“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority.”
For the past year or so, I have been pretty terrible at self care. The moment I had Miles, I lost myself to the role of mama. Diving in whole heartedly, head first, eyes closed- drowning. Self care went out the window the day that little man came into this world, and oh boy has it caught up with me.
I have always been a huge proponent of self care. Talking about it, telling my friends and family to do it, but never really doing it myself. The occasional bath or book, sure, but not daily routines to care for myself. In fact, my daily routines were based on deprivation and guilt.
At my worst, I would avoid getting myself food and water just so Miles wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced for even a moment. “No, no- I can’t stop to get a snack now, Miles needs me.” What Miles really needs is a happy, healthy mama that cares for herself. A mama so full of love and joy (and food and water) that she can’t help spilling out that goodness to the people around her.
Mama guilt is heavy. Heavy, and mean, and ultimately pointless. Sacrifice of the self does nothing to help others. What is left after self-deprivation and unnecessary sacrifice is mean and tired and hungry and sad and empty. Never to Miles, but to my people- to myself.
I have just started to give myself the love and care that I regularly give to others, and I have started to give the world the best of me- not just what’s left after work and being a mama.
Life will always have challenges. It will never be perfect. We can’t wait for the world to get better, for the perfect job, for more money, more time, a different life stage, or a different baby stage. All we have is today. And each day we wake up healthy is the biggest gift. Physical and mental health is everything, as long as I have it and Miles has it? I have enough to have a beautiful day.
Below are the things I have started doing daily to finally start caring for myself. I want to give the best me, not just what’s left. I hope you can find something in this list that speaks to you.
1. The Five Minute Journal. This simple, daily journal is like a toothbrush for your mind. The prompts encourage you to feel gratitude and positivity every morning and every evening. Since starting this practice, my entire mindset has shifted. No longer do I wake up thinking about how exhausted and drained I am, instead, I wake up grateful to be alive! Grateful for my warm bed, a delicious cup of coffee, my health and the health of my baby. I then close each evening reflecting on 3 beautiful things that happened that day and how I’m going to make tomorrow even better. No matter how crappy your day, there is always beauty to be found. You do not have to buy this journal to start this daily practice, click here for a video on the questions this journal contains and how to get started.
2. Meditation. I have known about the concept of meditation since birth. I was born in a Hindu ashram in Wawayanda, NY and grew up meditating with other little ones. Watching my mama chant and meditate daily. But just because you know about a concept, doesn’t mean you practice it. I am a bit notorious for taking in information. I am a voracious learner and questioner. I love to take in information at an intense pace. I love podcasts and books and personal growth and NPR- Learning is my super power. But the thing is, taking in new information without ever practicing, applying or mastering it is ultimately useless. You have to be willing to put in the day to day work of these things to see any result. I am finally focusing, and slowing down enough to master something before moving on to the next thing. I can still get excited and take in new information, but I can’t lose my daily focus in the process. I have been using the calm app daily to meditate and soothe my heart and mind. I have been going though one of the toughest things I have ever experienced recently. A huge life upset that was a result of lack of self care, and so many other things. As a result, around 3PM each day I feel myself getting sad, lonely and anxious. The moment I start to feel this way, I know it’s time to meditate. I take just 10 minutes for myself, in a quiet dark room, to meditate. Personally, I love the calm app because it has topics I can focus on, my favorite right now? Forgiveness. Forgiveness of others, and self. If you find yourself with daily highs and lows, anxiety or depression- try daily meditation. Just 5-10 minutes during your day to care for your lovely self- then repeat.
3. Outlander. My sister has been begging me to watch this show for about a year and I finally took the time to start it. To do something completely mindless and just for me. I love it so much I can’t stand it, I want to go to Scotland and live in the highlands and wear a kilt (or see the lovely male lead in a kilt-ha!). Your indulgence certainly doesn’t have to be the show Outlander, but find something lovely and freeing and mindless to completely lose yourself in- and don’t feel guilty for doing it, not even for a moment.
That’s it for now, three things I have put into practice to care for myself. Rest and self care are so important. Take it from someone who didn’t do it for so long that things broke. Don’t blame yourself or others for not doing it, just start taking the time for yourself. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.
An empty lantern provides no light.
P.S. I recognize that I live a privileged life, and if you have an electronic device and time to read this blog post, you probably do too. I acknowledge the privilege of self care, and I am going to take full advantage of this gift that I am so very grateful for.
P.P.S. You may have noticed the title of my blog has changed! BonnieRaeMoore.com