We’re always trying to stay ahead of our crazy, hectic schedules—to get our kids to soccer practice, the laundry washed, and dinner on the table while somehow squeezing in a dentist appointment during business hours! Here’s the one thing I want you to do this week: Make time to take care of you.
Why Self-care Is Important
I know you’re busy. I’m busy too. The list of things that demand our time is never-ending. And when it comes down to it, we think those other things are more deserving of our time since they are our “responsibilities.”
We all have a long list of reasons to not make time for self-care. But if we are going to have an honest, heart-to-heart moment here, more often than not they aren’t reasons; they are excuses. The truth is that anything on our schedule is something we have allowed to be there, and we can’t complain about that which we permit. If we want to be happier, more energetic, confident, proud, and fulfilled, then it’s up to us to become that. No one can do that for us.
And we’ve got to get over this idea that taking care of ourselves is selfish. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s self-preservation and it’s smart. What would actually happen if you took a break to show yourself some love? What if you felt recharged, more loving toward your family, and motivated to tackle the rest of the day?
I can tell you: Everyone in your life would benefit. You would be a better wife, mom and friend for taking care of yourself.
I’ve always loved this quote from best-selling author and pediatrician, Meg Meeker. She says, “The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life is to let her see her mother do the same.”
But I know finding just a few minutes to yourself can be challenging, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 kinds of self-care based on how much time you can spend.
10 Ways to Take Care of You
If you have 5 minutes:
Give your face a refresh! Sometimes a good old-fashioned face wash and exfoliation can make me feel like a new woman. And really give that moisturizer a chance to set in. If you like experimenting with makeup, play around with a color in your palette that you haven’t tried yet. If I have no time for “real” makeup, I always go for mascara, a little blush and lip gloss. Those three staples go a long way to make you look and feel more awake.
Go for a walk around the block. We all think we need energy to exercise, but it’s exercise that gives us energy! If you can make this a daily habit, you’ll probably even begin to crave this healthy activity. We all know from the movie Legally Blonde that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy—and it’s true! Endorphins induce feelings of euphoria in your brain during exercise. Plus, stepping away from your to-do list at the house will give you some clarity and a literal breath of fresh air. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get in a full workout, either. Remember, a one-mile walk that you do is better than a three-mile run that you don’t do!
Low budget: Paint your nails! I’m as guilty as anyone of letting my nails outgrow last week month’s polish, and it’s usually a mad dash to touch up the chips and peels as I rush out the door. Let’s kill two birds with one stone: Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick out a fresh new shade for the season. If you set aside 30 minutes once a week for some nail maintenance “you” time, you’ll feel good about yourself AND relieve some stress.
Bigger budget: Schedule a manicure in advance at your local nail salon. When you have an appointment, they can typically get you in and out in 30 minutes or less.
Related: Podcast Ep. 47—Mom Entrepreneurs: Finding Success in Business and Motherhood
Low budget: Take a bubble bath. Give yourself permission to R-E-L-A-X. Pick up some new bubble bath (or, honestly, even that calming lavender stuff for kids does the trick!) and light some candles. That’s right, I’m suggesting you light candles for your own enjoyment—not just for company! Fill up a nice, hot bath and enjoy.
Bigger budget: Get a massage. I don’t splurge on much. I buy furniture used on Craigslist and I use store brands with coupons. But getting a massage is something I splurge on, and trust me when I say that this is a luxury worth every penny. You will literally feel the stress and tension of the week (or month!) leave your body. You can save some money by finding local massage deals on coupon websites.
Now you have a nice, big window of possibilities! Here are some of my favorites:
- Go to your favorite coffee shop and settle in with a new book.
- Write your first blog.
- Update your photo frames and albums.
- Go buy a new outfit that makes you feel great. (T.J.Maxx is my go-to for cute clothes at affordable prices!)
- Take a serious nap!
- What makes you light up? Spend some time using your gifts:
These are just some of the things that I do to make myself happy. What about you? Remember, it’s not just your right to take care of yourself; it’s your responsibility. And it’s not selfish; it’s smart. So what could you do with the time you have today to take care of you? Don’t wait to try to find time this week—it’s not hiding and you’ll never find it. Instead, make time. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.