Three Word Wednesday: Importance of Self-Care

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Okay, so it's not EXACTLY three words but I'm going with it. 

As a mom I find it so easy to put my needs on the back burner. These five little beings I am responsible for have needs that are often more important or at least more pressing. They can't make their own food so I need to be in the kitchen cooking. They need clean clothes so I need to make sure the loads are going (or remind the big boys to start/flip/remove/sort). The little boys need diaper changes, or be taken to the potty (yeah, that's happening!). They need, need, need, and want, want, want.

But what about this tired and worn out mom? What do I want and need?

A good portion of the household duties fall to me because I'm home. Micah is an immense help on his days off and I'm pretty sure I would have gone off the deep end long ago trying to keep up with everything by myself. I'm forever amazed by people who really raise kids on their own. Like straight up in awe. But those days when I'm alone with the kids for 10-12 hours? Those are all on me and I've got to find a way to get done what needs to get done, make sure the kids aren't killing each other, and maintain - at minimum - some sanity. I usually aim for happy attitude but, let's be honest, we all have a breaking point we reach at some point. 

Over the years I've discovered that self-care is the key to me keeping my sanity and even, get this, enjoying the moments in every day life! Self care will look different for everyone but the key is finding things that fill your tank and trying to do those things for even just a few moments each day. Not things that numb the experience, but things that make you feel refreshed and energized. That make you smile and ready to tackle anything. 

You know the saying. It goes something along the lines of, "You can't pour into someone else's cup if yours is empty." This is why self-care is important. You won't have anything to give someone else if you aren't taking care of your own needs!

Do you know what you feel like when you are empty? When you haven't been practicing self care? I start to feel fuzzy, over-touched, and super short tempered. Nearly everything rubs me the wrong way. I can tell myself that I'm choosing to act this way all day long but that does nothing to fix my attitude when my cup is empty. At most it adds a drop or two which gets poured out as soon as the next kid spills a drink or two of them start battling or they ask to turn on the tv for just a few more minutes. 

But when I remember to fill my own cup? When I take a few minutes to read a book, drink coffee (while it's still the intended temperature!), be crafty, chat with a friend, read my Bible, or even just stop and be still without an interruption? I feel infinitely better. Worlds different than before. I suddenly have renewed patience for the unending questions and the tasks on the to-do list. I don't count the hours (or minutes) until bedtime. I'm not itching to unload my bad day on Micah with a list of every single little thing that went wrong.

@@Self-care is one of the tools that is needed for me to see the joy in all the crazy chaos in life!@@ To really appreciate the toys dumped out again - it means they are playing together and using their imaginations. To stare down the sink full of dishes with determination not dread - it means we have food to eat and kids that have learned to clear the table. To answer emails and comments - it means you are actually reading and reacting to what I have to say. To listen another argument between kids - it means they are learning boundaries and how to work out their own problems. But without self-care, all of that would be overwhelming. 

Do you see why self-care is so important? Have you figured out how you feel when your cup is empty? What about how to fill it?

1. Make a list of your own cup fillers

Take some time, it should only take a couple minutes, to remember what you enjoy doing, what refreshes you, that you can easily fit into your day. I'm not talking about beach vacations (unless you live SUPER close and can easily manage a visit) or shopping sprees. I'm talking about the hobbies or interests you have that spark joy in your heart. I love being crafty so pulling out my crochet hooks and getting a few rows knocked out can be helpful and relaxing to me. For others this will just bring on more stress! Figure out your own cup fillers. 

2. Find time in your day or week to fit these cup fillers in

Some cup fillers only need a few minutes to make a difference. When I get to sit at my table with my morning coffee and read a devotional I feel refreshed. It only takes about five minutes but I feel ready to tackle the day with a little hot coffee (yay for intended temperature!) and a whole lot of Jesus. Other fillers might need more time like a chat with a friend. Just last week I invited two friends over while our kids were in VBS together and it was wonderful chatting together for a couple hours. My little guys were asleep and I had purposely planned my day so I wouldn't be distracted by other tasks. It filled my cup to overflowing to spend time with these ladies and the rest of the day felt so much better. 

Can you plan a play date at a park or other location with a friend if that fills you up? Can you run yourself a bubble bath after the kids go to bed one night each week? Can you schedule a monthly pedicure? Can you block out 10 minutes to spend reading while the kids are occupied or napping? Don't wish it would happen or hope it fits in but make it a point to put it on your calendar as a set date. 

3. Actually fill your cup - don't just say you will

It's far too easy for us as moms to say we are going to take some time for us but when it comes down to the moment how often do we actually choose ourselves? So rarely. We end up staying home to make it easier on the kid that doesn't want us to leave instead of going out with friends. We start filling the tub but then drain it in favor of folding laundry or washing dishes - which will still be there when you get out of the tub! Don't simply think about how awesome it would be to go to bed early, actually do it!

Make a plan and follow through. Your brain, your sanity, your husband, and your children will thank you for taking care of yourself because they will be the ones feeling the effects of a significantly happier you. 

What are your favorite ways to fill your own cup? Do you practice self-care on a regular basis or are you guilty of letting it slide by until you are nearly empty? What tips do you have for finding time to practice self-care?

 



I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul.