Mother’s Day has come and gone. I hope you were celebrated! I hope you were showered with love! I traveled seven hours to surprise my mother for Mother’s Day. Their security camera almost blew my cover. It’s a good thing that I’m constantly changing my hair, lol! Anyway, we had a blast. We talked, laughed, watched movies, spent time in her garden, and ate until she called a timeout. LOL! We had such a good time. Here’s the thing about special days. They come and go. Mother’s Day has come and gone.
Now, this isn’t just about mothers this is about how do we as women make time for ourselves when there isn’t a “special day”? How do we make ourselves a priority? I want to paint a picture that we all are very familiar with. So, my mother and I talk about the importance of taking care of ourselves at least once a week. Now, you’re probably thinking, she’s the one encouraging me but it’s often the other way around. My mother has made a life of being there for others. I admire her for who she is, who she is in my life and in the life of so many. For as long as I can remember she’s been taking care of someone. It really is what so many of us do.
It really is what so many of us do.
As women, we’re all in when it comes to caring for others. It goes without saying, doing so can become a barrier to taking care of ourselves. Sometimes it’s by choice, sometimes it’s not, it can be circumstantial, or it can be cultural. Either way, caregiving is often the reason why women seldomly or never engaged in activities to improve their mental health because they’re just too busy caring for others. As women, we wear many hats and as a mother, I know the challenge firsthand, and the truth is mothers are struggling the most. Most mothers are exhausted and overwhelmed until one more thing like self-care sounds foolish and just doesn’t seem worth it.
Just doesn’t seem worth it. If you think about it our beliefs around caregiving and self-care were shaped by the messages, we saw and heard from others growing up. What if we redefined self-care? What if we reimaged self-care? No really, what if we all agreed that it is worth it. What a difference it would make if we gave ourselves permission to start the caregiving journey with ourselves. Even Jesus practiced self-care. Jesus made the time to getaway. One time, He took to the mountains, prayed, got re-energized, and when returned he walked on water. I’m just saying. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is rest.
Your journey to improving your mental health doesn’t have to be costly. Just like the journey to self-care doesn’t have to be costly either. You can do small things every day to improve your mood and enhance your capacity to reflect on your path forward. You’re not tired for no reason, listen to your body.
There are plenty of ways to give yourself some special treatment without worrying about your budget.
In fact, I challenge you to start planning on doing something special for yourself regularly. We often make completing tasks a priority, it’s also important to take a break and recharge yourself. You’re worth it, and self-care is worth it!
Call your favorite person. We’re connected to our cellphones so let’s use the phone to your advantage. Texting has its place but there’s nothing like a voice on the other end. Pick up the phone and call someone you’d love to talk to. They’re probably dying to hear from you.
Give yourself a manicure. When the pandemic hit, we all became very resourceful. I pulled out my manicure kit and went to work. So go for it. Put on a movie, play music, or listen to a podcast, and give yourself a manicure that will surprise you and make your friends jealous.
Watch your favorite TV show. Watching your favorite TV program can be both relaxing and fun. You’ve already paid the bill for your favorite streaming service anyway. You might as well get your money’s worth.
Take a hot or warm bath. A hot bath for no reason at all is the best kind. Hello! I’m such a fan. My grandmother was all about the hot baths with Epsom salt. Growing up, I didn’t get it but as an adult, I’m all about it. You see, a warm bath is linked to decreases in stress hormones and more balanced serotonin levels, which help regulate mood. Get clean and get regulated!
Go to the bookstore. Now that we’re getting out and reconnecting in our communities. Check out a bookstore. It’s free to walk around the bookstore and check out the books. Grab a cup of coffee, and find a place to sit and read.
Take a walk. Walking is free, and it is good exercise too. Walk around your neighborhood. Walk at the park. Walk at the beach. Walk alone or take a friend. Just walk and enjoy being outside.
Dabble in making your favorite snack or dessert. I’ve had to make some changes to my diet, so I love creating healthy snacks and desserts, especially desserts. Think outside the box and whip up your favorite dessert and treat yourself.
Create. Immersing yourself in creating something is good for the mind, body, and soul! You don’t need paints or expensive art equipment. Just use materials that you find around the house. Write a song, a poem, a book, the list is endless.
Listen to your favorite song. Nowadays any song can be found online somewhere for free. YouTube is a jewel when it comes to listening to music. Sit back, relax, and listen to your favorite album.
Explore local attractions. The park, museum, art galleries, monuments, and other local attractions are often free if you go on the right day. It’s not always necessary to travel to another city to see interesting things. I’m constantly learning about new attractions to explore in my city.
Take a nap. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults ages 26 to 64 should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, while those ages 65 and older should get seven to eight hours nightly. Who is to say you have to get it all in at once? There will be times when life doesn’t allow you to sleep for seven hours all at once, so take a nap. Treat yourself to a great nap. Give yourself some extra time. You deserve it.
Self-care can look like a lot of things.
Use this list as a springboard to think of more ways you can be good to yourself each day. The best self-care routines are purposeful, productive, and planned out. Make a long list and pull it out each day. Plan on treating yourself at least a few times each week. You know that you deserve it.