Everyone knows how important self-care is, so why is it so hard for mompreneurs to make time for it?
Let me start out by pointing out why it’s so important to make time for self-care. Have you ever noticed how sickness comes when you’re the busiest? Do you know why that is? When rest becomes a “I’ll get to it later” type of thing, our bodies, minds, and souls become tired and loose some of their defenses. That lack of defense allows illness to creep in and take up residence. So, when I say that self-care is important, I am not just saying it to give me a topic to write about. I absolutely mean it. I know that I had endless excuses as to why I didn’t have time for myself. But then anxiety reared its ugly head and I knew something had to change. Here’s how I finally made the time for self-care.
Make a Choice to Take Action
Sometimes, the only thing standing in the way of you making time for self-care is simply your choice not to act. That was one of the biggest obstacles in my path. To finally make time for myself, I simply had to take the small, but powerful action of choosing time for myself over something on my never-ending to-do list. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, around lunch time or before bed, I choose each day to squeeze in self-care or “me time”, like reading my Bible and praying, working out, writing in my journal, or taking a nap. As all mom’s know, when you’re extremely busy, it usually seems impossible to fit in “extra time”. But here’s a little secret, the busier you are, the more important self-care should be.
No One Said It Had to Be a Spa Day
I use to think that in order to really have “me time”, I would have to take a spa day or weekend at the beach somewhere. But self-care isn’t the amount of time, it’s the quality of time. Some of the most rejuvenating times for me are only 15 to 30 minutes long. Shoot, I have felt renewed after 10 minutes of worship or painting! Making time for self-care doesn’t mean you have to block out your weekend, or day or even hour. It means that you choose to take whatever time you can to do something that builds you up. Honestly, writing this article is doing just that for me. I have been stressed with a lot of client work lately and taking a few moments to write something that I want to write is amazing. It lifts my spirit and changes my attitude.
Go to Bed 15 Minutes Earlier
This might seem trivial, but trust me it’s not! My husband and I used to stay up way too late for our wake-up time. I was running on fumes by noon and usually on my third (or fourth) cup of coffee. Now, that might not seem like a lot, but you haven’t seen my mug. It’s huge! When I began working from home, I thought I would get better about that, but it only got worse. I figured “I’ll take a nap”. Yeah, right! Who was I kidding?
One day though, it all hit me. And I mean hit me like a ton of bricks. I was exhausted and my body felt it. I couldn’t think straight. That is when I made a choice to take time for my sleep and let go of some of the control. See, that is really what this was about for me. I felt like I had to control every aspect of my life, especially the amount of work I did to bring home “the bacon”. Burning the candle at both ends seemed like the perfect way to “make the most out of my day”, but I was wrong… really wrong.
I started by going to bed 15 minutes earlier than I was planning to. I added 15 more minutes every couple of days until I worked my way back to a respectable 9pm. I have so much more focus during the day, I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. It has honestly allowed me to get more done during the day, not less.
Use Every Opportunity You Have (to Rest)
I used to hate traffic. I mean, I loathed it. It would take me 45 minutes to get to my corporate job. That might not sound like a long time, but the drive should have taken 7 minutes. See what I mean now about traffic? Anyway… I hated it. But then I discovered a little thing called podcasts! I started listening to any business or finance podcast I could. My 45 minutes in the car became my time for growth and dare I say, relaxation. I would have never thought that traffic could lead to self-care for this mompreneur, but I guess I was wrong.
What in your life seems like wasted time in your day? Use it! What about the school pickup line? Why not get your groove on and have a dance party in your car! Or take a chapter from my book and take in some podcasts. What about reading while waiting for your doctor in the waiting room? Or keep a small sketch pad and pencil with you to draw that big tree in the parking lot of your work? See what I mean? Rest and self-care can be found in almost any place you have down time. Even if it’s 5 or 10 minutes.
Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Mean No Kids
I know you are probably thinking, “Wait, I can’t have ‘me time’ with my kids driving me crazy!” And I completing understand your hesitance, but let me explain. Sometimes… you can’t get away by yourself, but you still need to practice self-care. This is when places like the zoo, the playground, or even my couch come in handy. Self-care can simply be taking a walk around the playground with your kids and then reading a great book while they get their wiggles out on the playground. My zoo (the Knoxville Zoo) has this indoor play area. We have a yearly pass, so I use this place a lot. My boys run around and have a ton of fun and I relax on my favorite bench right by the doors. I can keep an eye on them and relax at the same time.
Of course, you don’t have to leave your house to practice self-care. My boys love family movie night and so does their mom. My husband will pop popcorn and we snuggle on the couch with a blanket and our feet propped up. For an hour and a half (or two if it’s a superhero movie), I can just relax and enjoy time with no fights, no whining and no “mom can you…”. We just relax. It’s awesome.
Celebrate the Small Stuff
I use to beat myself up when self-care time slipped by me, but then I made a mind shift. I started celebrating every small win I had in my day. Each night, as I lay in bed, I started to thank God for all of the blessings. Then I started thanking Him for helping me take time to sing that morning while I made breakfast. Or helping me write 15 minutes that day. Or allowing me those 5 walks with my dog that day (which normally I would have complained about). I was changing not only my attitude, but the way I saw things. As I write, I am setting at my dining room table with my window open and listening to the birds sing and feeling the early morning breeze. I know this moment will be among my list of awesome blessings tonight.
What small wins are you looking over? What about the fact that you smiled at that neighbor you can’t stand, and they smiled back? How did that make you feel? I bet that rejuvenated you some, huh? What about that 5 minute walk to your kids school to pick them up? Did you enjoy the birds or the feeling of a breeze? How about the worship song you listened to on your way to the grocery store? How awesome did it feel to sing your guts out? See what I mean? Small wins, big payoff.
Whether your idea of self-care is going for a long walk, writing a blog post, or enjoy a date night with your hubby, self-care is something we all could use more of. We can find small ways to add it into everyday life and it doesn’t have to be complicated. The more we can add self-care or “me time” into our schedules, the better we will feel and the more we will thrive.