Let’s face it. Momming is hard work. When you look at all the other daily duties you’re required to do such as keeping your home tidy, working all week, feeding your family, entertaining the young ones, managing the finances, settling arguments, and cramming in a couple hours of shut eye, there’s absolutely zero time left to focus on yourself.
However, the fastest way to dysphoric mood and serious burnout is to neglect yourself. Self care is absolutely vital for your emotional and physical well being. What’s more, when you let life get in the way of your ability to care for yourself, you also teach your children to ignore their own sense of well being in favor of everything else. I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing I want to teach my child.
So, to practice what I preach, I am initiating a 30 day self care challenge. First, however, I’d like to thank The Mom Blog WI for her nomination to do this challenge. It was such a wonderful idea of hers and came at a perfect time in my own life as I’ve really been struggling to find balance between being a mother, wife, and full time provider without losing all my sanity.
If you haven’t already, stop by her blog and check out The Mom Blog WI’s self care challenge. She has many fabulous posts about motherhood aside from the self care challenge. Definitely worth your time! You can also follow her on twitter: @TheMomBlogWI.
Self Care Challenge
Day 1: Stretch for at least 20 minutes before work
I am relatively flexible for my age and build and I absolutely love how stretching makes me feel. However, in the mix of everything that’s always going on in life, it is something that often gets put on the back burner.
Day 2: Wake up 15 minutes early
Now that I’m a mom, I am often running late and scrambling to get to work on time. Nothing makes me more stressed out than being behind the time. I have strong feelings about punctuality and I hate wasting other people’s time because I can’t get it together.
Day 3: Go to bed 1 hour early
Bean goes to bed at 8pm and that often means I have a couple hours to cram in more things to do before bedtime. Before I know it, it’s 11 pm and I’m counting the hours I have left to sleep, praying to every deity I know that Bean doesn’t wake up in in the middle of the night. It’s a horrible habit and needs to stop, like yesterday.
Besides, how in the hell would I manage to get up 15 minutes early if I don’t go to bed earlier? I’m already a walking zombie.
Day 4: Get a pedicure
So, this one is kind of a cheater one for me as I always make time for this each month. I LOVE getting a pedicure as it ensure my toes are always pretty. That means a lot for someone with questionable looking feet. Since I’m terrible at painting them myself, I hire someone else to do it monthly. Lucky me, it comes with a nice calf and foot massage. If I could afford it, I’d get one every week.
Day 5: Take Bean to the park
I’ve been trying to do this on weekends as of late. Each morning Lino takes Bean to the park while I commute to work. While this bonding time is absolutely important (and so freaking cute), it makes Momma jealous. So, I’ve been joining them on weekends.
This is a fun activity for Bean and such a mental reset for me. He gets to explore, run around, feed ducks, and play on the park equipment. I get to let go and let him lead the way, while also snapping tons of cute photos. I get to stop thinking about work, bills, worries, and heartache, and get to focus on just that moment. It’s a total mental reset.
Day 6: Spend at least 1 hour after work on blogging
This is something I need to implement immediately as I am known to be a master procrastinator at times. If I can dedicate at least 1 hour after work to my blogging/webpage maintenance, I will have more time to spend with family on the weekend.
Day 7: Take a nap
I hardly ever take a nap. Even after I had Bean, I rarely “slept when he slept.” When you do find me napping, it’s seriously because I’ve depleted my entire battery and can no longer function or I’m sick.
So, instead of waiting to hit rock bottom, I will put myself first and take a nap during one of Bean’s naptimes.
Day 8: Drive to work in silence
Normally I commute to work 1 hour each way. During that time, I am either on the phone trying to solve some issue (or talking to Lino), or I am listening to a podcast/news/etc. Very rarely do I have total silence, but man is is glorious sometimes.
Day 9: Read to Bean
This is something Bean normally does with his father when I am at work. However, I often feel like I miss out on so many important things with Bean that I want to do this on every day off I have this month. Not only is it enriching for Bean, but it’s really fun for me to sit with him and see him learn and explore books and reading.
Day 10: Watch a movie with the family
Most days I get a 3 hour timespan to see Bean before bedtime. In that time, we eat dinner, bathe, do our bedtime routine, and before you know it, it’s time for bed. Yet, sometimes it’s alright to break the routines and let your hair down. So, one night this month (okay, maybe more than one) I will let Bean stay up a bit past his bedtime and we can all cuddle on the couch with a good movie until we fall asleep.
Day 11: Play a game with Lino
It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of day to day life that sometimes we forget to give a little extra to our spouses. Before Bean was born, Lino and I would randomly play a game here and there. It was a really fun way for us to let loose and connect without being too serious. Totally going to hop back on this train this month.
Day 12: Take a bath
Who doesn’t love a good hot bath? So relaxing.
Day 13: Get a haircut
So you know the cliche mom image of yoga pants and messy top knot? That’s me pretty much everyday that I don’t have to work. Seriously, who has time for makeup, hair, and fashionable clothing? I’m doing good if the top knot got a good brushing before I tied it all up.
Needless to say, it’s been a while since Momma got a trim or color. In fact, I’ve pretty much given up on getting color anymore. Gray hair all the way. However, I need a serious trim. The split ends are becoming unmanageable.
Day 14: Go for a drive
Nothing sounds more relaxing right now that a good beverage and nice car ride through the scenery.
Day 15: Share an ice cream with Bean
We don’t do lots of sugary treats around our house, but every once in a while I splurge on low carb ice cream. Spending a little mom and son time having a nice bowl of ice cream is where it’s at!
Day 16: Rock Bean to sleep
Every night Bean and I rock in the glider before bedtime. I spend 15-20 minutes rocking and singing to him while he gets sleepy. Then I put him in his bed, he rolls about a bit to get comfortable, and closes his little eyes to sleep. It’s adorable.
Yet, I find myself missing the early days where I held him while he slept. Just once this month I’m going to make a point to rock extra long so I get to snuggle with my cutie while he’s off in dreamland. Besides, watching him sleep reminds me of how little he still is.
Day 17: Have a Starbucks
Ever since I went Keto, Starbucks and I have been distant. Since I can no longer get my old standby (non keto approved) I’ve shunned Starbucks like an ex lover. However, they still have some great tasting black, green, and white teas and I’m always up for a nice cup of tea.
Day 18: No electronics
This one is going to be super hard for me, I think. Ever since cell phones became necessity to function in today’s society, I’ve never had a free hand. I think it would be good for me to take a day off from it and see how I fare. Not only will I get to have so much more time to be present with my family, I can also leave every other problem behind for a brief time. I guess we will see how it goes.
Day 19: Take 10 minutes to be mindful
Sometimes I need to reset and gather my thoughts. So often I live on autopilot that I stop thinking about how I’m doing both physically and mentally. So, I’m going to take 10 minutes and do a self inventory/check in just to see how I’m really feeling. This will help me focus on my needs and remove all other outside obligations for a moment.
Day 20: Complete a photo page for each week of the month
One of the things I started doing after Bean was born was take a crap ton of photos. I think lots of new parents go through this phase, yes? I’m not alone in this, right?
Anyway, prior to his birth I had maybe 10-15 pictures of events or things in the last several years. We just aren’t a picture taking kind of couple. So, I vowed to make use of all those pictures I now have of Bean and our family, instead of letting them sit on a cloud server doing nothing.
Now, each week on Sunday, I spend a few minutes going through my photos of the week and select a handful of my favorites. I then put them in a scrapbooking app that designs a page for me. This works out well since I’m not a crafty type. It does all the hard work for me with layouts and whatnot. Then I write a little paragraph about the week.
At the end of the year I have a whole photo album of our family adventures through the year. I print it up and have it shipped to me. The best part is that all my favorite photos are in it and can be viewed all together in a slim, well designed book. It’s also a huge space saver as the photos are printed directly on the page instead of glued to the pages. (It’s crazy how fast a traditional photo album gets bulky).
Day 21: Visit my mother
I’m fortunate enough to live near my family and get to see them often. It’s nice to spend some time with my mom each week. Plus, it’s good for Bean to be around other family often.
Day 22: Be a TV veggie
Sometimes I just want to zone out and be a vegetable in front of the television. Watching mindless TV often distracts my mind from daily stressors and is nice once in a while. In fact, we don’t even have cable or satellite as we don’t watch a lot of television as it is. So, having a veg night on the TV sounds absolutely fab this month.
Day 23: Spend a day outdoors
One day on a weekend this month I’m going to spend a day out with the family. I’m not sure where we will go yet, but I want to spend a day trip just having fun outside with the boys.
Day 24: Take the dogs for a walk
Since Bean was born, my fur babies don’t get nearly as much attention from me as they used to.
Day 25: Sensory play with Bean
There are tons of sensory activities on Pinterest for newborns and toddlers. I should know, I’ve pinned them all. Spending some time getting messy and watching Bean have a blast is so much fun for me. It’s also really good for his cognitive and motor development.
Day 26: Have a meaningful conversation with Lino
There’s nothing that brings spouses closer together than communication. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and reflect on life, the future, ideas, dreams, and hopes with one another.
If you’ve got a minute, I have some excellent tips on how improve your communication skills here.
Day 27: Sleep in
This one is really hard as anyone with kids knows. In fact, is there any such toddler that isn’t an early riser? Bean wakes up promptly between 5 and 5:30 am every. single. day. Lucky for me, Lino and I give each other a break on the weekends. One day I sleep in while he gets up with the boy and the then we swap the next day.
Day 28: Schedule that appointment already
This month I will finally schedule that doctor’s appointment I’ve been meaning to get around to. These types of activities always get pushed in the background because 1) who the heck likes going to the doctor anyway, 2) it seems like I never have time to fight with the insurance and schedulers which inevitably always happens, and 3) I never remember until it’s too late or they’re closed for the weekend (like those prescription sunglasses I ordered from the eye doctor that have been waiting for me to pick up for over 3 weeks now).
Day 29: Play a video game
Back before children Lino and I were avid gamers. I know it’s totally nerdy, but I’m perfectly okay with that. We had long weekends of just vegging out in the front of a screen munching on junk food and wasting the hours away with each other and a controller.
Since Bean was born, I’ve mostly stayed away from the consoles. Every now and then I’ll pop open a game on my phone, but I miss the good ol’ days of spending 200+ hours on my favorite RPG. It’s my way of getting away from reality for a bit (besides reading).
Day 30: Go on a fast
I’m really big into eating windows. By that, I mean I normally skip breakfast and only eat food from the hours of 12 – 6 pm. There’s a whole lot of reasons why I do this that I’m not prepared to discuss in this post, but suffice to say it’s good for me both mentally and physically.
Well, this month I’d like to try a full day or more fast. Ideally, I’d love to do a 3 day fast, but I’m planning on starting out with a goal of 1 day and seeing how far I can go. Also, I’ve never fasted before, so I’m a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. Choosing a 1 day goal seems less scary than going straight for a 3 day goal.
There it is! 30 days of self care, specially tunes to fit my needs and bring me back from the edge of burnout. Feel free to take some of my ideas for yourself and make your own 30 day self care challenge.
Thanks again to The Mom Blog WI for her challenge and nomination! The timing couldn’t have been better. However, for my nominations I am branching out to include more than Mom’s. I feel that everyone, no matter their path in life, could stand to devote some time to self care.
Here are my nominations for the 30 day self care challenge. They all have awesome blogs, so it you haven’t already checked them out, you should!
Blog / Twitter
I challenge you all to develop a 30 day self care plan and 5 nominees of your own. Make sure you link to your nominee’s twitter profiles and blogs. Good luck and I wish you all a well rested, stress free month!