Self-care is not selfish. ‘How can one serve from an empty vessel?’ a wise person once said.
When your husband walks into the house, gets changed (after an energy-boosting soothing nap or some solitary time) and walks straight back out again to go to the gym (or see a friend/ run an errand/get a hair cut…you get the picture!) and all you can think is, ‘Well it’s alright for you! You can just walk in and back out again!’. My friends, it is time to realise that what you need is a good dollop of self care.
You could put self-care in two categories. There is the self-care that makes you feel good immediately and that which you do which at the time may take a bit of effort but the rewards come afterwards, at the feeling of accomplishment of a job well done. Let’s take the time to write a bit of a list so you have an idea what I’m talking about.
Self-care with Immediate Gratification:
- have a bath/shower
- take a nap
- wash your hair
- go for a walk
- take time to listen to the birds singing/ enjoy the breeze the fresh air/ stop and smell the roses 🙂
- phone a close family member or friend
- meet up for a coffee/play-date
- get dressed up and go out (or get taken out- even better!)
- light a candle and pray/meditate etc
- diffuse some essential oils, make yourself a bath using them or simply inhale from the bottle! (be warned- this works with doTerra oils only!)
- cook/bake (if you enjoy this kind of thing)
- drawing/colouring/painting etc
- any hobbies you have could be added here…
- exercise- yoga/pilates/swimming or an enjoyable low impact workout
- go to a beautician for a facial/massage etc
- go to a local spa for a manicure/pedicure/spa session
Self-care with Benefits Afterwards:
- cook/bake (if you don’t enjoy this kind of thing!)
- exercise- a good tough workout to get that blood flowing
- clean the house
- laundry and ironing
- clean out cupboards/drawers
- rearrange things in the house/garden
- necessary errands
- visiting the elderly/sick
- helping out at a local hospice/hospital/care centre/school etc
I hope you can see here that the possibilities are endless according to your interests and the resources you have in front of you.
I think what strikes one almost immediately about these lists (which are not exhaustive to say the least!) is the fact that you need time to carry these things out. Time is something of a limited resource in most households. Time management is very important and maybe taking the time to write out what you actually do per hour of the day may help you realise that there are parts of the day that you could use more mindfully to get more out of your day (social media and bingeing on box sets come to mind here but then again if you’re using this as self-care, be mindful of each hour you spend on it and be aware of feeling even more drained and fatigued after watching because of the strain to your eyes etc). The other properties of self-care that I have not listed above and are actually mentioned in the image I have used, are those things that you can do that don’t take much time but can really change your perspective of the world. To remember to stay calm, be positive and take it easy will be easier once you are being proactive with the physical self-care needs that are listed.
I guess it’s true that this post is directed mainly at a woman who’s left in charge of the children and household while the man works but it can just as easily be switched around for those of you with the opposite structure in the house. And I hope it goes without saying that these ideas can also be used for those singletons whom I know may have time but maybe also need a little nudge to spend it on themselves rather than others.
However, no matter what needs to be done in your day I’m asking you really nicely (OK I’m TELLING you!) to use some of this time for yourself. It will make you more efficient. It will mean you will also be happier. It will make the time you spend with others sweeter and it will help you wave goodbye to your husband (if you found yourself agreeing with my first paragraph) when he leaves on that ‘necessary errand’ and to welcome him back with a loving smile when he returns. When you spend time on yourself, you tend not to begrudge people who do the same. You can be happy for them and then actually enjoy a sweeter relationship. You are also free then, to give them and everybody else in your life the best of yourself.
A few years ago, I spent four years exclusively homeschooling Miss Craft and my two subsequent children Mr Chef and Mr Biryani. We went through various transitions with all three children at this time including two national house moves and two local ones (crazy I know, and I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone!) and then I was very blessed and honoured to be taken on a life-changing journey of the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca that is incumbent on all Muslims to perform, at least once in their lifetimes). Needless to say, I had a lot of time to reflect on that journey and when I came back, the most glaringly obvious solution (to the problem I didn’t even know I had!) was there is no need to be a martyr for the cause! Yes, there are many benefits of homeschooling but at that time it was too much for me, one person, to be a good wife, mother and teacher all at once. Something had to give. I decided that the children needed to go to school and I was better off for it. Since then I have had bouts of homeschooling whenever it has suited our situation and thats why I don’t advocate either choice. A school has many pros and cons, as does the decision to educate the children at home. Each family just has to choose what best suits their child at the time- to nurture their interests and temperament is the best thing to do I think. And to keep it flexible. Knowing that these decisions need not last forever does a lot to lessen the stress when deciding such things. Always try to be mindful of the choice you have.
Now, I will always try to remember to put myself first, otherwise I find that the people in my life will not necessarily get the quality of Sidra-time but just the quantity- and that isn’t great for any of us.
Hopefully as you start to prioritise self care in your life you’ll find that your days will seem brighter, your energy levels higher, and you will not be as easily stressed out by daily life.
So, what do you think? Have you ever been in a situation where you realised that in order to move forward you had to put your own needs first? Did you come to the realisation that it wasn’t selfish, or did that take time? Do you think you can make self-care a priority? Let’s discuss this!
You can read more about how self-care can create intimacy in your relationships in Laura Doyle’s great book ‘Surrendered Wife’. Let me know what you think!
For now, until next time,
Peace and Love,
PS Previously, I said I’d list 3 new things I’m grateful for on each post. This will help me on my journey to Enoughism.
So the 3 things I’m grateful right now are:
- My cast has come off! Yay! Last week on Thursday I went to get my cast removed. It is now in a splint so I still have limited movement but I am able to get a lot more done now and my arm feels as light as air! Thank you all for your concern and good wishes on that front. I still need help with the school run and have had lots of help from family so far. Please take a moment here to send good thoughts and prayers to all those who have helped, and are selflessly still helping whilst I’m on my journey to full recovery.
- A surprise bunch of beautiful flowers and chocolates from my lovely mother and family who live a few hundred miles away. Thank you! Love you guys!
- The joy on Mr Smiley’s face when he went for his first official football training session and received a ‘best player’ trophy. All that kicking around with his older brothers has paid off! He doesn’t realise he has to give it back yet (uh oh!) and thinks the little cartoon guy on the plaque at the front of the trophy is him! Ah bless!
How is your journey to Enoughism going? Please share!