Posts tagged Self Care
10 Ways to Pamper Yourself

As a mother of three young children, as well as a wife, business owner and homeschool teacher, much of my life revolves around meeting the needs of others. As much as I aim to maintain a sense of peace and simplicity in our home, there is still always something that needs to be done at any given moment. At times, I forget to pay attention to my own needs. I neglect the little things that make me feel cared for and more human. I know that so many other women can relate to this. On the surface it may seem virtuous and selfless, but it simply isn't a sustainable life. Pouring into others constantly, without ever taking the time to fill our own cups, is a recipe for burnout. It’s impossible to keep going at that pace. Taking time to nurture yourself on a regular basis will make you a happier, more balanced person—more able to give to everything else in your life. 

Here are some small ways you can pour into yourself—commit to making at least a couple of these happen in the near future, and watch what a difference it makes.

  1. Take yourself out on a coffee date.
    Sometimes just spending an hour out in the world without children to corral and a diaper back slung onto my shoulder makes me feel so much more balanced. Schedule time to just be by yourself, and savor every moment of it. People watch, read a book, or invite a friend along for some conversation. It can be difficult to find the time, I know, but I know many moms who trade babysitting with one another in order to get that alone time every once in a while. 
  2. Have a spa day at home.
    Apply a mud mask, use a sugar scrub, shave your legs and pumice your feet. Let the conditioner sit in your hair a while. Use essential oils that promote relaxation. Paint your toenails. Pampering your physical self can work wonders to lift you up emotionally as well.
  3. Set aside an hour to get lost in a book.
    (Or half an hour. Or five minutes.) Nearly every mom I know wishes she had more time to read. Make the time whenever you can, even if it’s in brief little stints. We converse with toddlers on a regular basis, so making some space in our brains for some intellectual stimulation (or just a really great story to escape into) can really help us feel well-rounded and remind us of the world outside of our everyday life.
  4. Enjoy your morning beverage of choice slowly and intentionally.
    How often do we rush through the morning routine? Take it slower, savoring the comfort of a warm mug in your hands. Start your day by making yourself aware of all of your senses and thoroughly enjoy the simple pleasure of it. If it’s possible to get up even just slightly earlier than your kids and do this in complete silence, even better!
  5. Free-write for five minutes.
    Just allow your thoughts to flow unhindered. It's amazing how light I usually feel after doing this. You don’t have to be “a writer” to benefit from journaling. I tend to have a million thoughts in my head all at once, and that can cause a lot of tension until I take the time to get them out on paper. It’s as if I released pressure through a valve, and suddenly I’m so much calmer and more focused. 
  6. Drop everything and do five sun salutations.
    Stretching and breathing deeply are like a reset for my body and mind every time. I may not always have time for a whole yoga practice, but just a minute or two helps tremendously and makes me feel more connected to my body. This can apply to movement other than yoga as well. Do some push-up and squats if that’s more your style, or some simply stretches- or put on some music and dance your heart out (and have the kids join you—mine love this!). 
  7. Go for a walk.
    A change in your surroundings, a dose of fresh air and sunlight, getting your blood flowing... All of this can make you feel so much more alive. Being outdoors always boosts my mood and changes my perspective, and walking is such an easy way to take care of myself.
  8. Make yourself something delicious and nourishing to eat.
    What better way to care for yourself than in the way you fuel your body? Remember to eat, no matter how busy you are, and choose foods that are whole and healthy to make you feel your best. One of my favorite things to make lately when I need a boost is a green smoothie like this one from Megan Garcia (you can substitute ingredients with whatever you happen to have on hand). It’s so good knowing that I’m getting a good dose of veggies and nutrition in such delicious and quick-to-make package.
  9. Get caught up in something you enjoy.
    Learn a new skill and make time to practice it. Spend time doing something you enjoy, and get lost in the process. Do it purely for the joy and because it's good for your soul. Learn macrame, play the piano, or take on a new language. As adults, especially as mothers, we all too often feel we must be practical in how we use our time- that all of our activities must be tied to our responsibilities and obligations. It's so good to do something simply because you want to—that is never a waste. I started taking pottery classes—something I’ve always wanted to learn—and I’m completely fallen in love with it. Putting the effort into getting better at something that’s challenging, and doing something creative that has nothing to do with my job, has been so good for me. 
  10. Budget the time and money.
    Sometimes treating yourself to a massage or manicure, or going shopping for a new outfit can make you feel simply amazing. Budgeting and scheduling in order to make this, or any of the above ideas happen, is an act of self-care in itself. Make caring for yourself, mentally and physically, a priority. You are infinitely worth it

Journalist: Hannah Mayo

Worthy of Time
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This month began with a weary soul.  The soul, though weary, was happy - content in her role as mother, wife and homemaker - but a soul that somewhere along the way had left herself and the things that made her her, behind.  Consumed by those roles, passions which once lit her up before the powerful, luminous light of “wife” and “mother” was bestowed upon her, had drifted out to sea.  Ultimately, her life had more purpose than she’d thought possible.  But as time passed, like a hand plunging into soapy dish water, cautiously searching for any pieces left behind, she, too, was searching; probing for any remanences of herself she may have unknowingly, or otherwise, left behind.  Tirelessly, she quarried through the rubble of laundry, housework and other routine duties comprising her days and nights.  As the day drew to a close like every other and she tucked her sweet babies into their beds, their goodnight kisses brought a gleaming warmth to her tired soul, and in that blissful moment, quietened the search often tallying emotional weight to her existence. 

Ten minutes for myself, every day, for thirty days. Seems manageable, right?  Not necessarily.  There are many minutes in a day when I'm not chasing my children, when I’m alone and uninterrupted.  But rarely time when I’m not accomplishing an act of service for my family or working from home.  Most days, my “me time” is spent crawling into bed and planning things many might consider unworthy of mentioning, such as when I'll shower next, as I drift off to sleep. 

As time passes and my children grow, some aspects of life become easier while others become harder.  Through my almost-six-years as a mother, I've come to the conclusion that parenting doesn’t get easier over time.  Instead, it introduces different challenges with each transient year. 

Life with children, a husband, a home and a job definitely has me on a merry-go-round, demanding thought-out structure and consistency in order to keep its course.  Schedules must be made and followed to obtain order.  I proudly observe my schedule; carefully calculated to flow through daily tasks efficiently.  Like a puzzle, it all fits together; however, once presented with this challenge, I realize there is something unaccounted for.  The responsibilities I've been allotted consume me to a point where I sometimes forget to consider an incredibly-crucial part, the very foundation of our family’s intricate puzzle, firmly keeping its center intact – the caregiver: myself and my wellbeing. 

What would a puzzle be if time wasn't taken to find each piece and carefully complete its border?  I am deserving of the effort.  My hobbies, my passions, my soul – all missing pieces worthy of the chance to be found and nurtured.  So, I’ve revamped my schedule, allotting time for crocheting, prayer, friendships, writing and yoga.  I’ve picked up my crochet hook and began to create - not for a customer or my children, but for myself - quietly inviting my Maker to pour into and make whole my weary soul.  I’ve made time for friendships, time to call or go for coffee.  When I can, I sit in the sunlight beaming through the window and write, giving voice to the words of my heart, allowing them to flow through and wash back over me, replacing my restlessness with contentment.  In quiet moments, I retrieve my yoga mat, pose and focus solely on my breathing, the pull of my muscles and the pounding in my chest - casting aside any thought trying to penetrate my tranquility.  For the sake of ten minutes and a mind cleared of the hustle and bustle of my responsibilities, I become my main priority - something I hadn’t considered in a long while.  By doing so, my spirit awakes.  She dances freely to the rhythm of my heart and to the song my soul passionately sings, as the long-lost pieces of me begin to wash ashore. 

Beginning the search to find unfamiliar pieces of myself is a journey unto itself, and one that may require a lifetime to complete.  I was convinced I had figured out entirely who I was - what I held to be of utmost importance and what I aspired to be.  The desires of my heart seemed clear, but once I began to retrieve those scattered pieces on the shore, I was faced with things barely recognizable - parts I was unaware had gone missing in the first place.  Their level of importance had little to do with the fact they were unfounded or forgotten, but simply, as I grew, life and motherhood swept me up and carried me away.  Suddenly, looking at what lay behind me isn't as demanding as the gifts I've discovered before me. 

As pieces come back, I understand things about my present self, the deeply-rooted qualities I possess, driving me to react to circumstances in the manor I do.  Focusing on working through personal battles as they resurface throughout the journey brings peace to the restless parts of me; those areas I was once unaware needed calming. Parts I love and have missed dearly are revealed, the familiarizing with these long-lost treasures of my soul bringing colossal joy.  One thing I’ve come to realize, though, is how much I have grown, and I now understand how both trials and beauty I have been graciously given will continue to shape me.  The woman before motherhood I once knew seems so foreign to the woman I have become, and the growth in my life thus far brings me great pride. 

I hope my expressions have revealed just how crucial it is to carve out time.  So, it’s time to learn, time to dive into the search of your soul and time to discover who you really are and to reunite with pieces missing.  It’s time to work through past chapters left abandoned, unfinished; time to find the divine purpose of motherhood and all it has to offer. Pouring yourself into the life of your family is a magnificent responsibility, one you should not tackle without insuring you yourself do not run dry in the process. 

A mistake I often make is having high expectations.  Expectations of people or possessions to fill places within often render me empty and barren.  I’ve come to realize it is unfair to have such hopes.  Sure, you can look to your partner, family, friends - whatever outlet you see fit to bring fruit to your branches - however, you and your Creator, alone, know your true strengths and weaknesses.  Therefore, those are the only outlets we should expect to fill and nurture.  We should continue to make a conscious effort to make the process of self-pursuit a priority.  This process, containing one meaningful revelation after another, has the potential to allow you to begin learning all you are composed of and, to cultivate unending personal growth.  Your hobbies and passions, those left-behind pieces drifting aimlessly out to sea, are desperately yearning for the cries of your searching soul, calling them home. Ten minutes for yourself, every day, for thirty days - it takes effort, but I promise you, my darling, you are worthy.

Journalist: Emily Earle