May 10, 2016

10 Ways to Take Care of You

I know finding just a few minutes to yourself can be challenging, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 kinds of self-care based on how much time you can spend.

10 Ways to Take Care of You

We’re always trying to stay ahead of our crazy, hectic schedules—to get our kids to soccer practice, the laundry washed, and dinner on the table while somehow squeezing in a dentist appointment during business hours! Here’s the one thing I want you to do this week: Make time to take care of you.

Why Self-care Is Important

I know you’re busy. I’m busy too. The list of things that demand our time is never-ending. And when it comes down to it, we think those other things are more deserving of our time since they are our “responsibilities.”

We all have a long list of reasons to not make time for self-care. But if we are going to have an honest, heart-to-heart moment here, more often than not they aren’t reasons; they are excuses. The truth is that anything on our schedule is something we have allowed to be there, and we can’t complain about that which we permit. If we want to be happier, more energetic, confident, proud, and fulfilled, then it’s up to us to become that. No one can do that for us.

And we’ve got to get over this idea that taking care of ourselves is selfish. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s self-preservation and it’s smart. What would actually happen if you took a break to show yourself some love? What if you felt recharged, more loving toward your family, and motivated to tackle the rest of the day?

I can tell you: Everyone in your life would benefit. You would be a better wife, mom and friend for taking care of yourself.

I’ve always loved this quote from best-selling author and pediatrician, Meg Meeker. She says, “The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life is to let her see her mother do the same.”

But I know finding just a few minutes to yourself can be challenging, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 kinds of self-care based on how much time you can spend.

10 Ways to Take Care of You

If you have 5 minutes:

Give your face a refresh! Sometimes a good old-fashioned face wash and exfoliation can make me feel like a new woman. And really give that moisturizer a chance to set in. If you like experimenting with makeup, play around with a color in your palette that you haven’t tried yet. If I have no time for “real” makeup, I always go for mascara, a little blush and lip gloss. Those three staples go a long way to make you look and feel more awake.

10 minutes:

Go for a walk around the block. We all think we need energy to exercise, but it’s exercise that gives us energy! If you can make this a daily habit, you’ll probably even begin to crave this healthy activity. We all know from the movie Legally Blonde that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy—and it’s true! Endorphins induce feelings of euphoria in your brain during exercise. Plus, stepping away from your to-do list at the house will give you some clarity and a literal breath of fresh air. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get in a full workout, either. Remember, a one-mile walk that you do is better than a three-mile run that you don’t do!

30 minutes:

Low budget: Paint your nails! I’m as guilty as anyone of letting my nails outgrow last week month’s polish, and it’s usually a mad dash to touch up the chips and peels as I rush out the door. Let’s kill two birds with one stone: Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick out a fresh new shade for the season. If you set aside 30 minutes once a week for some nail maintenance “you” time, you’ll feel good about yourself AND relieve some stress.

Bigger budget: Schedule a manicure in advance at your local nail salon. When you have an appointment, they can typically get you in and out in 30 minutes or less.

Related: Podcast Ep. 47—Mom Entrepreneurs: Finding Success in Business and Motherhood

1 hour:

Low budget: Take a bubble bath. Give yourself permission to R-E-L-A-X. Pick up some new bubble bath (or, honestly, even that calming lavender stuff for kids does the trick!) and light some candles. That’s right, I’m suggesting you light candles for your own enjoyment—not just for company! Fill up a nice, hot bath and enjoy.

Bigger budget: Get a massage. I don’t splurge on much. I buy furniture used on Craigslist and I use store brands with coupons. But getting a massage is something I splurge on, and trust me when I say that this is a luxury worth every penny. You will literally feel the stress and tension of the week (or month!) leave your body. You can save some money by finding local massage deals on coupon websites.

2+ hours:

Now you have a nice, big window of possibilities! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Go to your favorite coffee shop and settle in with a new book.
  • Write your first blog.
  • Update your photo frames and albums.
  • Go buy a new outfit that makes you feel great. (T.J.Maxx is my go-to for cute clothes at affordable prices!)
  • Take a serious nap!
  • What makes you light up? Spend some time using your gifts:

These are just some of the things that I do to make myself happy. What about you? Remember, it’s not just your right to take care of yourself; it’s your responsibility. And it’s not selfish; it’s smart. So what could you do with the time you have today to take care of you? Don’t wait to try to find time this week—it’s not hiding and you’ll never find it. Instead, make time. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.

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  • Noel says:

    I just took 2 minutes of me time locked behind my bathroom door to read this post. It’s the only room in my house with a lock on it.

    I find that scheduling the me time strategically is half the success. If I try to enjoy a cup of coffee or read a book while the kids are awake or not distracted it usually doesn’t end well. I become frustrated by their interruptions when in reality I understand that I am their answer to everything. I try to teach them to be self-sufficient, but let’s face it. At 3, 5, and 7 I have several years before I can kick them out on their own completely. In the meantime, for me and my stage of life, me time is important but it’s much more beneficial when it comes during naptime or early in the morning when the house is still quiet.

    Thanks for the reminder, Christy. See you in Ft. Worth next week! Really, really looking forward to two whole days of adult/me time!

  • Ivette says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I’m in the process of learning to put myself first. It’s hard but you are absolutely right that EVERYONE around you benefits from your happiness.

  • Hector says:

    Reading “The Artist’s Way” changed my life for the better. The author encourages you keep a daily journal and that you take yourself out on a date at least once a week. At first, this all sounds dumb. I felt silly following the advice, but the benefits of letting stuff out and having alone time for yourself are BIG.

    Anyways….my favorite things to do are

    1. Treat myself my favorite coffee and sip in my car as I listen to either music, stand-up comedy, or Dave Ramsey. It depends on my mood. If I’m tired and not feeling much of anything, hearing ridiculous, funny stand up cheers me up and requires very little thinking of me. Me being exhausted is when I don’t want to hear music because I’ll start analyzing it (I’m a musician). And I don’t want to hear Dave when I’m tired because it requires too much thinking and focus to think about situations and years and numbers etc.

    I like hunting for stuff! Which is why I enjoy hitting up flea markets, goodwill, savers, thrift stores and dollar stores. Even if I find nothing, just trying to find something in particular or anything that might be good is fun for me.

    Netflix, if I have hours.

    This might be contradictory, but I also enjoy taking one of my kids (just one! I don’t care which one wants to go) out for a walk or to a park for them to play. I enjoy them talking to me forever as I zone out and pay attention to almost none of it. I know what you’re thinking. I sound like a jerk. If you thought that, you probably don’t have kids and don’t get it. I LOVE hearing the voice of my son’s voice as he excitingly says MANY things. It’s a comforting sound. It makes me happy. But I don’t have to pay attention to the content. It’s too much content and most of it is irrelevant to anything. And he doesn’t care whether I’m listening carefully or not. He’s having a blast talking away to his step dad. And I’m relaxed listening to the SOUND of an innocent child.

    I also like taking him (or the other) to a park where they can run around. I DO NOT glance at my phone. I just watch him run around and have fun. That’s comforting and it distracts me from stress. It reminds me of how fun life can be and how little my “problems” really are.

    And my favorite stress reliever is music. I play instruments. My favorite stress reliever is my piano. Not an electric piano. A real acoustic piano. I bang the keys as hard as I can and create an angry composition which eventually modulates into a peaceful tune. Guitar is a also a great stress reliever. I recommend learning how to play an instrument. Just a few chords will do the job.

    If you have kids, try it next time.

  • Cassandra says:

    Christy, love these ideas, but wish you encouraged buying a new outfit or book or nails at your locally owned businesses. Those businesses are probably owned by local women, just working to make their dreams come true (like me), and you can be supporting their business, vs. a big box retailer. Consider a new-to-you outfit from your local consignment shop to keep you within budget.