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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My top 10 Ways to Love on Yourself!

I've been seeing a trend in the blogosphere. Many posts I've read lately reveal that moms are in need of a break! We have to take time for ourselves, Ladies! Even if it's only for an hour. Or heck! I'll take 15 minutes if it's going to be something quiet!

I think "mommy guilt" takes over, and we forget we need to refuel. Perhaps we're on a tight budget? Maybe your husbands schedule doesn't allow for much freedom for you? Whatever the reasons for not taking care of ourselves, we all have them. But, how can we fight through the impossible and still leave room for us?

So, this is my list of my top ten ways to get some "Me Time". Although I love a trip to the spa and long days sitting in the sun with girlfriends, those days are not a realistic option for me at this stage in life. I need things that are tangible everyday, short in length of time, and don't cost a fortune. I think we tend to stock up our break time and save it for planned events that only come around once in a blue moon. What are we supposed to do to keep our sanity in the day-to-day routine? Before we know it, we're blowing up over the smallest thing.

These ideas may not be the most glamorous of choices, but they are simple recipes for stress relief.

1. Me and My Jesus.
If I don't my quiet prayer time at the start of my day, it's a guarantee things are going to be messed up! This doesn't have to look any particular way. Some days it's simply submitting to Him in the morning when I get out of bed. Some days it really is me behind a closed door, or writing in my prayer journal. There's something spectacularly different about a day that starts with Jesus.

2. Set my alarm to get up earlier than the kids.
Make a point to get up earlier than the kids a few times a week. Set the alarm, make a cup of coffee, and go sit on the patio for a 1/2 hour. Bring the baby monitor if needed. Just take in some peace and quiet and fresh air. It's a sure thing the birds will be chirping. When you sit outside and listen to the world around you, it gives you a sense of how small we really are. Your biggest problem is not too big for our Great God. That's what a fresh morning cup of coffee on the porch gives me. Perspective.

3. Eat a good breakfast
Ok, you would have to actually make this. So, it's not exactly that relaxing. But, hear me out. Sometimes when we make ourselves something healthy and delicious, you feel good about eating it, and good about yourself. There are often days I forget to eat! much less, make myself something nice. We cook for our family all day, all week, all the time. Why not make something special for us? Start the day with some fresh fruit or an omelet. Yum! Something you wouldn't normally eat. Love on your body first thing. We need endurance to get through this day, and a healthy breakfast is a simple and realistic step to relieve stress throughout the rest of the day.

4. Regular Exercise
Ok, some of you may be cursing me right about now. So far, I've had you get up early, cook breakfast, and now exercise?! I know, I know. However, these are things that really do relieve stress and add up to me being able to make through the day. If I don't do the things on my list thus far, I'm stressed by 10:00AM. Heck, I just got stressed making breakfast for my son. Every task here requires thirty-five extra steps because of his Asperger's. I feel like I'm working overtime. I've got to get my exercise. I run like Forrest on an elliptical! I plug in my ipod, get going, and sweat! That's what makes me feel good! I've finally gotten to a point in my life where I'm not doing this to look better, I'm doing it to feel better. I'm not checking the scale or worrying about my calories, I'm simply running my butt off! And ya know what? I think I might be starting to look better by accident. I don't have to leave the house, I can go out in the garage and run at anytime. It's realistic. It works.

5. Read a good book.
Not a book about SPD, or Asperger's. Not a book about how to be the best wife and mom in the world, not a book about anything except something fiction, unimportant, and enjoyable. A real book! A novel you can get lost in for 15 minutes here and there. I love a good Bible study or anything that helps me learn about my son's difficulties. But, I enjoy escaping in a novel too!

6. A nice warm bath.
Ahhh....Get some cheap bath salts or bath bubbles with aromatherapy. I love chamomile and lavender. When hubby gets home get in and stay there for a while! I don't make a habit of throwing the kids at my husband when he gets home. I usually make a point NOT to do this. But, some days I know he's getting home earlier than usual, and I make dinner ahead of time for him, feed kids before he gets home, and arrange this bath appointment with myself ahead of time. Sounds crazy I need to make an appointment with myself, but you gotta do what you've gotta do to get some peace and quiet. These days, It's all about keeping my sanity. A bath helps.

7. Have a designated lazy day each week.
Pick a day of the week that you plan on doing absolutely nothing! I mean nothing. No errands, no shopping, no post office. This is the day you lay around in PJs, play with the kids, or let them play and do their own thing while you work on that novel. It's summer. It's ok to be lazy! Make sure you choose a day each week. Mark it on the calendar. Involve the kids. Make it fun! Watch movies all day. Designate the "Lazy Day"!

8. Take a walk...alone.
Remember that bath appointment? Well, do the same thing for a walk. Set aside an evening that hubby knows you need to leave the cave. A walk is free, relaxing, and nobody calls your name. Thirty minutes alone goes a long way. Enough said.

9. Find a hobby or special interest.
Sometimes we need to do something that's selfish. An activity you do for you! We need a reason to leave the house. It can be anything! Look up your local community calendar online. You'd be surprised what you can find that's low cost or even free. Check your local library, community center, or county leisure activities. Many associations offer classes on photography, pottery, scrapbooking, and so on. Get out. Meet people. finding a special interest doesn't have to break the bank. Maybe you can even find something that offers childcare? That way hubby doesn't have to be involved.

10. Schedule time with IRL friends.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned those special days that only come around once in a blue moon. Maybe a couple times a year. Well, even though we can't do them all the time, we still need them! No, you can't run off for the weekend every weekend, but you could at least once or twice a year! Schedule it! Save for it! Having something special planned with good friends gives us something to look forward to. I have plans in the next few weeks to simply spend the afternoon with some old friends. We're going to lunch, shopping, maybe a movie. Just a day with the girls. I'm totally looking forward to it!

What do you do to keep a clear head during the week?


At May 31, 2011 at 9:20 AM , Blogger Shell said...

My workout time is my me time! And sometimes, that is my motivation to go to the gym- knowing that I can have that kid-free time!

At May 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM , Blogger Losing Brownies said...

Reading a book is one of my favorite ways to take time for myself. I use to devour a book in a days time, but now it takes me a few weeks. Its a nice get away from the day to day.

At May 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM , Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

I need to get to the Y more. Right now my me time is blogging during naptime.

At May 31, 2011 at 3:56 PM , Blogger Sara said...

I think that these are all great stress reducers, for moms and non-moms!!

I read in the bathtub. Even my library books!! It's a great combination of two relaxing activities :-)

At May 31, 2011 at 4:01 PM , Blogger Megan said...

Good for you for writing this, and sharing it with all of us!

I have been debating about setting my alarm and getting up before the kiddos, but so far, sleep has won out. lol!

Have YOU read any good books lately??

At June 1, 2011 at 9:51 AM , Blogger Kim said...

This is a great list. I too take a few minutes to pray in the morning before even speaking to anyone. I find that I do this several times a day. I go back to work Monday and am planning to use my lunches to walk as exercise.

At June 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Angie said...

I love taking a couple minutes to read a book - even if it is just 5 min here and there.

At June 2, 2011 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Di said...

I've started taking time for myself and it has made me so much happier. I'm reading again, I let myself sleep in a little instead of doing chores in the morning. All little things but a huge difference in my sanity!


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