Lately, I’ve been chatting with moms to learn about their self-care habits. I ask how many times a week they practice self-care, what types of activities they consider self-care, what time(s) of day they practice self-care, etc. These conversations have been really fun, not just because I’m learning more and more about the challenges and motivations of other moms when it comes to self-care, but also because having some 1:1 mom conversation reminds me that I’m not crazy, it’s normal, and this too shall pass 🙂
What I didn’t expect to hear in these conversations is how often moms have guilt around their self-care practices. Many of the women I chatted with said something like “I know I need to read more, I’m trying” or “I’m not sure you want to talk with me about that, I’m bad at self-care”. My reaction was dang that’s pretty much the opposite of self-care. Followed by, noooo, we put enough pressure on ourselves already, don’t add this to the list! And finally, maybe we’re overcomplicating it.
Seriously. When you think of self-care, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
My guess is that you probably thought about a pedicure, a massage, a full day to yourself, maybe even a full spa day to yourself. And yes, those are amazing and you should do that! But you likely can’t do that everyday, heck most of us probably don’t do that once a month, so are you limiting self-care to twice a year? Once a year??
Maybe the opportunities for self-care — things that give us energy, rather than take our energy — are closer than we realize, but we 1. don’t recognize it as self-care and therefore don’t feel the love we have given ourself, or 2. we put so much pressure on self-care being a grand event that we do nothing and give up all together.
The other day, I listened to an old episode of Mom Brain podcast. The guest, Brooklyn Decker, said she didn’t believe in self-care. That definitely got my attention. And if I’m being honest, it got my attention because I was annoyed that a fellow mama would say that. But as I listened more I realized that what she didn’t believe in was traditional self-care (a full day at the spa) and the commercialization of self-care (you need this product to take care of yourself and be happy). She believes that self-care isn’t a big production, but that it lives in the tiny moments of the day. YES. I agree.
So often I talk about the little things that make a big difference — like putting on your favorite pair of pants or taking the long way home because you like less traffic and the faster speed limits (me!). I believe the small things are the acts of self-care that will make the biggest difference because they are daily boosts that we can practice consistently. We need daily reminders that we are worthy and loved (by ourselves and others).
So let’s stop overcomplicating self-care and get to it! What small, but meaningful, things are you doing to take care of YOU today? If you need ideas there are easy self-care ideas here and more self-care ideas here.) And when you practice those small acts of self-care today, take a moment to feel the love and attention you’ve provided yourself, even if it’s just the fact that you put on those perfectly broken in Align leggings, for the third day in a row because you feel amazing in them.