Self Care: Why you need to look after yourself


"Self Care" is a phrase we hear a lot online these days and everyone has their own idea of what that means and how to implement it in their own daily life. Personally, in the past I haven't dedicated enough time to it - there's always something else to be done and someone else to be taken care of. But I got some very sound advice recently to start valuing myself more - and we all know the old saying "happy Mum = happy kids" so that's one of my goals for 2019 for sure!

The dictionary according to Google defines Self Care as follows:

"The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress".

For  you and I, that could mean entirely different things, so I'll start with what that means to me, especially now as a busy Mum of 2 with a lot of other things going on as well!

Taking care of my skin.



It's all too quick and easy to reach for a facewipe to clean your face at the ridiculous time of the morning that babies wake up or at the end of the day when you really just want to crawl into bed and grab a bit of rest before the next night feed. And yes, face wipes are seen as the root of all evil these days but to be honest if you really are in a heap it's better than nothing. However, they most definitely should not be a part of a daily skincare regime and if I'm being brutally honest, I was heading that way! But I'm making a conscious effort to get back to my proper cleanse, tone, eye cream, serum and moisturise routine and although my skin hasn't seen the effects of that fully yet, psychologically I find it really calming to remove the traces of the day or wake myself up for the day ahead with a proper skincare routine. 

Taking that a step further, as I don't have a massive amount of spare time, the best I can manage for a facial most of the time - aside from my recent treat at Crumlin College of Beauty - is an at-home sheet mask. I'm making a conscious effort, one evening a week, after the smallies are in bed, to take half an hour even to start the skincare routine early and pop on a sheet mask.

Sheet masks are a lifesaver for busy Mums and anyone who's short on time. Most of them only need a few minutes to do their magic and most don't need rinsing off either which saves a few minutes there too! 

Using up the "good stuff".


Is it just an Irish thing that we inherit from our Mammies or is it the same everywhere? Keeping clothes, shoes, makeup, beauty products or even candles for "good use"? Well ladies, here's something groundbreaking. You deserve to use the good stuff. Don't let it gather dust in your wardrobe or on your bathroom shelf. If it makes you feel that little bit more human on the school run or able to handle that office meeting a bit better, then use or wear it. If it helps to unwind after a rubbish day, burn that posh candle. Most products only have a certain shelf life once opened anyway - which you can read more about here. I've even started doing the same with my baby girl - there's no point in keeping those pretty little clothes in her wardrobe for special days (within reason, of course) when babies grow so incredibly fast and before long you find clothes that don't fit that they never even got to wear once! I know she hasn't a notion of what's going on and she couldn't care less but it's no harm to start training them early, right?

Taking time out for yourself.


Ah, yes, this old golden nugget. Most likely invented by someone who didn't have smallies going around their house like miniature Tazmanian Devils and keeping you awake at night. But I'm not talking about swanning off for a day to the spa or whatever - though if you can do it, then do! - I'm talking about even an 30 minutes to an hour a day where you can just "be". If you work full-time, then that time could be your lunch hour. Get up from that desk, get off Facebook and pick up a book that you've really wanted to read or pop some earphones on with your favourite music and get outside for some fresh air. In my pre- Mammy life, I was a big bookworm and went through at least one book a week. However these days, my "to-be-read" stack is gathering dust so I'm going to try and even manage a chapter a day if I can..

Or if it's more your thing, treat yourself to a nice lunch that someone else has made and that you can eat without anyone looking for your attention. For me, basic as it sounds, currently that means picking up a takeaway coffee after dropping Little Man to school, while Little Miss naps in the buggy, and maybe even having a few minutes to catch up on a few of my favourite blogs or read a few pages of a magazine. The coffee of course helps give me a kick but that few minutes really helps to calm me down before the daily routine starts again..

Don't be afraid to say no.

                                      

Another gem that we've all heard before but it's so incredibly true. All women, but especially Mammies, are too hard on themselves. In a work environment, we feel bad for saying no when asked to help with a task if we don't have the time to fit it in. Yet it's more than okay to say no if you wouldn't be able to do it to the best of your ability and give it the time and attention it deserves due to an already mountainous workload. And you're no less of an employee than workaholic Mary if you can't stay late in the evenings because you've to pick up little Johnny from after-school care. In fact, it should show your employer that you have incredible time management skills. When you can organise yourself, and kids, and get everyone out their door and to their destination on time, and still be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at your desk on time, that shows discipline and efficiency in my opinion. And if you can be happy with the amount of tasks you have achieved in your working day and how you solved whatever problems you came up against, then there is no reason to feel inferior for not burning the midnight oil at your desk when everyone else has gone home. 

On a personal level, I say no at home usually in response to demands for tv or chocolate!- but I do still put pressure on myself to try and keep the house in some sort of order (or at least less chaos). At the end of the day though, my children won't remember that their washing was always done or that the kitchen was always clean. They'll remember the snuggles on the couch, the games of snakes and ladders and the hot chocolate and story time before bed. So for their sake, and for mine too, I'm going to start saying no to that voice in my head that says "but all this needs to be done" and just "be" - even just for a few minutes each day. 

For me, that's about as far as I'm able to apply the concept of Self Care in my life right now, but to you that may mean different things entirely! I'd love to know your thoughts so please do share in the comments below?

Bye for now,


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