This past week, I read an entire book, mostly in one day. Not a children's book, but a 300+ page fiction novel. This is quite the achievement for my new mom status. Finishing that book did not come without guilt. The dishwasher really needed to be unloaded, the dog walked, notes needed to be put together from my 8 showings earlier in the week, and there was an email from my broker I needed to follow up on. Truly, the list goes on and on, so why not pause, decide what can wait (I mean, the baby has to be fed), and take some time for yourself? Below are some ideas on how to concentrate on your self care for the New Year.
If you're reading this post to be encouraged to get your nails or hair done, get a massage or head to a yoga class, go for it, but the suggestions below are a little more outside of the box. I'm sure someday in the next couple of years, I'll have a few hours to spend at Earthling Day Spa and it will be fabulous.
If you live in the Lowcountry, you have access to some of the country's best county parks and beaches. On the days I only have 30 minutes to spare, I tend to take a stroll around our neighborhood. It's the ultimate mood changer and especially rewarding now that my husband and I both have a FitBit (thanks, Santa). Our dog doesn't mind it and it's a major calming resource for the baby. Recently, I discovered a hiking group called Hike It Baby and once my little is old enough, I'd really like to try out Loblolly Adventures.
LISTEN TO PODCASTS
For the busiest of people, a podcast is always a good idea. We're all in the car on and off throughout the week, so why not use that time to listen to a 30 minute segment on your hobby or lose your mind in fiction? Serial was a big hit a couple of years ago, but I've been sucked into Limetown, Presidential, TED Radio Hour, and Love + Radio. The lists for good podcasts go on and on. The library also has free downloadable audiobooks through the Overdrive and Hoopla.
GO TO THE LIBRARY
Speaking of books; When is the last time you went into a library and got lost for a while? One of my favorite activities is to walk to the New Book section in my local library branch and leave with a few, free to check out, non-fiction books to leave laying around the house. Do I really need to own The Tao of Bill Murray? Probably not, but it is fun to pick up and read a few lines when I have a moment or two to spare. Commit to spending 20 minutes walking around the library (apply for your library card online). It's mind-opening. If you're lucky, the bread making book you bring home for your husband might turn into his newest hobby that will keep an endless supply of baked goods in your home.
DISCOVER NEW FOOD
Which leads us to cooking. Full disclaimer; Cooking is not my thing. Sure, I can bake a pre-made mix with the best of them and my mom's recipe for potato salad is a real winner, but it's not something that calms me. That being said, eating good food does heal me. Some days good food is comfort food and others it's a big, fresh plate of veggies, but either way, staying nourished is a good way to care for yourself. The library has an endless selection of cookbooks and our favorite time-sucker, Pinterest, still has all those recipes you saved back in 2013. We're lucky to live in a place that supports many farmer's markets and farms. Buy a veggie you've never cooked with before (watermelon radishes, anyone?) or stop at the farm stand you've been passing for years.
SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN
Rest doesn't come as easy for me as sleep. The day before I went into labor was spent at a nearly two hour yoga class after cleaning up one of my listing's back yards from Hurricane Matthew. These days, when my son goes to sleep, the electronic devices and lights get turned off and I commit to getting in as many hours of sleep in as I can. All these phone and computer items I've suggested above? Well, there's a time to stop. Tonight, pay attention to how long you spend doing unnecessary phone scrolling instead of sleeping. If there's anything motherhood has taught me in these first couple of months, it's that I can be incredibly unpleasant without sleep. Need something to keep you focused on cutting screen time? Try the app Moment.
BE YOUR BEST SELF/MOM
Since both becoming moms this year, Angela and I have both discovered a few resources to help along the way. Local entrepreneur (and friend), Gervase Kolmos, runs Shiny Happy Human, an online and in-person resource to moms. The Facebook group makes me laugh on a daily basis and helps me feel sane in this motherhood ride that somedays threatens to steal every brain cell I've worked so hard to cultivate. Posts on MotherMag and PopSugar Moms also help to relinquish some of the squishy brain functions. Alone time is absolutely necessary, so why not check out a morning program once or twice a week for those kiddos that aren't in school yet?
What are some of your favorite things to do to encourage self-care?
Wishing you great health and happiness in 2017!