Self-care is the act of self-compassion, self-love, appreciation, and recognition of you as a person, who is deserving of quality time to nurture your mind, soul, and body. I’ve said it before and will say it again and again - self-care is not selfish! By now, you will know just how much value I put into carving out time for myself amid the busy and sometime chaotic day of being a work from home parent. No matter how long, tiring, or arduous the day has been, I make sure to give myself the space I need to recharge. Afterall, if I or my husband are on the verge of burning out, the entire house will suffer. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to continually practice good and beneficial self-care.
But! (There’s always a but!) I will be the first to admit, it is not always as simple as saying, “See ya, I’m off for a run!” or “I’m taking ten minutes to read a chapter or two of my book.” Little feet, and pawing hands often follow us or the niggling to do list taps away on our minds. If something has to give, it’s often those moments of self-care in favour of sorting out the laundry. There is an importance in protecting our self-care no matter the demands which life throws at us. Instead of giving up on our treasured moments to ourselves to engage in something which will lift our mind and mood, we need to ensure we have the opportunity to care for our self-care also.
Remind Me, Why Is Self-Care Important?
Let me ask you a question. If you spent all of your time looking after, considering, pleasing, and thinking of other people without putting yourself in the equation, how do you think you would feel? Stressed, washed out, burnt out, forgotten, tired, sad? When we spend our time putting everyone and everything else ahead of our needs, we run the risk of forgetting to think about, care for and love ourselves. We run the risk of our needs not being met which is detrimental to our physical and mental health.
We don’t have to wait for someone else to take the weight of responsibility away from us and tell us to rest. We have the chance to put ourselves first every so often, so we can recharge our batteries, refresh our minds, and reboot our energy levels. Self-care is our way of preserving ourselves, caring for ourselves, and nurturing ourselves to ensure we are happy, confident, supported, and loved. It is not selfish to put yourself first and to look after your own needs. In fact, it’s vital!
How to Protect Your Self-Care Time
Protecting our self-care time sounds like a military operation but we all know, with kids, with long working hours, commutes and a chore which always seems to need doing, it can take some forward planning to ensure we get our time in. Anything can easily come along and rip into our plans, dashing them with only a sliver of a chance of getting that time back.
There are things we can do which can make sure everyone in the house recognises and appreciates our self-care time. And most importantly, won’t interrupt or threaten the time we need.
Make it Non-Negotiable
First of all, self-care is not just for us. It’s for our partners too, for anyone in the house who needs breathing space, time for themselves, protected moments which are needed to fill their cup. My husband and I are both on the same page when it comes to self-care. We recognise its importance. We know what each other like to do to find that space to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health.
It’s a good idea to talk with your partner about why you need this time, what you want to achieve, and how you will go about it. When we share why something is important to us, we can feel more confident in taking that time, knowing we are supported. It makes it non-negotiable. And that is one of the best ways to ensure we can protect our self-care.
Little people, the house, paperwork, can all find its way into jeopardising our self-care, but they are often more manageable than the world of social media which has a funny way of filtering into our heads. We have all developed habits of scrolling, automatically answering the pings of notifications and the call of FOMO!
Self-care calls for disconnection. Put the phone away, turn it off, leave it behind. Avoid the temptation of our sometime mindless online lives when you know your time is better spent being mindful of your coastal walk, breathing through pilates, or lingering over hot coffee and your romance novel. Disconnect to reconnect with yourself.
Lock Your Door
Simple! Avoid interruption by locking the door to your bedroom or the bathroom. Sometimes five minutes is all we need but often those five minutes turns into 30 seconds as you are sought out and quickly found. Allow yourself to lock yourself away if you need to find your breath and calm.
Create A Space
Our homes can often become overrun by outside influences which may not necessarily reflect a peace you need or look for when practicing self-care. If meditation is something which means a lot to you, create a space which echoes the serenity you are looking for. Perhaps a comfortable chair with blankets and pillows in your bedroom, a back garden outdoor space with brightly painted panelling, or a corner of the sitting room transformed into a comforting reading nook. Create a space which is dedicated to your self-care.
Leave the House
And if your self-care plans can not be upheld within the madness of the four walls of the house, take it outside. Leave the house behind and all of the demands which can so often threaten our chances of giving ourselves the time we need to love ourselves.