Like most moms, my default setting is going a million miles an hour. I take on more than I probably should. I have a hard time saying "no." And this time of year seems to be the most exhausting for me because of the pressure of the holidays.
I'm in a constant battle reminding myself to take care of myself. I appreciate the Norm Kelly quote:
You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.
But really, what mom has time for self care, especially during this time of year? As if I have the money for a day at the spa or the time to spend an afternoon reading a book. It isn't going to happen.
But I do know that if I don't take care of myself, I'm going to be exhausted and over the holidays before they have even really started.
So I started to think about what I can do to take care of myself, within the time that I have and within my budget. I came up with a list and wanted to share it with you.
Here are 20 quick and simple ways to take care of YOU this holiday season -- and any time of year. Easy ways to recharge your batteries. To remind yourself what you enjoy in life. To take time to be you as a person outside of your role of parent/caretaker, employer, household manager, and whatever else takes up your time and energy:
1. Take a hot (or cold) shower.
2. Crank up the radio and jam to your favorite music while driving solo in the car.
3. Choose a book and read a chapter a day.
4. Learn a new hobby -- it doesn't have to be extravagant or all encompassing. Maybe you take a once a week class, or learn to crochet.
5. Go for a walk.
6. Revisit a hobby you once loved. You can even share it with your family sometimes!
7. Color a picture. Adult coloring books are amazing stress relievers!
8. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Use that time to relax and slowly start your day instead of rushing through the morning.
9. Go out to lunch, even if it's by yourself, and enjoy slowly eating a meal.
10. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
11. Set your phone on silent/do not disturb during certain times of the day, for example at dinner time or at bedtime.
12. Make a new playlist that you can listen to while driving, cleaning the house, etc.
13. Tell yourself 3 to 5 positive things that happened this week. Better yet, write them down.
14. Catch up with a friend over the phone -- don't talk about anything that is stressing either of you out, just enjoy conversation as friends.
15. Look up inspirational quotes and choose one to be your motto for the week or the month.
16. Enjoy a cup of coffee -- or tea -- or hot cocoa.
17. Put on a pair of fuzzy socks or fuzzy pajamas.
18. Write in a journal.
19. Give yourself grace for things that didn't get crossed off your "to do" list today.
20. Order dinner. It's OK to let a restaurant do the work for you to give yourself a break!
Sarah Boucher is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Muskegon, Mich.