Self-care is imperative to exceptional parenting. If we as adults cannot fully take care of ourselves, how can we take the best care of our children? I am not suggesting that you need to get massages by a professional every other week (like I do) to take care of yourself. A simple practice I have done to identify the things that I consider self-care is to write a list of things that make your heart sing and then do more of those things. Focus on bringing more JOY into your day to day. Take a walk in nature, listen to an inspiring podcast during your commute, have a dance party in your kitchen while making dinner, host a potluck with good friends, sip on a cup of hot tea or coffee, learn to make your favorite mixed drink and pour yourself one at the end of a long day, watch a funny movie or show, take 5 minutes from your busy day to do a mediation, call a friend to just catch up, write in your journal, lay on a blanket and stare at the stars, take your lunch break outside and watch the birds fly from tree to tree, drive to the closest beach and dip your toes in the ocean, or put on your favorite song and sing your heart out like you used to when you were 7 in your living room with a hairbrush microphone and all (or was that just me?)
Can't afford the spa? That's okay! Light some tea lights from the dollar store, fill up your tub and spend 20 minutes with soft music playing in the background. Have a baby and no babysitter? It's no excuse! When my daughter was a baby, I would bring her in the bathroom with me in her bouncy chair. She would drift off to sleep while I got to enjoy my time soaking in the warm water. Can't afford a mani-pedi? Do it yourself! Get some $3 polish from the drug store and take the time to paint your own nails. Or better yet invite a girlfriend over, have her paint your nails and then return the favor. Next, open some cheap wine and indulge in a chick flick or documentary (or whatever brings YOU joy). You don't have to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself. One of my favorite forms of self-care is spending time in my garden caring for the plants and reaping the benefits of growing my own food. It costs very little money, it is a lot of hard work, and for ME enormously restorative ;) Some find gardening to be frustrating or a waste of time and that is why this list is so personal. Make it your own and then DO them.
When we are running on empty it becomes difficult to serve our kids, our spouse, our clients and the world at large. In our book, The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, I share what I practice personally for self-care in order to help readers understand that as Audre Lorde said, "“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation."
I'm grateful for my massage therapist, Kim Wolff of Optimal Massage, for her healing touch, big heart, and listening ear. I'm grateful my daughter loves coming with me to get our nails done. And I'm grateful for warm baths with lavender oil and epsom salt.
I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for making time for self-care and saving money on it. You can comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.