Updated: Oct 11, 2018
Let's face it, self-care doesn't always make it onto our daily to-do list. I'm just as guilt as the next mom. Life gets busy and before we all know it, we can't remember the last time we took a few minutes to breathe deep and just let go.
Self-care doesn't have to be complicated. While it can come in the form of a lavished bubble bath or an expensive new face mask, those aren't the things I want to talk about today. Let's get back to the basics of simplistic and deeply healing self-care practices.
Remember to forgive yourself often. We often think of forgiveness only in terms of other people, but don't forget to extend that grace and kindness to yourself. None of us are perfect and motherhood requires so much self-forgiveness. Close your eyes, take a deep breath with me now and let all those mistakes go on your outward breath. We are given a new chance not only daily, but with every new second in the here and now.
A touch of physical, mental and emotional nourishment can go a LONG way. Being perfect here is not important. We are all on a journey of bettering ourselves and what kind of nourishment we need can change day by day.
Physical: Eating a healthy meal, hydrating yourself with pure water and incorporating gentle movements such as a short walk outside, 10 minutes of stretching or dancing in the kitchen are just a few simple ways to nourish yourself physically. A motto that has helped me in my personal journey of physical nourishment is reminding myself of this: "Do the best that you can in this moment." If I'm on the go with my four children and the best thing I have in that moment is a fast food salad, then so be it.
Mental: Next, we can nourish our mental state by being mindful. Mindful practice looks different for everyone and repetition is needed to make this process more automatic. The easiest way to use mindfulness is by becoming more aware of negative thoughts. These thoughts are normal and sometimes we can get stuck in them. But instead of identifying with negative thoughts, make the choice to let them go. This one takes some practice and that is okay. What does this look like? Here are three simple steps to letting negative thoughts go.
Notice the negative thought. Whether your mental chatter is telling you that you're not good enough or you find yourself complaining, take a moment to acknowledge it.
Release the thought with mindful breathing and body awareness. Close your eyes, take a deep inward breath and on the outward breath imagine the negative thought leaving with it. Then notice how your shoulders or jaw feel. Let them go loose and limp, relaxing your body. Take as many mindful breaths as you need.
Replace it with a positive thought. Now that you've created some space from the negative thought, ask yourself "What is going good right now?" It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Stay in that positive thought for a bit and take it in.
Emotional: Connecting with others has slowly become harder and harder. While social media is a way to connect, it's important to not abandon all other forms of human interaction. Call an old friend for a good laugh, play a board game with your partner, send a loving text to someone you care about, invite a friend over for a cup of tea or join a local mom's group. Take the time to connect and give your undivided attention to nourishing yourself and someone else in that moment together.
3. Get Grounded
In our modern society, it is easy to drift away or even detach completely from the inner connectedness of everyone and everything. Dialing back into this nourishing and healing network of energy can be transformative for anyone's self-care practice. Each person will have their own special way of grounding into this. For some, it is through prayer, gratitude, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, spending time outdoors, or writing. Find the avenue that works for you and enjoy the views!
Self-care is a journey. It is something we must all work towards. Extend yourself some forgiveness if you neglect your self-care, nourish the positive thoughts and wash them down with some fresh water, then take a deep breath of fresh air and be grateful for each new moment we are given.