“Me-Time? What’s that?
I know many moms share this exact sentiment that once plagued me day in and day out of the mom hustle.
I also know how difficult it is to find time to take care of yourself. I have 5 boys and for years, I could not even go the washroom without children banging on the door and hanging off of me.
I. Was. Going. Insane.
Enter burnout episode #6,741 of spring 2018. I thought I had lost my mind, and realized that I had to make big changes NOW. I needed time to myself, time to breathe, time to recuperate. Time to BE! So, in the spirit of regaining my sanity, I made the decision to make selfcare a mandatory part of my schedule. Every. Single. Day.
Yes, other things had to slide. But in return, I am happier now than I have been in over a decade, and I’ve become a whole lot more efficient and energetic.
Here are 5 changes I made that allowed me to find time for self-care:
1. Choose Sleep Over All Else:
- Sleep is the Ultimate Form of Self-Care
- Getting more sleep has made the biggest difference in my life.
Staying up past midnight for some me-time is self-sabotaging, no matter how tempting.
It was excruciatingly hard to me to give up my nightly ‘me-time’ routine, but the results have been well worth it 1000x over. Proper sleep will give you much more energy and a better ability to enjoy the moment. No more going through the motions like a zombie, praying for the day to end.
Initially, I was so sleep deprived that sleeping 8 hours a night was not enough and often broken by crying kids. So, I also chose to take short naps whenever possible to reduce my sleep debt. Even when it meant leaving the kitchen a mess or giving the kids bananas sandwiches for dinner.
Because I learned the hard way over the years that chores are not more important than your health.
2. Learn to Live with a Reasonably Clean Home vs. a Spotless House:
- I am intentionally choosing LIFE over OBJECTS.
The vacuum can wait and the clothes in the hamper will not run away. I promise. In fact, there will be even more the next time you check.
I cut my chores by 50%. The results? Most people didn’t notice or care. That extra time that was once spent in various crucial nonessential errands is now sprinkled throughout my day acting as buffers that allow time to breathe and save me from complete overwhelm.
Most people didn’t notice or care, but there will likely be naysayers who ask (or complain) about the unswept floors. Proceed to number three.
3. Stand up for Yourself:
- Nobody knows what you go through on a daily basis except for you.
As a people pleaser, this was EXTREMELY hard for me, and I still struggle with it Because I don’t work at a 9-5 corporate office job, people assume that I am less busy than they are. Even though they know I have 5 kids and a business. I’ve had to contend with snarky comments such as:
“But you don’t actually work”, or
“You’re home all day, why don’t you have time to do (insert task here)?”
I would get enraged but then realized it was my own fault to a point. I was saying yes to everyone, based on some ridiculous notion that caring for my family was somehow less important? That because I am self-employed my deadlines were less important?
I had set the tone to let people walk all over me because I never voiced my feelings. I let society dictate me into believing that I HAD to do it all.
4. Say No and Simplify your Schedule:
- Our kids do not need to be in 4 different extra-curricular activities.
- Our families need healthy, not elaborate meals.
Who says you can’t have omelettes for dinner? My kids have often eaten oatmeal and fruits for dinner, and so far, so good.
5. Declutter Your Environment:
- 3 toys instead of 300 means only 3 toys to put away vs. 300.
- 10 outfits instead of 100 leads to a whole lot less laundry and headaches in the morning.
Less really is more. Why? Because less stuff = more time!
There’s just one caveat: You may have to spend a little extra time with this at first. Just tackle the elephant one bit at a time, and in no time, you will be reaping the rewards of less.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Self-care is not a one-time deal. It is something you must focus on every single day or else you will end up overwhelmed, in need of a total overhaul. Like an engine, if you do not perform regular maintenance, your body, mind and soul will burn out.
The good news is that with small consistent steps towards self-care, the darkness will lift.
You will finally be able to find love and enjoyment in life’s everyday moments.
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