I don’t know about you, but there are days I feel like my self-care is sandwiched between work, making lunches, school projects, homework, grocery shopping, making dinner, doing dishes, and carpool. Even though I rise before the rest of my household to get in my daily meditation and a bit of journaling, self- care is about more than just that. I like my days to be full of it! For me, self-care includes things like:
Self-care doesn’t just happen! It must be scheduled just like a work commitment or activity for my kids. That’s right, I tell clients to schedule their self-care like it was an appointment for their kids, because we would never cancel those! Every once in a while I suggest giving yourself a self-care boost where you’re not rushed and you aren’t squeezing it in.
I’m talking about a mini silent retreat. An at-home mini silent retreat isn’t fancy and doesn’t cost a dime, but it will do wonders for your sense of inner peace. This is a few hours (approximately 3) that are all yours. Nobody calling your name or asking you for anything. This is just for you. Imagine not returning any calls, not running any errands, and instead spending time rejuvenating yourself.
I remember once when my kids were smaller, my husband asked me, “How many times a day do you think you hear the word ‘Mom?’” I replied something like, “Too many to count, in fact I don’t think some of them register.” When they stop registering, it is a sign that you need to go within and have some quiet time alone.
It could be that a personal day from work is what it takes to make this happen, or if you are a stay-at-home mom you can block off a morning or afternoon. Another option is to take one day on the weekend and divide it up with your partner. You each get 3 hours to yourself.
Here is a sample schedule of a mini silent retreat from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.:
11:00-11:30 am: Meditation (match your inhale and exhale by silently counting to 3 as you breathe in, and 3 as you breathe out)
11:30 am-12:15 pm: Mindfully prepare and eat lunch.
12:15-12:45 pm: Take a slow, mindful walk outside, using all your senses.
12:45-1:15 pm: Meditate (count your breaths in-silently think 1, out-2, in-3, out-4… up to 10 and then start over).
1:15-1:30 pm: Journal or do a bit of spiritual reading.
1:30-2:00 pm: Gratitude or Loving Kindness Meditation
Sounds like complete heaven to me! Remember, better you = better mom. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for everyone you love. Self-care is never selfish. In fact, it makes you a better wife, mom, employee or employer, volunteer, friend, daughter, sister, and everything in between. It’s like what those brilliant flight attendants say on every airplane, “Be sure to put your own oxygen mask on before those that you are caring for.”
Give yourself the gift of a few hours instead of rushing through your self-care routines every once in a while. How often you commit to this extended practice is up to you, but I encourage you to block time off on your calendar, whether it is once a month, once a quarter, or once a year. Really allow yourself to feel recharged and re-energized before you feel burnout as a mom. You deserve it.