Can you relate to this common self-care dilemma?
I’m very much someone who likes to have routine and this includes the things I do to keep myself grounded, able to work towards my goals and most importantly keep me feeling like me! When I had my beautiful girls, my routine disappeared, I was so focussed on their routines, I struggled to find space to fit in what I needed to keep myself balanced. This was further entrenched by the times that I normally did things (first thing in the morning or last thing at night) suddenly becoming much more unpredictable and sometimes impossible (mornings were a no go as my girls like to wake super early and last thing at night was unpredictable as sometimes I would have a child in my bed).
I had no consistency and I really struggled with this, it meant at times my self-care went to zero. This had such a knock-on effect to my family, when I’m not okay, I’m so much more impatient and likely to snap and my girls feed off this and their moods change too. The atmosphere in the household is different, more strained and I feel less equipped to deal with things (such as when my 2 year old floods the downstairs toilet whilst washing her hands at 7.30am this morning, I’m having to mop up a pool of water with towels, she’s crying as her clothes are soaked through and I need to be out the house with both kids by 8am and still haven’t brushed my hair or teeth)!
So, what I realised a while ago is that I need to change my ‘routine’ so that it works better for me and has consistency, it doesn’t work the way it used to and that’s okay. I needed to have some flexibility and change some of the kind of self-care habits I was doing (I used to journal and meditate every evening).
So, how did I do this?
My daily self-care habits are not so much in a routine anymore because I can’t keep to the same time each day, it doesn’t work for me at the moment. I still do meditate but it’s not daily, it’s a few times a week and when my girls are not around and I know I won’t be disturbed. My meditations are often shorter and more focussed on grounding myself. I’ve become really fond of morning affirmations which I put on a post-it note in the bathroom and know I will say to myself at some point whilst getting ready – even if it’s in my head whilst brushing my teeth. I have also figured out a way I can swim and do Pilates once a week.
My affirmations, meditations and exercise are staples in my week as these are the things I need to keep me functioning like a nice human being and not like some grumpy, frazzled monster, however I pick and choose other self-care habits and use them where I find I have some time or feel they are appropriate with what’s going on in my life. Some examples of these are:
- Rocking back and forth on my feet (grounding technique)
- Sitting watching tv and zoning out!!
- Going for a walk with my dog
- Spending time with friends (and hubby without kids)
- Taking some deep breaths
- Placing a hand over my heart and asking myself what I need today
- Having a bath with Epsom bath salts
- Listening to a podcast (I love Happy Place with Fearne Cotton)
- Gratitude list
I wanted to share my story with the hope that it shows you are not alone, it can be a real struggle to input self-care habits into your life, to find what works for you and to sometimes have to adapt, if your life has changed in some way and the old ways aren’t effective anymore. I also wanted to highlight how important self-care habits can be and what a big difference they can make. Even a small change can make a world of difference, everyone has to start somewhere. I know I am a better all-round person when I make time to look after myself and am more able to cope with challenges that life throws at me. It is not selfish to look after yourself. I have to remind myself that I am not the mum I want to be when I don’t have these self-care habits in place and so when I feel like I am being selfish or feel guilty for taking some time to do things for myself, I remember I am not just doing this for myself as everyone around me benefits (my kids, husband, friends, clients, family etc).
I would love to hear any self-care habits you have and what you’ve found has worked/not worked for you!