Self-care. It’s a hot topic. When you Google it, you get results ranging from Forbes.com to Oprah. And this month I’ll be discussing how I take care of myself. As a wife, mother, writer, entrepreneur, volunteer, Christian, citizen, homeowner, pet owner, life coach and friend, I have a lot on my plate. And taking care of myself is key to being able to fulfill all those roles.
I don’t indulge myself for the sake of indulgence.
I’m not taking naps because I’m lazy. If I take a nap, it’s because my body is telling me that I need some sleep. Now sure, the ability to take a nap whenever I need it is a luxury. But that doesn’t mean a nap is a pointless indulgence. Sleep is a huge part of health.
Doing things that feel good isn’t selfish indulgence. Sleeping 8 hours a night is necessary to health. Eating fresh ripe fruit instead of chips is indulgent AND healthy. Wearing expensive comfortable (rather than cheap and painful) shoes keeps my feet happy and enables me to end the day pain free.
I don’t avoid unpleasant self-care tasks
Ah yes, this is the doctor conversation. Have you had your teeth cleaned in the last year? What about a pap smear? When your chiropractor or massage therapist gives you exercises, do you do them? Are you still fighting your January cold but refusing to make a doctor’s appointment? What about your emotional health? Are you putting off the hard conversation? Are you avoiding someone because you have unfinished business? These unpleasant tasks are another essential element of self-care: They may be uncomfortable at the time but in the long run, they are well worth the short-term discomfort.
I don’t spend a lot of money.
We are surrounded by sensual pleasures that can be enjoyed for free! Warm sunshine, cool breezes, the sound of rain on your roof, the smell of flowers, the embrace of a loved one. I get it – I’m a busy mom. I don’t have time to take off 8 hours to go to a spa, no matter how much I want to. But I do have time to take a 30 minute bath and paint my toenails in the tub. I do have time to smell my iris when I go outside to check the mail. I can almost always entice my daughter to give me an extended hug. Even in the morning when chaos reigns, I can take 5 seconds to inhale the fragrant steam from my mug of tea. By taking a little time to appreciate the sensual pleasures that life freely offers us, we take care of our souls without spending a dime.