Trail of Adventure Campfire

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How I Finally Found Time for Self Care

May 31, 2024

A few years ago, I took to my Facebook page with an outcry:

How do you do self-care?

My facebook friends were happy to answer. Here's a few of them: For me, it is jumping on my bike and riding around the reservoir for an hour (which thankfully I got to do last night;). Yoga, Running, Hiking, Swimming, Cycling, Gardening - weeding is very therapeutic for me Showering. Even if I have to have 2 lol and a face mask Meditation- sex -prayer - a walk - cooking - a nice nap - reading- chocolate - but best of all - petting my cat and being soothed by his loud rhythmic purring - thats purr chill. What struck me about this is they had a ready answer (I didn't), and also, their answers were totally different. Each mother actually did self-care in her own, unique way. For some moms it was a physical practice (moving that body), otherwise it was a mental practice, and some of them just sounded cozy. So I went on an adventure to discover how to do self-care as a mom, how could I fit self-care into my already overly busy life, and what activities were easy to do and didn't require a ton of prep (already busy, remember?)

How to do self-care

When I started to practice self care, I had the antiquated notion that I should do an hour, every day. I'm not sure where I got this idea from. So after trying to do an hour a day each day, failing miserably and only doing an hour per week. I ended up in the hospital, and I knew I had to do better. I didn't debate the importance of self care. Starting to do self-care as a mom is a little scary, isn't it? It means we are going to take the spotlight off of our children and put it on ourselves for a while. It means we are going to dive within ourselves, and I think we are a little afraid about what we are going to find. We've gone from being these before-kids independent women who worked out regularly, ate well and had careers to after-kids mothers who eat crusts off their kids plate, wear whatever is the cleanest and take care of terrible two-year old toddlers with tantrums. We are so aware of our own self-neglect, and we are judging ourselves for it. We know the emotions we've shoved in the closet. We might have birth trauma, or body trauma from birth that we haven't dealt with yet. And that's okay. The way we rise from our self-neglect and make a different choice is by looking at it squarely and owning it. Yes, I'm the mom who lives in hoodies and yoga pants right now. Yes, I'm the mom who eats crusts off her kids plates and KD for lunch right now. Yes, I'm the mom who is going to ditch her cart in the grocery store because her toddler is having a tantrum. AND THAT'S OKAY. Wherever you are at with practicing self-care as a mom, I promise you, it's okay. Just start.

How you start doing self-care as a mom

Since I had a tonne of time to think it through in the hospital, I realized how I had been successful in goals as a mom, I realized I had broken them down into small, bite-sized chunks. In fact, that was how I got anything done. I started, and still practice self care by using micro self-care moments, every day. Micro self-care are 15-minute self care routines. They are moments you can do within your day. These self-care moments can fit anywhere, at any time, in any place. They are quick, easy, and fun. They are your favourite activities, bite-sized! My self-care did not start out glamorous. It started out with a baby carrier (sometimes a stroller), one run bike and one very hairy border collie. It started with after work walks to my mailbox. Then we got a little further and hit the local trail, to the playground. Some days, that's as far as we got. I sat on the park bench and exhaled and let the small people play. Eventually, we made it to my Trail, but that's a story for a different day. I found 15-minute self-care moments to read my book after I put my kids to bed. Then I discovered I could put some dishwashing liquid into my tub and had a bubble bath right after I put kids to bed. In the mornings, I capitalized on the time my kids were eating breakfast to dump out a to-do list so I just could get it out of my head. I could even find 15-minutes when I was totally overwhelmed - I put my kids in safe places, locked myself in the bathroom with a bar of chocolate. And by god, it worked. I'd love if you shared some of our favourite ways to self care in the comments below.