It took effort and intentionality, but I am finally able to work self-care into my regular routine. It took me awhile to recognize the benefits of self-care, even without children running about this lady needs time to unwind and chill out. Making a home isn’t easy, and I’m certainly not sitting around watching crummy daytime television. The dogs, chickens, garden all need daily attention. Cooking most of our meals from scratch is something I truly enjoy, but that means ample amounts of time in the kitchen, on my feet, using my hands.
Sometimes I feel like keeping up with this website is a full-time job. And then there’s my humble online shop. Because I’ve chosen to reduce our toxic load I make most of our daily products: cleaning solutions, hand soap, lotion, deodorant, laundry detergent.
Then there’s the regular stuff of life: car maintenance, yard upkeep, appointments, grocery shopping.
So you see, homemaking can be a full-time job. It’s one that I’ve truly enjoyed and have been blessed to pursue, but it finally hit me: the importance of taking a break. Relaxing. Unwinding. Detoxing.
My original goal was to have a weekly bath, you know, maybe a Wednesday Wine and Unwind Soaker. I’ll admit, some weeks come and go without this special treat but most weeks it does happen.
How to Make Self-Care a Regular Thing
Your self-care will look different than mine, maybe you need a girl’s night out every week. Or a kid-free shopping day. Whatever you need to de-stress and unwind, using these tips can help make it a regular part of your life.
Ask for Help
I know we’re all Super Woman/Mom but we still can’t manage everything while still maintaining ourselves. Kids, even from young ages, are capable of helping around the house. Find ways to get them involved so your daily load is lightened. Ask your spouse to pitch in more. As long as you’re willing to take some things over so he too can have respite. Take turns watching each other’s children with a friend or neighbor. A few hours one afternoon or evening a week might be all you need. All of these are small asks, so don’t feel bad.
Let Something Go
While I do believe in the power of delegation and asking for help even when you don’t think you need it, sometimes we need to let something go. Something I read recently hit me hard: Every time you say yes to something, you’re in effect saying no to something else.
Now of course you can take that in literal terms: Since I signed up for the 10am Bible study, I can’t do the 10:30 PTA anymore. That’s obvious. But when I signed up for the PTA I said no to a quiet morning at home. No to a relaxing lunch at home. Saying yes, even to things that are good and fun and necessary, requires a no somewhere else.
So if you’re stressed to the max, maybe it’s time to drop something for awhile. Eliminate social media usage that’s taking up more time than you care to admit. Get takeout once every few weeks. Drop one of the kid’s activities.
Make Lists / Plan Ahead
I am not a fly by the seat of your pants type of gal. I can do it, and my husband will tell you that a literally last-minute camping trip while we were dating that I agreed to sealed the deal for him, but it’s not my natural way of handling things. I’ve created a Weekly Cleaning Schedule that takes the guess-work out of what I need to do around the house. Weekly meal planning saves my rear end when it’s 5 and I hadn’t put two seconds’ thought toward dinner.
Each morning I try to start my day by making a daily to-do list, keeping an eye on what I’d like to get done for the week as a whole. With tools like these in place, I’m not spending precious minutes trying to keep the entire house clean. I don’t have to run to the store for the cabbage that I need to complete a meal. Am I perfect at keeping these helpful things implemented? No, but it certainly brings structure to my days and weeks.
Because our default is to take care of everyone and everything else first, scheduling self-care might be necessary at least in the beginning (or always). Sometimes intentions, as good as they are, fall by the wayside because, well, life. If you’re implementing some of the other suggestions I’ve shared, then putting necessary self-care activities on the calendar should come easy.
You’ve already asked your husband to take care of the house or kids this Wednesday, now schedule your massage. You left the PTA, now take a nap or read a book. The routines that you need in place to feel like you again deserve thoughtfulness and a place on your calendar. Otherwise it might not happen, and we’re stuck in the same ‘ol place.
Because I have a hard time quieting my mind, even when I’m relaxing, sometimes I take the newspaper or a book in the tub with me. There’s almost always a glass of red wine and some soothing music too. But one thing that always happens is this Detoxing and Relaxing Bath Salt. I forgo the bubbles with questionable ingredients and instead created this bath salt mixture with purpose: detoxification and relaxation. Everything serves a purpose.
DIY Bath Salts for Detoxing and Relaxing
3 cups Epsom Salt — Magnesium rich which makes it great for relaxing muscles and tension, and great for detoxing
1/3 cup Bentonite Clay — Another aid in detoxing, and healing to the body
1/4 cup Baking Soda — Increases absorption of minerals
1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil — Great for soothing/healing skin
20-30 drops Lavender Essential Oil — Helps calm and relax tension, great to use right before bed to encourage a restful night’s sleep
20-25 drops Frankincense Essential Oil — Great for skin, help calm and relax
(Ask me about the therapeutic grade essential oils I use.)
Bonus: 2 tablespoons Ginger Root Powder — Aids in respiratory function and helps soothe aching body (perfect addition when you’re sick, or anytime)
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Mix well. Store in airtight container and keep next to bathtub. Use 1/4 to a 1/2 cup each time.