You’ve probably seen one of these memes that say something along the lines of “if momma ain’t happy, no one is.”
I’m finally starting to believe there’s some truth to those statements. If you don’t take care of yourself, mentally and physically, you can’t be at your best to take care of other people. Whether you’re raising children, helping with aging parents, and/or running a house, you need to take care of yourself to better take care of those around you.
There are small ways to be kind to yourself and incorporating some of them in your regular routine can be a fantastic way to improve your overall well-being. The idea, on paper probably sounds fantastic, but for many, there seems to be a sense of guilt about taking time to do something pleasurable for you.
We all have endless to-do lists and they aren’t going anywhere as there’s always more line items being added. At the end of the day, maybe it doesn’t matter?
For a lot of people, this is hard to accomplish. I’m still learning. Mom guilt kicks in and it’s a very real thing. But, some things don’t take much money (or any) and some don’t take much time.
Here are some ways to be kind to yourself:
Meet up with friends
Whether for a meal or for shopping or some exercise, it doesn’t matter. Take some adult time with friends and keep up those connections. We get so busy living life that friendships often fall by the wayside. Don’t let this happen! Thankfully I have pushy friends who, when I start to get too caught up in my daily living, nag at me until we can get together. Thank god for my friends. If you don’t want to spend time with people, spend them with the furry friends in your life!
Just wander through a mall or shopping center. Peruse racks of clothes or in my case, shelves of books. It can be a nice way to decompress from our normal day to day living. Our to-do lists often seem to be never ending and maybe it’s time to embrace and accept it? Instead of pushing to reach the end of our chore list, realize it’ll still be there and take a break for you.
Whether you push your kids in a stroller, drop them at the gym in house child care, take turns exercising with your spouse, do whatever works for your family. Making individual health a priority is so important, especially as we get older. I’ve seen people my age and just a few years older struggle to get up off the floor. I don’t want to be that person. I had that struggle in my twenties. Not anymore.
This will look different for different people. Whether it’s a manicure/pedicure, a trip to the salon, a new outfit, a tattoo, or a new book. There’s a way to spoil yourself at any budget. Heck, sometimes, I’ll take a coffee from home into my local Starbucks with a book and read. It doesn’t cost anything. Or, I’ll take a few bucks and hit one of the thrift stores and buy a few books, new authors to me, and try them out. For people who have the funds, a monthly massage is how they treat themselves. It doesn’t take a big act or a lot of money, but it’s more about the idea of doing something for yourself. Most people do things for other people all day long, whether it be bosses, kids, spouses, other family members.
Learn to say No
Seriously, this sounds terrible, but it’s true. I do believe it’s important to give SOME of your time to others – whether it be your kid’s school, a homeless shelter, a church function, anything. There’s something to be said about it taking a village and my kids have already started volunteering. Now, the caveat to volunteering is knowing when to say no. Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you have to say yes! Find where you want to give your time and cap it at one thing at a time, two at the most. Do not add anymore to your plate until you’ve fulfilled your commitment. And sometimes, saying yes to even one thing is one thing too many! THAT’S OKAY! Say no. Maybe you’ll have time later.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Just do you! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your neighbors are doing, it doesn’t matter what the other parents at your kids school are doing, and it doesn’t matter what your co-workers are doing. We all need to follow our own path. Not just for sanity, but we all have different goals, different parameters for happiness and success. I doubt we’re all chasing the same exact thing.
Here’s the thing, I bet we, me included, could all benefit from indulging our own self-interests a bit more often. It’s hard with kids and family and work and responsibilities. Maybe try to add one thing in every month to start? Start small and live in that moment. Don’t let yourself worry about what you ‘should’ be doing.