redefine self care for yourself

That time I tried self care and then redefined it for myself

Oh, self-care. Such a buzz word these days, isn’t it? I mean, I’m all for taking care of yourself — mentally, physically, emotionally . . . but shouldn’t that just be part of living, and not so much something we need to carve out time to do or something “special” we squeeze in time for? Self-care for busy moms is just one more thing we have to try to fit in.

I’ve tried the spa thing. A long-time friend and I booked a girls’ day out years ago at a reputable spa in our home-state. It was beautiful. It was serene. They gave us terrycloth robes to wear. There were cucumbers floating in water for us to drink, and fresh fruit in baskets, available for the taking. We signed in, put on our soft robes, sat down to wait for our massages, and had no idea what to do with ourselves or how to relax. So we laughed. And then I giggled through my massage, too, because it tickled, and because I could feel the therapist’s pulse in her thumb as she worked on my muscles. Then we enjoyed a nice lunch and left, and I have not been back to a spa since.

There was also that time I tried to take a nice, warm bath just to get some relaxation last winter. I even tried soothing magnesium bath flakes, which I have to say were pretty cool and worked well . . . but after a few minutes in the bath, I realized my upper body was cold and my lower body was nice and warm. That wasn’t fun. So I scooted down a bit further to get my back and shoulders in the warm water, and that’s when I realized my bath scene wasn’t like in the movies with candles and a slanted back and a tray for a book or some wine. It was cold cast iron with a straight up edge that made me have to tuck my head down into my chest to get my shoulders in the water, and, well, you get the idea. I wasn’t super-comfy. I stuck with it for a few minutes and then I got to the “now what?” phase of the bath — Ummm, do i just sit here being a little cold and a little warm and think about things? just sit here and think? What do I think about ? Think about relaxing? Is that supposed to relax me? It wasn’t working for me.

How about a pedicure? Lots of friends do that either as “me time” or girls’ day out or something like that, right? I’ve done it. It’s fun. But I have super-ticklish feet, worry about stubble when they massage my legs, and wonder what they say about my long, ugly toes when I’m gone. So . . . while I love picking out Citrus Sunshine and bright, fun colors to decorate my toes and all, it’s not quite “relaxing.”

If I’m not up for a pedicure, relaxing bath, or a random professional rubbing me, what’s a girl supposed to do to get the quintessential self-care that everyone is always hashtagging about?

I do what makes me happy. That makes me feel good. And that’s what I call self-care.

  • Going out to dinner with friends.
  • Visiting my family — in my childhood home, where I am who I am and it’s expected and familiar and good and comfortable.
  • Treating myself to a new color nail polish (ya know, so i can paint my own toenails while sitting on my bathroom floor)
  • Writing. I love to write. For the blog, or notecards to friends, or poems, or cute little rhymes, or drafts of children’s books that someday — maybe someday — I will do something with.
  • Taking a warm shower.
  • Making, and drinking, coffee. Even if I have to reheat it 14 times throughout the day.
  • Taking walks — for exercise with my walking buddies, or with my boys.
  • Exercise in general. I admit I never want to do it, but once I do, I feel so good.
  • Dancing. Preferably tap, because that sound and that rhythm can really take a hold of me and bring me to a happy place.
  • Watching a TV show. I’m approximately a decade behind in what’s new and cool, but that’s the life of a working mom with no time for TV!
  • Staying in touch with old friends. I am who I am because of them, so what better form of self care than going connecting with those who helped create your sense of self?
  • Taking pictures to help forge memories. Thousands of pictures.
  • Eating good foods. Like delicious fruit platters . . . but balanced by …
  • Chocolate. All the chocolate. Milk chocolate, that is.

All these things, even in small doses, keep me feeling whole. And for now, that’s all the self-care I need!

How do you define self-care for YOU?

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