takes 10 minutes to slap some paint on them! You’ll be surprised how often you’ll notice them through your day, so it’s a good reminder that you took some time for you recently. Also, shave your legs. If it’s morning, put on a little makeup. Some eyeliner, brow filler and mascara takes less than 10 minutes to apply and wow do you feel better and even a little flirty when you are able to do this.

Ask your partner for a massage. Maybe compromise and make a deal that you’ll give him a five minute massage if he gives you a five minute massage. Work the knots out of those shoulders and you’ll feel like a million bucks again!

Ask for a hug. Seriously, in almost every time section I have a place where you ask others for what you need, or you take the time to assess what you need. That’s probably the most important part of self care. Assessing what you need! The other day I was angry, I didn’t know why I was even angry. I finally gave in, stomped up the stairs and threw myself in bed. My husband (bless his heart) tip-toed upstairs and dared to approach the beast. “Can I lay down by you?” “Do you need a hug?” I actually cried when I said that’s all I thought I needed. And really, I only needed it for about 5 minutes. Just the touch of our significant other can be all we need. Sometimes we don’t even let ourselves think about what we need. Allow yourself to be held and the energy boost will help you get through the day.

If you can find a whole 20 minutes in the day:
You might need to get a little creative to get that much time some days.  I get it! But if you have 20 minutes-

Take the kids to the park and sit on the bench. Get the fresh air and watch them play and be in the moment. This also gets out a lot of their energy, sometimes they’ll even take a nap after! This one is golden because sometimes taking 20 minutes of fresh air can buy you even more time in the day! Score!

Hair/Face mask. Most masks only take 20 minutes. Sometimes your kids will also want to do them too. Have a mini spa day if it gets you a few minutes to pamper yourself!

Eat a healthy meal. Do this no matter how much time you have. Seriously, I know the junk food makes you feel better sometimes (I just told you to eat a kit-kat after all). But, when you treat your body right, you feel good on the inside and there’s plenty of outside benefits there too! While on this topic, stop skipping breakfast. How many times have you found yourself starving by 10 am and realize that the only thing you nourished your body with that morning was a cup of coffee. Before you know it you’ve eaten three doughnuts and and now you’re eyeing the left overs in the refrigerator. You’ve eaten a days worth of food before noon, and then you feel bloated and stuffed the rest of the day. It’s a lousy feeling. Eat a granola bar, meal prep breakfasts if you have to. I don’t care, buy frozen breakfasts if it means you get a morning meal. Eat your breakfast before you get shaky and feel like you’re starving to death.

Take a cat nap! Maybe the baby is sleeping, maybe your kids are old enough to sit down and watch a movie for a few while you lie down on the couch. Maybe there’s this sweet spot between you getting out of work and the kids getting out of school. Set an alarm if you need to take a quick cat nap! Lack of sleep is a form of torture! No wonder you feel so bad! The dishes can wait (or even be delegated), have a little reset!

Watch a cheesey sitcom! Who doesn’t feel better after laughing their way through The Office, I mean really. It’s also awesome to just kind of zone out for a few from real life. This is also something you can totally do around the kids, make a cup of coffee and call it a coffee break!

Work on a puzzle. I don’t recommend any “self care” time really being spent on the phone, but if you have the self discipline to work on puzzles from your phone and staying off social media, then go for it! Otherwise real puzzles can really relieve stress. Maybe you can find small puzzles that you can pretty much complete in 20 minutes, maybe you have kids old enough to help you on some big kid puzzles for a bit, maybe you can find a spot to have a little puzzle table that will be safe in your house.

Workout at home. In less than 20 minutes you can get in a kick ass workout streamed straight from youtube. Use your computer, phone and even most tvs or gaming systems will allow you to stream good workouts right on the big screen. There’s too many to mention, and they are all great! I like to call this Kicking My Own Ass. When I get in good cardio workouts I swear less, I yell less, I sleep better, I feel better on the inside and I feel sexier on the outside. Take a few minutes and kick yourself in the ass a little.

At home dance party! This is good exercise for you and if the kids join in, it gets out some of their energy too (remember the park idea? The rewards of using up your kid’s energy can last through the day!). So get that 90’s hip-hop, 2000’s club or whatever you really jam out to, turn it up, and dance like no one is watching!

Work on your favorite hobby. It’s winter, I’m tired, I’m pale, its too cold in the Midwest to spend a lot of time outside. My kids are driving me crazy and I have no ambition to do the things I need to do. One of my favorite pick me ups is watching some type of paranormal show on tv and spending 20 minutes or so crocheting. I also like to paint, and of course make other crafts! Spend a few minutes working on something you love that you can easily pick up and put down when you find the time.

Lets say you can carve out a whole hour…

Lets say the kids are at school, maybe you have the day off, you could trade off babysitting with a friend. Somehow you hit a sweet spot and found a whole hour! You can do the following-

Glass of wine (or cup of coffee) and Netflix! Watch a couple episodes of The Office, watch that risque show that you love, but can’t really watch around the kids, find something new and fun that you keep hearing about on social media. Turn it on and tune out for a few!

Go to the gym/yoga class/ go for a massage. Get kid free time out of the house and spend that time doing good things for your body! Treating your body right is the highest form of self care there is. And the benefits are long lasting and amazing!

Spend that time with your spouse… If you know what I mean. I can’t skip through this self care and making yourself feel great stuff without saying the word orgasm at least once. While we’re at it, if your spouse isn’t available at the time… have alone time… alone. (This of course can go in the shorter time frames too… but with a significant other this time can also be cuddling, talking, and just connecting in general.)

Call a friend. Call a friend and just talk, spill, dish, laugh, whatever. Better yet, if you both can, meet for coffee and dish in person! Even introverts need to connect with people face to face now and then! Get the heck out of the house and connect with energizing people for a few.

The magic unicorn- You’ve found over an hour to yourself today!

This was the hardest list to come up with, mainly because I almost never find myself in this situation! Like, ever.

Date night! Go to dinner, a movie, walk, whatever. Spend some good uninterrupted time with your love (or friends, or a date-date for you single ladies). Connect in person! Its a reason to dress up and hit the town!

Just sit in silence. I bet this doesn’t take you very long before you’ve had enough of the silence. Mainly because you probably never get silence. But spend some of that free time just sitting still and in silence. Clear your thoughts as much as you can, sit there and write, make lists, and soak up the silence. If you start to get bored, go just a bit longer, revel in being bored! Remember what its like to feel bored because you are so busy these days!

Walk around the house naked! I mean, when do you really get that opportunity these days?

Finish the book you’ve been working at when you have 10 free minutes. Or at least get a good chunk of it read. Let it inspire you and do what books do!

Girls day! Find some gal pals that have some time on their hands too and have a spa day. Either at an actual spa, or pick a friends house and have an at home spa day! You can find a bunch of fun spa supplies at the dollar tree and tons of recipes for face masks and what not on Pinterest.

Have a movie marathon. Pick something the kids don’t watch, but you love and watch as much as you can! My personal favorites would be Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, or almost any kind of slasher horror movie there is. The worse the movie, the better! Gore, cliches, all the awful cheesey stuff happening! Make popcorn and get your fuzzy blanket, it’s cozy time!

Learn something new you always wondered about. I’m a huge fan of always learning more and expanding my horizons. Different religions, books, google, documentaries. Now is the quiet time you need to soak up whatever you can!

Miss the kids. This never takes me more than an hour and I’m missing my babies. I still take the time to do all this other stuff and more, but in the back of my mind, I’m missing my kids. You might spend the rest of your free time missing them, but resist the urge to call them home super early, know they are probably off having lots of fun too. And the time spent apart is actually a really good thing! Miss them, but spend every second you can of that time making sure you cup runneth over, so that you can pour out to them as soon as they are back home!

planningthishome.com

It’s important to delegate tasks. 100% of this shouldn’t be on mom. If you feel like it is, or in reality it is, then I’m so sorry! I hope this gave you some new inspiration to take care of yourself too, and to remember that you belong on your to-do list right along with the rest of the family. There’s no need to feel guilty about needing some time for you. Remember that taking care of yourself is an important part of taking care of your family. Eating healthier and taking care of your body is a huge part of taking care of yourself, too! You need to feel better inside and out, and its the best way to get real, healthy energy to get you through the day.

Get it all out! Exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer, and yes, even sex all release the bad and help bring out the good happy hormones!

Write down all the random thoughts that cloud up your mind. Get it on paper so that it’s out of your head! Start a journal (I don’t care if you feel weird about it, just start one!) keep the to-do lists, the bills, the budget all of it there on paper. You’re less likely to mess up and have things slip through the cracks, and you’re less likely to make mistakes. When you feel more confident in it, you can also direct your family to it for their questions too. Even keeping a meal plan on the fridge helps, because you can train your family to look there instead of asking you 8 million times a day.

Engage your support group! Don’t feel like you have one? FIND ONE. If your friends aren’t supportive and willing to listen to you, dump them. Seriously, find people you can open your heart to, and BE a person people can open their hearts to! Support isn’t something we can really get through life without. Find a good mom’s group on social media, start a free blog, find a place where you can let it all out to with out being judged. And if you already have an amazing support system, that’s awesome! Make sure you are supportive right back and count your blessings!

Until next time friends!

–Ashley

How to self care even when you don't have the time

2 thoughts on “How to Put Yourself First

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