These days, I’m really starting to focus my attention on my own self-care. I am learning more and more that I need to take care of myself to be a good mother and partner, and I’m searching for new ways to improve my daily balance of caring for my physical and emotional state. I know it’s not hard to imagine why this is important – those moments of self-care reinvigorate my spirit. They refresh my sense of accomplishment. They let me step back and reflect on what’s going on around me right now, before I dive back in.
But it certainly is not easy. Finding a sustainable way to accomplish everything seems nearly impossible. I dream of the day I can fit in daily exercise, meditation, eating well, having a clean house, running errands, getting enough sleep every night, spending quality time with loved ones, etc… the list goes on. But I worry that in time, it just becomes another checklist, and I know that by accomplishing all of these things on the daily is not sustainable over the long-term. I want to find joy in accomplishing each task, and also live my life.
Is that too much to ask?
I know I have to make time for what is important. This may look different for you than it does for me, and it may change from day-to-day. This is what I truly think is the secret to finding balance; finding time for what is important today. I’ve starting living with a new mantra that really speaks to me –
Embrace the wild.
Embrace the wildness of day to day life, the unexpected, the emotions, the best intentions, the previously laid plans, the bad weather, the ride that is parenthood.
This is how it’s working for me:
In regards to exercise, yoga was always a go-to for me; it was a big part of my life before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and even after. But now that my son is a toddler, I have really struggled for months to try to find a way to incorporate my yoga practice into my daily life. I started looking for toddler classes near me, with no success. I tried waiting for nap time, and found that I was too distracted to get other things done instead and that yoga became less of a priority at that time of day, and in the end that time just didn’t work for me. For a while, I started to practice in the evenings, but found my energy was mostly depleted and my practice wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. I don’t know why, but it took me a long time to realize I could just go ahead and include my son in my own personal practice at home.
Sometimes that yoga practice involves rolling out the mat in the living room after breakfast and dealing with a toddler running laps around me. Sometimes it involves playing peekaboo while in downward dog. Sometimes it involves jumping off my mat and chasing a toddler who just found a sharpie, popped the lid off and ran (True story). That playfulness reminds me that I can still find time for my practice, even though it looks very different now than it once did. Embrace the wild.
My mental health also needs a break during the day too. Sometimes I take a bubble bath during nap time. It’s a quiet, peaceful way to enjoy some downtime and reflect on the day thus far, as well as figure out what I want to accomplish before the end of the day. Many times, I make some tea or reheat my morning coffee. No shame in drinking tea in the bath, right? Now, this may still mean a top knot and no makeup for the rest of day, but I’m learning to accept the more natural state of my under-eye circles and these long unruly curls. Embrace the wild.
Nutrition is also important for self-care, and ensuring I have healthy meals for my family to eat can sometimes add to my daily stress. Sometimes I leave the meal planning to a recipe kit delivery service. Sometimes I do my grocery shopping online, schedule a pickup for the next day, and let someone else doing the shopping for me. If it takes one (or some) of the pressure off ensuring I have healthy meals for my family so that I can be more present in the moment, then I will happily make that choice. It’s certainly not a frequent thing, but in those weeks where life just seems to get very busy, it’s one less thing to stress about. Embrace the wild.
I still have a lot to figure out when it comes to balancing everything, and I’m starting to set new goals in self-care, but this mantra seems to be working for me lately, and I hope you’ll remember it as well. I’d love to hear if you have any tips on how to fit everything into your day and how you ensure to make time for yourself, too – let me know in the comments below!