Alyssa recently spoke at an event about the importance of self-care. This is a summary of her conversation. We hope you can take away some good advice about what quality self-care means to you and how to apply it to your busy life!
Self-care has become one of those phrases that we roll our eyes at and say, “Yea, I know I need to take more time for myself. Self-care makes me a better mother, or makes me a better wife, or makes me a more productive employee. Yup.” Then we do nothing about incorporating it into our life.
So I’ve been thinking about this topic, trying to figure out a way to define self-care in a way that makes it relevant to all us busy moms. Something to make us realize that in the midst of all the chaos, it is a MUST!
What are some things that come to mind when you hear self-care? Just think about it for a minute. Most of us think of manis and pedis. Maybe a massage. All that is great but what good does if do if we are only caring for our physical bodies? So we have pretty nails, did that do anything for our peace of mind? Was that quality self-care? Maybe for some. But I think we need to dig deeper into what self-care truly is.
Think about this – The quality of our self-care can determine outcomes. It can take us from where we are now to where we want to go. A pedi can’t do that.
Self-care is your path to well-being. When you take care of yourself you’re happier and you therefore attract help, support, productivity, positive relationships, and positive influences. You thrive. Quality self-care makes you radiant from the inside out. People can feel it and are drawn to it.
When we get “too busy” and overload our schedules, that in turn can have the opposite effect – unhappiness, poor relationships, and even physical ailments like migraines and insomnia.
Think of self-care as your fuel. It’s your on-switch. You have to fuel yourself, nourish yourself, so you’re not running on empty or just running on adrenaline. We all have busy lives, and making time for quality self-care actually gives you fuel to do it more efficiently.
Listen to your body. Think of quality self-care as your prescription. When your body is telling you something, be it mental or physical, ask yourself if self-care would fix it. Because your mind and body are not separate. They are fully connected and when you can relax you mind, your body will follow.
An example of this would be every single time I get a manicure. I was just joking with a friend that a manicure is actually stressful for me. I don’t have the use of my hands so I can’t answer the phone, I can’t check emails, or even just browse Instagram! I’m stuck there, staring at the wall, or the lady in front of me, in silence for an hour. I’m miserable. But my nails look good!
So that’s not quality self-care for me. The physical things we do should also be combined with mental practices and rituals. I think if I made it a ritual to get a mani with a friend, that would be quality self-care for me. An hour spent with a good friend is good for my soul. An hour staring at a wall stresses me out.
What could that practice look like for you? Maybe a float tank. Local peeps, has anyone been to phlot in Eastown? Maybe for you it’s meditating for 10 minutes each morning to set intentions for the day. Maybe it’s a massage or yoga (for me these work)! Maybe it’s working out, or reading your favorite book. All of these are great if they bring you some peace and joy. That’s mental wellness.
So think about all the things you can do for your mental wellness and add that to they physical things you are already doing.
What’s your current self-care ritual? Is it working for you? If so, great! Keep it up. If it’s not working, be open to trying some new things to create a ritual of self-care. Figure out what’s important to you and make it happen. No excuses. Remember, it doesn’t need to be lavish or expensive. It just has to work for you (not anyone else)! Like my example of getting a mani with a friend – the mani still only costs me $30 but now it’s quality self-care at no added expense because I have a buddy with me.
Maybe you like to soak in a hot bath, but can’t shut your brain off. So how about soaking in the tub and calling a friend. Or reading that fiction novel that’s been collecting dust. Or turning on a funny podcast. These are simple mental rituals to add to your physical self-care options!
Ok so how do we implement these mental rituals? First, you have to understand that they are a necessity. Something you must do in order to maintain wellness.
Think of that safety card on an airplane. You’re told to put on your own air mask before you help anyone else put on theirs. Even your children! Why? What would happen to you if you helped everyone else put their masks on and you forgot about yourself? You would suffocate. Without your own mask on, you don’t have the capacity to help others. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity.
Make quality self-care a non-negotiable. Caring for yourself is not an act of indulgence, remind yourself it’s a necessity. Eliminate any shame and guilt that accompanies your self-care ritual.
Self-care is not selfish. Or maybe it is, and that’s okay!
I want to leave you with a quote from Ghandi:
“I had a really busy day today so I better meditate —- for two hours instead of one.”