How important is self care? Let’s take a look at where we are first. 2020 has been a hell of a year for a lot of us. Election year, which is concluding this week. A pandemic. And cries for social justice. It has felt like the longest of years. And it is almost over. In 2, hopefully short, months we will all ring in the New Year. I, for one, will be going with the meme that had floated around, and will be screaming JUMANJI! into the void. Because you just never know. But until then, for today, I can do a little something for me.
I’m sure we have all been hearing to take care of ourselves. To practice a little self-care. We are all struggling mentally, in some form or another. And taking a moment in our day to focus on doing something for ourselves, to look at all the cute baby animal pictures or binge a few episodes of a favorite show, is a great way to give our brains a chance to pause all the negativity and stress.
To my fellow moms, I know this is a hard one. We are all about the kids and the partners. But this is important. Remember those flight safety talks? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. You’re no good to anyone if you pass out. Plus, it shows good habits to those tiny humans we are trying to raise into adulthood. These are skills they will also need, so show them.
What is Self Care Exactly?
It can be literally anything that brings you joy and zero negativity. It can be whatever lets you turn off the to do lists and the planning and worrying and the whatever else you have draining your mental energy. It can last for just a short 10 minutes to a couple hours to all day, if that’s what you need. Just make sure it is safe for you and safe for those around you. If you have kiddos, make sure they are taken care of while you take care of yourself.
But Lucie, I need ideas!
No worries, I got you! Below are some of my go-to self care treats. Some are completely free. Some have a price tag. Some only require a few minutes of your time. Some can be stretched out to fill an entire day. It’s all up to you.
Try a Bath
I love a hot bath, with bubbles and a candle and some soft music or a book. The time it takes to set it up, however, can be a little bit of a pain. Getting the right temperature water and finding the time for it can sometimes be tricky. But once it happens, it is magic!
Another love of mine is books! I have them everywhere. And I love re-reading my favorites. There is comfort in opening the pages and meeting a familiar character in a familiar story. No surprises. Just a journey you already know that has been blurred by time.
This can be movies or shows. As with books, there is comfort in the familiarity of something you’ve seen before. There is no shortage of new things to watch, and sometimes I do. But usually, I will fall into the characters and storylines I know. And thanks to all of the streaming networks, I can turn back to shows I grew up with or haven’t watched since they aired originally 10 or 15 years ago.
Play a Game
Console, app, card, or otherwise, go play a game. Single player games are great for turning off that brain. Depending on how much has been in my head, I may play some fairly mindless ones. Or, if I need to distract myself, I’ll pull out something that requires some puzzling or a just little more concentration. They are also great for family nights. Everyone needs a break from life at some point, even kids. Why not practice some self-care together?
Whether you’re buying or not, sometimes it is nice to just wander a store and look at all the pretty things. My favorite places are book stores, of course. But also Target. They have everything. And thanks to my oldest daughter, I have also been slowly falling in love with Ulta Beauty. The nail polishes, the lotions, the potions… There is only a small portion of the store I wander through, but it is enough to make my heart lighter.
Get a Massage
Once upon a time, when Lovey and I first started dating, he wanted to pursue massage therapy. Which meant hours of practical experience he had to knock out for classes. That was when I got hooked. I enjoyed them before but it wasn’t until he started the schooling and practicing on me that I really got into all of the benefits. Sadly, he kind of ruined me for the relaxing froo-froo (as he calls it) massages. But that’s okay. The ones that fix problem areas and relieve painful spots are amazing too. Maybe even more so.
Get Your Hair Done
I love having my hair brushed. I could sit and just let someone brush and braid my hair for a solid couple of hours, if someone was so inclined. Also, a fresh hair cut or simple trim can do wonders for boosting my mood. Same with getting a new color. I tend to stick to at home stuff for the quick fix, but have gone to the salon and spent a blissful day in peace and quiet having it professionally colored.
Manis & Pedis
I love having my nails painted. Not always by someone else, as I get fidgety. I prefer taking the time in the evenings or during Munchkin’s naptime to paint them myself. And then for the rest of the time until they chip off, I have something pretty to look at.
Sometimes just a change of scenery can help lift my mood and calm my mind. A walk around the block, a visit to the local nature center for an easy hike, or simply sitting on the back porch with a book and a cup of coffee. The fresh air is good for you. The sun is good for you. Get those sunshine-y vitamins in and embrace the outside.
Take a Nap
Naps are underrated. I think we should embrace them! Sometimes the best thing to do is rest. Did you have a fitful night’s sleep? Did you overdo it during the week? Or are you so mentally drained you have no more energy for even the little things? Take a nap. It doesn’t have to be hours long. Just 20-30 minutes of laying down in the quiet and letting your mind and body rest is so nice. Sure, sometimes I over do it and wake up more groggy than refreshed, but nine times out of ten, I feel so much better. And I’m ready to take on some tasks that I previously just couldn’t.
That’s it! My go to options for a little self care. I’ve had to learn it’s okay to take that time. And I’m passing that to you. It’s more than okay, it’s important. Hopefully something here spoke to you. Try it out, see if you don’t feel a little better, a little lighter. And don’t forget to drink some water. And breathe.
How do you practice self care? Share your tips in the comments below.