When I was a young mom, self-care was the last thing on my mind, and the last thing I thought I could fit into my life. Now that I’m a mom of more self-sufficient kids, I understand the importance of self-care, but I also realize that back then I was actually doing one of the best methods of self-care there is without even realizing it!
I definitely want to share this awesome self-care method with you, but first let’s look at self-care a little more.
What Self-Care Is and Is Not
Moira Lawler from Everyday Health states it well: “Let’s clear up one common misconception from the get-go: Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.”
I feel that phrase bears repeating for some of us: Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish.
Self-care includes things like getting enough sleep and eating good food that fuels your body, but it’s a lot more than that, too. For an introvert like me, self-care is spending time alone with myself or spending time with cherished friends or family. For an extrovert, self-care might look like a night out on the town with friends or attending/throwing a party.
So think more about what self-care looks like for you than what it looks like for someone else.
Here are a few lovely self-care ideas (although, I admit, I’m saving the best idea for last). From “take a mental health day” to “watch the sun set,” you’re likely to find at least one idea you love in the 51 self-care ideas listed here. I have personally taken a lot of self-care ideas from the hygge tradition, and I love it.
Lawler’s article refers to several studies which show that consistent self-care leads to many broad benefits, such as better health—both physical and mental—including reduced stress, development of coping skills, ability to combat burnout, improved immune system, increased productivity, and higher self-esteem.
Jane Stark at Botanica Health lists five wonderful benefits of self-care: slowing down makes you more productive; self-care boosts your immune system, improves your self-compassion, helps you find out who you really are, and empowers you to give more to others (not less).
How to Make the Time for Self-Care
While “manicure” and “read a book” often come up as self-care suggestions, it can be difficult for young moms and other busy women to find the time for things like this. The good news is that self-care is whatever you want it to be. It can take as little or as much time as you want it to. I have a friend whose self-care practice includes buying herself fresh flowers once a week to keep on her bedside table.
So, before I share my best self-care suggestion, I want to share with you a few ideas for making time—and even thinking about time differently. These are some of my favorite suggestions!
• “Time Flies, But You’re The Pilot”
• Are You too Busy to be Productive? (I love the challenge Bree suggested!)
• Wish you “had time?” Here’s how to make it.
• Time-Saver Hack: Use Your Phone as a Phone
The Best Self-Care You’ve Never Thought Of
Now that we’ve got all the business out of the way, let’s look at the best self-care method you’ve never even thought of. I love it because it involves something you already have (and it’s something you already love, too). I’ve called this best self-care method “the best kind of retail therapy,” and it’s definitely true. (In fact, you can jump over to that article to see for yourself.)
You may be completely surprised that the best method of self-care you’ve probably never even thought of is: your own pictures.
I don’t mean the pictures that are in a big jumble on your phone that you can’t find or keep track of, I mean pictures that you take time to give meaning to, like this:
Pictures are much more powerful than we give them credit for! Remember that list of benefits of self-care? It turns out, taking time to sit down and preserve your pictures does many of the same things:
• creates connections
• raises self-esteem
• increases a sense of belonging
• has a grounding, centering effect
• reduces stress
• improves memory
• creates perspective and power
• contributes to healing from grief
• increases happiness
• increases relaxation
• (and, my personal favorite: has been shown in studies to make you feel happier than chocolate!)
(There are many references and sources from which I compiled that list of benefits—most of them can be found at this link.)
What I love most about preserving my photos and memories as self-care is that it is not only so good for me, but good for my family, too, since they get to enjoy the by-product of my self-care for years and years to come.
My Go-To Self Care
When my kiddos were little, my “me-time” was getting together with a friend to work on scrapbooks while our kids played. It entailed hauling little carts of pictures and scrapbooking material, but we’d do it for several hours a few days in a row, so we banged out page after page, got some “Mommy Time,” and had play dates at the same time. It was perfect.
I didn’t realize until years later that it was self-care.
In fact, it inspired me to write my first ebook, The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness (which you can read free at that link). It’s about a 40-minute read—and perfect for “me time.”
Nowadays, those kiddos have grown and my friend and I live in different states. I do my photo-storybooking (a.k.a. scrapbooking) mostly on my own using just my laptop and a digital scrapbooking and professional publishing company I’m completely in love with, Heritage Makers – YPhoto. And sometimes I Zoom with my friend while I’m working!
- Consider what will benefit you the most in terms of self-care.
- Consider what you can do to make time for it. (Although we certainly benefit from slowing down and having non-kid time, remember that I used “me time” and “play dates” and “work on scrapbooks” in combination! There are many options for making time.)
- Be your own best friend on this and don’t let yourself down.
It’s the best method of self-care you’ll ever think of.
Create your own heirloom-quality photo-storybooks at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise.
by Jennifer Wise for OneStopForMom.com
***The opinions expressed in this blog are that of the guest bloggers’. They do not reflect the opinion of the advertisers on the site. To find our more about Heritage Makers click HERE