What does self-care mean to you?
For some people, self-care is a good bubble bath paired with a decent pinot noir. For others, it’s treating yourself to a pampering session like getting a professional massage, a facial, or having your nails done.
The truth is, there isn’t one definition that encompasses what self-care is. There’s no perfect or correct way to do it. For me, self-care involves the decisions that I make to take care of myself; intentional choices focused on meeting my mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social needs.
As a single mom to a lovely ten-year-old girl, personal chef, and business owner, I’ve found that self-care can quickly end up on the bottom of my to-do list. I'm sure we all have our own version of busy life circumstances. But when we allow those to get in the way of self-care, we can get stressed out and overwhelmed. This makes it tougher to be an empathetic and patient parent, and we don't want that!
That’s why I do my best to live a balanced life through purposeful choices that feed my body, mind, soul. And that means prioritizing self-care. If you’re having a hard time knowing where to start, here are some simple self-care ideas and activities you can begin with.
Self-Care With Kids During The Summer
If you have young kids, it may be hard to find time without them, especially when they’re on their school summer break. Since they’re often close by you, you might as well include them in a self-care routine that allows them to join in. It's a great way to spend time together, plus it allows you to show your kids that you matter too.
Here are some activities that I do with Anya:
1. Take walks together
Research from the University of Michigan found that spending time outside can help improve your memory and attention span. A quick walk in the park or a hike on a trail can help you feel rested and relaxed.
2. Water fun
Who doesn’t love a chance to splash around on a hot summer day? Get squirt guns or turn on the sprinklers and have some fun chasing each other around. Take a dip in a pool or local stream (if the water quality is safe).
3. Kid-friendly stretches
Stretches are not just good for mom. They’re good for your little one too. Very Well Family has an excellent guide for fun and simple stretches that can be done with kids.
Playing games with your kids is a great way to exercise. Whether it’s badminton, frisbee, playing tag, bike riding, dancing, or flying kites, pick a game that you enjoy and include your kids. It’s fun for everyone, and you have the added bonus of burning some calories. Win-win!
Self-Care For Moms
While I enjoy doing self-care activities with Anya, I do need some time that is just for me, especially in the summer when she’s home all day. So I also try to carve out time for some solo self-care.
I’ve found that getting up early in the morning allows me to have some time to myself. For someone else, it may be after your kid takes a nap or they're tucked in for the night. Find what works for you.
I like to get my body moving during my early morning solo time because it gives me a great start to my day. Whether it's morning or other times of the day, here are simple exercises that you can do.
1. Jumping on a mini-trampoline
A study carried out by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that bouncing on a mini trampoline for less than 20 minutes is just as good as running but feels better. Plus, it’s a lot more fun. So get jumping!
2. Exercise bike
Riding my stationary exercise bike is an excellent way to get my heart pumping while strengthening my muscles. According to an article in Healthline, using a stationary exercise bike is an excellent aerobic workout.
I love my sun salutations. Just 15 minutes of yoga a day can alter your brain chemistry and boost your mood. Studies have shown that yoga can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which can improve your overall health.
4. Dancing and Playing Music
Dancing is a great way to make your body and mind feel good. Have a dance party by yourself. It doesn’t have to end there. Turn on some music and get to shimmying while you’re in the kitchen or doing housework. It’s a simple thing that can go a long way toward boosting your mood.
5. Meditation moments
This is not just something that I do in the morning but also throughout the day. I take deep breaths through the nose and exhale fully through the mouth. I find that this is a great way to release tension.
The unique things you do to help you maintain your personal, physical, spiritual, and relational wellness are entirely up to you. What’s important is learning what habits, routines, and actions help you to relax and unwind most effectively.
Remember that the basic components of self-care are a healthy diet, enough hours of sleep, and regular exercise. By creating a self-care routine with your kids, you are helping them explore it in a safe place, which will help them as they grow older.
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