29 Aug Survival guide five self care tips that cost no money!
Whenever I used to hear the words “self care” I always envisioned myself at a day spa with a mud mask and my feet wrapped in hot towels. Wow that would be nice….pause.. I try not to think about it for too long because then I just feel bad that I haven’t showered yet today and that my fingernails have had chipped polish on them for three weeks.
My fourth child was born in August, 2016 and my already pretty busy world suddenly felt totally insane. He was born with a very similar trait that his older three siblings had and that was a really amazing ability to NOT sleep. Our bedroom already averaged 3 visits from children a night which 99.9% of the time resulted in an extra person(s) in our bed. Between his crib in our room and a lot of little feet in our bed/faces, nighttime was like an African safari, or atleast what I imagine an African safari to be like. Sleep came in very short intervals for that whole fall and winter and I looked like I was dressed for Halloween on a daily basis. I started researching for ways I could make our life less chaotic but knowing deep down that really it was just a busy time in our lives and we just had to ride it out. People would regularly say to me “just enjoy it, this time goes by so fast.” Even though these people said this with the kindest intentions, it often made me want to tackle them at the knees, or just sit and cry, or sometimes both. By the end of the winter, I had all these different responses in my head to that remark that I never said out loud like, “do you know sleep deprivation is a form of torture?,” or “now that your kids are grown, do you miss being peed on in the middle of the night?,” or simply put “SHUT UP!!!!” I felt bad that there were days where I sometimes (often times) counted down the minutes until they went to sleep at night. I wanted to love every second I spent with them but parenting doesn’t always allow for that. Really my frustrations with those meant well comments were just a result of me feeling bad that I wasn’t loving every minute of it.
Parenting is hard and sometimes, it’s really, really f*%^&ing hard. I know the days are long but the months are short (or however that saying goes) and now a year later, I’m seeing the light again. I don’t know if I can say it went by fast, but I’m here on the other side of it. I’m coming out of the trenches of a super challenging time in my life. One of my kids has slept in her own bed for 22 nights straight and our youngest now only wakes up 1-2 times a night instead of 8. I get enough sleep now that sometimes I even have dreams… I forgot that was a thing?!
So part of my survival tactics through this year of crazy was to engage in some self care practices (outside of the dreamy one I mentioned above). These were more realistic to my everyday, cost me no money and didn’t involve me having to travel any distance.
The first was- water…drink a lot of it. I always knew that drinking water was good for you and I always tried to have a water bottle on hand with me wherever I went.. In this year of crazy sleep deprivation though, I started replacing my daily H20 with coffee..#allthecoffee. I will never remove coffee from my morning routine, but drinking it all day long did not help my energy levels or the dark circles under my eyes. I started being more conscious of this in January when I knew I needed some help. I amped up this effort in June when I did a 30 day cleanse through doTERRA that called for you to drink large amounts of water a day and limit your caffeine intake. It was amazing the difference in my skin, my hair, my energy levels and even my appetite from just drinking more water.
2- Get good sleep; This is hilarious coming from me, but I know aside from eating well and exercising, there is nothing better you can do for your body then to get adequate sleep. I’m not even going to throw a number out there because if you are still “in the trenches” like I was last year, that number will just make you feel bad. Just try and go to bed at a decent time so that in the morning you can feel rested. If you aren’t getting what you need because it’s not possible, just remember that when things get easier- you will be that much more motivated to get your zzzz’s. Stay strong!
3- Move your body everyday. It doesn’t have to be for any length of time or even make you sweat. If you can’t get time to yourself, crank the music and dance with your kids in the kitchen. Just moving your body enough to get your heart rate elevated just in that slight bit, will do wonders for your soul. There is no question that it improves your physical health, but for me, exercise is the key to my sanity. There were days last year where I remember getting on the treadmill after dark and being so thankful there was a new episode of scandal I could watch to get me through the workout. The majority of those workouts happened because I literally thought I was going to go crazy because I was so tired and I needed to take that negative energy and put it somewhere. I so often climbed on that treadmill with the mindset “I’m drowning,’ and when I came back up from the basement it would always be “I’ve got this.”
4- Step outside; There is nothing like the feel of sunshine on your face to give you an immediate boost of energy. In the winter months, Mother Nature can make this task more challenging but even when sun is nowhere to be found, fresh air in your lungs is a good second option.
5- Read a book; This is also hilarious coming from me because I have only read one book in the last 7.5 years. I’m not joking. Ok, wait that’s a lie, I have read an average of about 3 books a day for the last 7.5 years but all of them have had pictures and large print. I did just start a new one that has small print and no pictures and am really proud that I’m already on page 64. This is obviously one area that needs improvement in my life, but I’m going to really make an effort in this post trenches time to do a little more reading. It’s good for your mind, it’s good for your nerves, and you can trade and borrow good ones with friends .
Something that is really sad to me, is too many women don’t believe they are worthy of self care. They feel they need to look after everyone else first and that their health and wellbeing should just come second, third, fourth etc… Being in the fitness field for so many years, I have seen countless women put their health on the back burner because they felt too guilty to take time for themselves. Seriously we have to stop that. Guilt- get the hell out of my life!!! If only it were that easy I know, but I have learned in this past year that I’m a better mom when I look after myself. When I’m at my best, they get the best. I know those little feet in my bed deserve the best me, but I now know that I also deserve the best me too! Thanks for listening!