I have mentioned the concept of self care and the care of my family a few times recently, and I realized that it might seem like I don’t care about service work or our relationship with the world outside of our door. I do care about both very much. I also realize that in order to offer my love, kindness, and effort to my family and the world, I have to make sure that I have what I need to function at my best. To explain what I mean, I will share with you some of my self care tasks:
1. Absolutely Necessary
–Eating a balanced diet. This is not so simple, because it involves shopping, meal planning and cooking. In order for me to be able to eat decent meals during the day they need to be prepared ahead of time which takes a good deal of thought and action. If I wait until the last minute I fall back on things like bread, fruit, nuts, and hard boiled eggs. These foods are fine but not so enjoyable if that’s all I eat for a week.
–Sleeping a minimum of 6 hours straight or more if interrupted. When the baby wakes up every few hours everything can get a little hazy. I know that when I’m tired my priorities shift and I might find myself spending more time zoning out on Facebook than I’d like, or eating ice cream for lunch. (Yup, that was today. Bleh.)
–Taking a shower every day, preferably in the morning. I really do not feel my best until I’ve had a shower. Even if I shower at night I still feel groggy the next day until I wash off and start fresh. Anyone with young children knows that this can be easier said than done. Since it is a priority I find ways to make it work, whether by putting Ella on the floor in the bathroom with some toys or making sure to ask Mo to give me 10 minutes alone before he goes to work.
–Taking a few minutes at various points during the day to do something I want to do. This may be reading an article, actually sitting down to drink my coffee, or calling a friend.
–Spending time in the evening after doing chores etc. to actually unwind. The most common activities in this category are watching a movie or just sitting and talking with Mo.
–Making sure I have clean clothes that I feel comfortable and look nice in. This means keeping up with the laundry, which helps me feel like I have my act together in general, especially because I feel better when I can put on one of my favorite tee-shirts.
3. In an ideal world…
This list goes on and on! In my imaginary world I do yoga every day, give up coffee and drink green tea, remove wheat, sugar and dairy from my diet, or maybe start getting raw dairy products straight from the farm. In this world my apartment is neat, my keys are where they belong, and I go out to hear music or do other fun grown up things. I think this world could really be possible, if I could only find a way to add a few more hours to every day…or maybe just get a nanny and housekeeper! I know that if I made them a priority I could pick one or two of these things and add them to my must list. Truthfully, I like the idea of some of these things much more than the reality.
These basic and not so basic tasks can be easily overlooked when life gets stressful. When work is crazy, the baby is sick, or I just don’t have the energy. I am posting this because I think it is worthwhile for me to acknowledge and consider what I need to be at my best for those who count on me, and to remember to make myself a priority in order to feel well, think well, and act well.
What are your needs and priorities? How do you fit them into your schedule?