The term “self-care” hit the mainstream a few years ago, though it still means different things to different people. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness.” A clinician on Psychology Today refers to it as, “a huge part of what’s missing in the life of someone who’s busy and stressed”. But one of my favorite statements about self-care is from a New York Times piece that boldly declares, “Self-care is for anyone who wants it.” As a mom, I definitely want it! And with Mother’s Day coming up, there are so many ways to give yourself the self-care you need, want, and absolutely deserve. Go on, treat yourself.
Self-Care Ideas: Take Care of Yourself
- Start journaling. There are so many kinds to choose from—ones with prompts, ones with sketching, ones that inspire, and the good old blank ones. Get some fun, colorful pens; washi tape; stickers. Make sure to give yourself the time and space to journal, and make it all about you.
- Schedule uninterrupted time with a loved one you have been missing. Meet for a walk or coffee, go to dinner; if they’re far away, schedule a Skype or FaceTime session. Maintaining your connections to special people is definitely a part of your self-care.
- Get some spa time. Who would argue that a massage or a facial is not self-care? If you’re on a budget, do an at-home spa session while your spouse and kids are out for a few hours.
- Help someone in need—it actually makes people happy to do so! Get a cartful of groceries for your local food bank. Help an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Serve food at a nearby shelter. Giving back is a boost for you and those you help; an altruistic win-win.
- Download some self-care apps. I don’t mean Instagram or Buzzfeed. Headspace and Calm are excellent for meditations, breathing exercises, and reducing stress and anxiety. Happify helps manage negative thoughts with games and activities. Moment, ironically, tracks your phone usage and will coach you on how to reduce screen time. Or get a gratitude app, because there is always something to be grateful for.
- Go to lunch alone at a cool, new restaurant. Yes, alone! Bring something to read or your journal, and pop in your earbuds once the food has arrived. Indulge with a fancy cocktail or a glass of bubbly. Look up once in a while and enjoy your surroundings—the people, the ambience, and the view, if there is one. Take in the grace of solitude.
- Tired of your usual beauty routines? Treat yourself to a makeover and some new skincare and cosmetics. If there is a brand you like and trust, make an appointment at their counter, or hit up a shop like Sephora. Yes, you CAN (and should) get rid of that drawerful of old makeup!
- Green thumbs up! Head over to a lovely garden shop such as Molbak’s, and pick up supplies for a container garden. Succulents, flowers, cacti, or herbs—so sweet and gratifying to watch nature’s beauty take hold.
- Watch some TED Talks on the importance of self-care. Probably best if you’re not distracted by kids or work, and if you are in a space to really absorb and be present. Again, make it about you—shoo everyone out of the house, pour yourself a glass, and get comfy on the couch.
- Play tourist for a day in your own city. Find a local attraction you either haven’t been to in eons or have been wanting to see. So many options here: a hiking trail, a museum, a conservatory, a farmer’s market, a shopping district…the sky’s the limit.
Self-Care Isn’t Just for Mother’s Day
And now, for the gift that keeps on giving: go through your calendar and schedule regular self-care time. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or more; for a few hours or an entire day—enter these in your calendar like you would any other necessary appointments, like the dentist. Because self-care is necessary, and we have all earned it.