Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Days - Making Time for Self-Care

What do you think about when you hear the term self-care?  For me, I always think a day at the spa.  I’m not sure why, I think that self-care to me means a little bit of pampering, and the spa seems to check off all those boxes.

Honestly though, who has time for a spa day?  Or the money for a spa day!

For the longest time, I have always said “I don’t have time.”  And as a mom, I often feel that that is an accurate statement.

There aren’t enough hours in the day!

Yes, that one as well.  And I still feel like that a lot of the time.  The days move so quickly, and I am putting so much of myself into my kids and husband that there is very little left for me.

Now, we know why self-care is important, but how do we make that time?

When I first started trying to put a little more effort into my own self-care finding time was next to impossible.  I continued to read the advice “if it is important to you, you will make time.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but whoever this person was, I am convinced they did not have little children and all the interruptions that come with little children.

Granted, I know that some moms are really able to get that time that they need, and they have figured out a way that works for them.  I was not one of those moms.  I struggled to find time that would give me more than five minutes alone. 

Part of my issue is that I am an introvert, so my definition of self-care often is sitting quietly in a room with my journal, a good book, and some tea; not going out to a coffee shop or some other establishment.

When you have little kids, it is hard to go to a quiet room, and if you find a quiet room, it doesn’t stay quiet for long.

The more I thought about “if it is important to you, you will make time,” the less I was irritated about the statement, and the more I tried to find strategies that would work for my specific situation.

I have tried the gamut of options on getting alone time with my kids in the house.  There were the evenings off that my husband and I tried to give one another, the super early mornings, Sunday afternoons, early weekend mornings, late nights when everyone was finally asleep; I honestly have tried them all. 

I’m afraid the “how” is the hardest part of the whole self-care equation.

You will have to try out all.the.things in order to figure out what is going to work well.

Also, if it works well now, it might not in 6 months.

Back to my story of trying everything; I tried the evenings when Matt would put the kids to bed and I would sit in what was then my craft room working on what I wanted to, replenishing me.  Of course the kids knew that I was in the craft room, and they wanted to work on crafts as well.  So between the many interruptions, I would feel more frazzled at the end of my “self-care time” than when I started. 

I would try for early mornings.  Apparently my kids are the lightest sleepers in the world, and would be fully awake and ready to go at 5am if I let them.  That isn’t completely fair, Jack will stay in bed a lot later than Emma.  But, for a time, I could not get Emma to stay in bed until even 6am.  Even now, she rarely sleeps past 6:30.

OK, so how does any of this help you find your “how?”  Well, I’m not sure it will.  But, I want to give you some ideas in order to *try* to find that time for self-care.

Remember when we talked about how self-care to me meant a spa day?  Well, my definition has evolved.  Now, it really is any time alone that I can concentrate on something that I love.  Some things that I love are writing, reading, and knitting.  I mean, I also love a spa-day, but since that isn’t quite in the every day budget, or even the every month budget, I need to make room for other activities that will replenish my mind and body.

My go-to time of day is morning.  I love it, it works for me.  It won’t work for everyone.  I am going to talk more about morning routines, and how that can be time for self-care later on this month.

Some other “how’s”:
     ·       Nap time
     ·       Evenings
     ·       Weekend mornings
     ·       Sunday afternoon
     ·       Lunch break
     ·       Late nights (if you are a night owl)
   ·       Your commute to and from work

Now, it may seem odd, some of those times.  How can you have self-care during a commute?  We will get into how to use some of those times for self-care later, but what I want you to do is to look for margin in your day.  Can you find it? 

Can you find 15 minutes today to be able to relax with a book, with a cup of tea, with some chocolate, to rejuvenate you and prepare you to be your best self?  Are you working on time assessment for the week?


  1. This may not work for everyone, but I'm pretty sure my mom was brilliant. I used to get up super early as a young kid, so on weekends I was tasked with getting breakfast (pop tarts from the pantry) and being quiet in my bedroom until my parents were up, then I could go out and actually be in the living room. But until they were up, I was to stay in my room. I had a TV, and watched the kid's lineup on PBS or a movie or something or whatever else, while my parents still slept or were on the computer or whatever. Now, though, I'm not sure how many parents let their kids have televisions in their bedrooms, nor how many let them have poptarts, but it worked. Plus, it let me feel independent - being able to feed myself and entertain myself for an hour or two. And, then, even if my parents were up early - I didn't know, as I was in my room, and they had time to themselves!

    1. I would love to learn this trick of getting your kids to stay in their bedroom! I have been trying to convince my 7 year old to stay in her room until 7 - she is an early riser too. It hasn't worked out that great so far, but I am still working on it! They have been better about sleeping past 5:30am I guess it is all about the baby steps! :-)

  2. Thank you for the encouragement and the ideas! I'm happy to report I just spent the past 15 minutes soaking my feet in a detox footbath - heavenly! I also had a cup of peppermint tea with me, multitasking!


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