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self care II

I’ve noticed this thing happening lately. It’s not a new thing – it’s an old thing I just got *very* aware of. Women, especially moms, set goals about self care (get a massage, get in 4 workouts a week, join a book club) and then we don’t follow through. We let life get in the way and we push back our appointments with ourselves to give that time to someone else.

WHAT?!

And, WHY?!

And, let’s STOP.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list, not the bottom. I know it’s easier said than done. I think the reason we struggle with this is our approach. We see self care as just *one more darn commitment*. We have soooo many commitments already, do we really need to add more?!?

Yes.

Before we go any further, let’s just clarify about this “self care” thing… Self care might make you think about things like brushing our teeth and getting a pap smear, right? So, let’s go bigger and better and call it what it is – self care should really be about Radical Self Love. Radical Self Love is how you treat yourself on the regs – not just a massage every 6 weeks (or every 6 months…)

Radical Self Love can come in the form of a formal scheduled event or it can be 100% spontaneous. Both are important.

Scheduling Radical Self Love can be stressful – I get it. Does this sound familiar… You book date night with the hubs. You get a sitter on board. You make dinner for the kid(s). You make sure the fridge is stocked for the sitter. You get all ready to go out (take off yoga pants, put on jeans, maybe a necklace, perhaps a dab of mascara – and you feel like you’ve just gotten ready for prom…) By the time the sitter arrives, you’re exhausted and ready to put on pajamas. Tell me I’m not alone here.

But, out you go and once you have a drink in your hand, you exhale, and you are so glad to be OUT and OFF DUTY. These kinds of scheduled events of RSL are really important – even though they take planning and perseverance sometimes.

Spontaneous Radical Self Love is just as important. Stopping yourself in the middle of a cranky morning to “reset” with a walk, a coffee, a workout, a last minute foot massage, or 12 minutes in the bathroom alone while the kids watch a Daniel Tiger (yes, 12 minutes. Can you tell we are DT fans around here?!)

Both types of RSL are significant if you are a care taker for anyone else (partner, friend, parents, children, colleagues – we all take care of *someone*)

self care

Here are 61 way to take better care of YOU.

And then things get REAL (see 62-68).

NOTE: Some of these may not interest you at all (gardening?!) Take what you want and leave the rest for someone else. Or *try* out a new means of RSL to see if maybe you really do enjoy it (I tried gardening. I promise I don’t enjoy it.)

1. Gratitude practice – spend a couple minutes each evening writing down 3 things you’re grateful for. Keep it as simple as you wish.
2. Alone time – schedule 5-30 minutes by yourself to do whatever you want
3. Shopping – for fun, not groceries
4. Writing/journaling – this can be a daily thing or just a couple times a week. It doesn’t have to be a formal habit.
5. Sewing/knitting/handwork
6. Art/crafts – make time to follow your Pinterest passions
7. Long baths/showers – without kids in the bathroom
8. TV – give yourself permission to veg out and watch something that you really enjoy, whether it’s educational or just entertaining
9. Schedule a Girls Night Out
10. Schedule a Date Night
11. Book a weekend away – with a friend, partner or alone
12. Spend a weekend home alone – send your family away to a relatives or on a daddy camping trip, even for just one night so you can enjoy being home alone
13. Early morning workout – get up before your family for those precious silent moments to sweat alone
14. Working out with a friend – this is great for accountability, but also for some socializing. If possible, grab coffee after
15. Brunch out – this can be a family affair, or not… It should include a mimosa ☺
16. Surfing the internet without looking at email/anything work related – give youself permission to just chill out for a specified amount of time (or shop!)
17. Take a break from grocery shopping/cooking – order food delivered to your house (Amazon Fresh is great for this) or use a full meal delivery service in your area
18. Go for a walk – alone, with no destination in mind
19. Get out of the office once at least once day – schedule an errand or a walk to get out and move a bit
20. Practice guided meditationHere’s a great video to help you get started
21. Extra ZZZs – Sleep in at a little later than normal once a week
22. Go to bed early – even if the laundry and dishes aren’t done
23. Schedule in person conversation time (girlfriend time) instead of texting/emailing
24. Set aside time for meal planning to reduce anxiety (NOT for “dieting”)
25. Exercise to reduce stress/anxiety – NOT to burn calories
26. Sit in the sun
27. Watch a TED talk (Sara’s Picks: The Most Popular TED Talks)
28. Read for fun – (Sara’s Picks: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs)
29. Read for personal development (Sara’s Pick: The Slight Edge)
30. Walk to do a chore/errand (to the store, bank, post office, etc) Wait, does anyone still go to the post office? Or the bank?
31. Block your schedule – schedule a little chink of Me Time into every day.
32. Listen to a podcast (Sara’s Picks: the FHM postcast, duh! OR 21 Podcasts for Every Personality). This can be done while doing a task or walking or doing nothing at all
33. Take a drive by yourself – I do this on the weekend while running errands kid-free
34. Play a mindless game – Crossword puzzles/Sudoku/Candy Crush
35. Watch a movie
36. Get a massage
37. Get a foot massage – find a foot massage place that does hour long foot massages. You will thank me.
38. Get a mani/pedi
39. Practice 4/7/8 breathing for sleep or relaxation (Here’s how it works!)
40. Get a haircut/style/color/blowout
41. Watch a few cat videos/YouTube
42. Garden – this is not my gig, but I’m told it’s very therapeutic
43. Buy new workout clothes (Sara’s Pick: Athleta)
44. Buy new workout shoes (Sara’s Pick: Brooks)
45. Download new workout music (Sara’s pick: Bootie Mashups)
46. Find a new recipe to cook/bake (Sara’s Picks: Real Healthy Recipes, Skinny Taste, Ambitious Kitchen)
47. Schedule your Target/Costco trip on a weekday instead of the weekend with the masses
48. Sit and enjoy a relaxed coffee/tea/smoothie in peace – not rushed – before the kids get up or during naptime, between meetings
49. Get acupuncture (it can be more relaxing than massage!)
50. Have an all day PJ day – you’re not allowed to get dressed
51. Cancel something – allow yourself to back out of something that doesn’t serve your current goals
52. Say no to a request – allow yourself to say NO to something that isn’t relevant to your current goals
53. Leave an event early – allow yourself to “make an appearance” without giving away an entire afternoon or evening
54. Wine – drink some
55. Organize something (drawer/desk/closet) that will bring you more ease in your daily routines
56. Play an instrument – even if you’re horrible, practicing music can be really therapeutic and relaxing
57. Practice unscheduling – go through your schedule and cut out as many unnecessary events/meetings as possible
58. Do karaoke – this can be as simple as singing in the car at the top of your lungs. Dancing optional.
59. Buy yourself flowers – regularly
60. Let yourself sit and daydream
61. Sweat it out in a hot tub/steam room/sauna

These are all great, right? Little (and big) things you can do for YOU to improve the quality of your life. But, let’s dig a little deaper. Because this is where the journey truly begins.

Radical Self Love means you make a conscious effort to love yourself. You aren’t worried about being vain or selfish, because you can’t be effectively selfless unless you are a little bit selfish. It’s true.

Selfishness gets a bad wrap. You see, every time you take a “selfish” moment for yourself, you are better able to serve someone else moments later. Try it and see. Every time I press pause to take care of me, I’m a better mom, wife, friend, boss ALL. DAY. LONG. There’s nothing selfish about that.

If you’re having a hard time making time for you, you have to take a serious look at how you are or are NOT practicing Radical Self Love. So, may I present you 62-68…

I promise, you’ll have no trouble creating time for 1-62 if you practice 62-68. You’ll so clearly see the value in YOU, that you won’t have any guilt in putting yourself before others.

62. Stop comparing yourself to other

63. Remove all negative influences from your social media feeds (yes, family included)

64. Every time you look in the mirror, give yourself at least 3 compliments and no put downs

65. When someone compliments you, say “Thank you” and nothing else to negate their statement

66. End toxic relationships (yep, family, friends, and professional ones – I know, HARD stuff. But necessary)

67. When you hear your internal dialogue becoming critical and self judgmental, STOP and turn it into something positive immediately

68. In every situation find something to be joyful about and something to be thankful for

Where will you start? What is the next thing you will do (TODAY) to practice Radical Self Love? Comment below and let me know.

love yourself

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