Mother’s specialize in caring for their families, pouring everything they’ve got into their loved ones to ensure they feel loved and cared for. That’s on top of all of our other responsibilities, as well as the fact that we’re also often friends, wives, children and siblings — we nurture people and things all day long, which makes it difficult to set aside time to nurture ourselves.
And we often ignore any encouragement to go shopping, have a spa day or take a vacation thinking, “How could I possibly fit that into my schedule?” But in reality, if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we can’t be at our best — physically or mentally — for our loved ones.
The good news is, self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could mean locking the bathroom door to spend five minutes alone. Or maybe it’s enjoying a cup of tea or a bath with lavender before you go to bed at night. The definition of nurture is simply “to supply with nourishment” — so, what type of nourishment are you craving?
With Mother’s Day approaching, there’s no better time to think about what kind of care you’re in need of. To help, I’ve laid out four steps you can take to start implementing self-care into your life.
How to Incorporate Self-Care Into Your Life
1. Envision yourself doing some type of self-care on a regular basis. Then, think about how this would change you. What kind of mom, wife, child, employee or friend would you be? Write it down. This is your reason to change, and long-term success comes from first understanding why it’s important.
2. Think of just one thing you can plan to do on Mother’s Day. It will be a great start to your journey towards nourishment. (Need ideas? I’ve got a whole list in the next section of this post.)
3. Start making a plan for long-term self-care. Take an inventory of the things that bring you energy and the things that drain you each day. For example, if choosing something to wear in the morning is too daunting, you may want to consider a capsule wardrobe (or Marie Kondo-ing your closet). This exercise will not only help you find self-care that works for you — like what brings you energy — but it’s also helpful in guiding you to live your happiest life.
4. Look at the inventory you made and TAKE ACTION! Find at least one thing you can change in order to show yourself a bit more love. Tip: Start with something that doesn’t take more time. We are busy after all, and adding another commitment to your day can be tough. Instead, try something you can build into your already-existing lifestyle. For example, replace the time you spend on social media with reading a good book or journaling.
Ways You Can Practice Self-Care
1. Take a 20-minute nap. (Did you know, in a household with children, women report to get less sleep than men as well as feel more tired throughout the day?)
2. Enjoy 10 minutes to yourself in the morning before the kids get up. Savor a cup of coffee, focus on long, deep breaths or journal three things you’re grateful for.
3. Take a walk outside.
4. Spend one hour away from the house, doing whatever it is that brings you joy.
5. Ask yourself “What do I need today?” each morning — and try to give it to yourself!
6. Write in a journal and reflect on your thoughts, feelings or experiences.
7. Read a good, inspirational or ‘light’ book. Life is too serious as it is.
8. Sit in your car for a few extra minutes before you pick up your kids or walk into a zoo of a house. If you’re stressed and the idea of kids hanging all over you sounds too overwhelming, this can be helpful in centering yourself.
9. Take a lunch break where you eat and savor every bite. Nix the TV, reading, working at your desk or scrolling through your phone.
10. Listen to music and dance.
11. Get a massage.
12. Spend time meditating.
13. Declutter a space in your home.
If you can take those four steps and add more of what brings you energy into your life while also removing some of what’s draining you, then you’ve not only got a self-care plan that’ll work for you, but you’ll also be better equipped to take care of your loved ones. And if you can keep your reason why (the one you identified in step one) always fresh on your mind, it will be so much easier to stay committed to your goal.