After a long day of screaming kids, trivial battles, and the endless cycle of trying to pick up after my children who are constantly making messes, I am completely and utterly exhausted.
The belief that self-care in the form of me time where we begin indulging in ourselves, treating our desires, and letting loose is … well… not accurate.
That’s not self-care.
I know. I am one to talk, right? I have been there too…
Just wanting to watch some mindless TV show or movie to distract me from the realities of 3 loads of laundry calling my name or the shrill of appliances and toddlers in the background.
I’m there now and I am stuck. Even to the point of feeling helpless and like I am going to break. But the reality is, this endless cycle of “me time” has not built resilience in me. It hasn’t improved my health whether physical or mental, and it hasn’t filled my parenting cup.
Indulgence and Self-Comfort are not Self-Care
In fact, comforting ourselves can become an addiction and I know I have become addicted to that numbness and “do nothing feeling” when I am not truly caring for myself. So when you sit down to take some me time, what is it that you’re trying to accomplish, especially long term?
Because self-indulgence and comfort:
- are just a distraction
- don’t lead to coping skills
- can add to your anxiety
- don’t set a positive example for our children
Listen to my podcast on this topic
How to make your “me time” fruitful for long-term self-care
Take time to assess what you really need. Both mentally and physically, what is your body and mind searching for? Because you can cover up the pain, the frustration or just the simple annoyance with the band-aid of distraction, but the reality is, when we nourish ourselves, we’re improving our lives for ourselves and our families.
Respect yourself and your family enough to know when you’re just seeking a getaway and the “high” of trying to achieve happiness when in reality there is a greater desire and need within you.
Encourage & push yourself to start even a low-key exercise routine
Listen to music while you do it! Instead of sitting alone in a dark room listening to your favorite music, find a way to move your body that suits the type of music you love. It can be as simple as stretches or walking a trail or track but as intense as starting a running or lifting routine.
Giving your body a way to burn your frustration is so vital for your well-being and self-care protocol.
Nurture your mind by read or listening to audiobooks
Whatever it is that stimulate your mind, calms your nerves, and gives peace to your soul is where you can turn. That may be turning to quiet time praying or reading a Bible, or it could be reading through an intellectually stimulating series of books.
The idea that you’re keeping your mind sharp and your heart at rest is so important. I know it’s hard for me to turn off my thoughts; however if I am truly reading, that’s all I can really do!
Boost your mood and overall health by NOT turning to junk food
But really, it’s important. Sugar and unhealthy foods, in the long run, are not promoting to your well-being and that’s the goal and point of self-care.
Foster family relationships by either including them or doing something for them
Institute a family walk or set special parent-child dates to unwind from the “everyone all at once” chaos and really enjoy your kids one-on-one.
There are lots of ideas that you can recharge with your family around, even if you’re an introvert.
Cultivate new skills (especially that improve family life)
Being creators in a world of consumers gives us worth, importance, and purpose. Even simple things that are hobbies like woodworking, sewing, or writing still provide value to others or at least in expressing ourselves in ways that we otherwise have no ability to.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!