I think I’ve passed the point in my life when resolutions are important. Every year I want to lose weight, eat better, sleep more, be a better person. But in the last few years, the journey has become exponentially more important than the destination: why do I want what I want, and how do I move in the right direction? With a very limited budget of time for myself, I’ve devised a few self-care hacks which I hope will serve you.
Last year about this time, rather than resolutions, I set the intentions for myself of making space, finding balance, being at peace, and following my joy. How did I do? Pretty poorly around crises and holidays, as can be expected, but the rest of the year, my system was darn good if I do say so myself. How did I do it?
Self-care Hacks for Busy Parents:
Plan your me-time
Circling back to last year’s intention of finding my joy, about halfway through the year, I asked myself, “What are the things I’d like to do on a daily basis that make me happy, complete, and fulfilled?” They’re things that make me feel like I’m taking care of myself and supporting who I want to be, and who I want to be for my family.
I made a list, and got myself a habit tracker like this one (there are a bunch of great options on Etsy or you can make your own spreadsheet). It’s a pretty simple concept. Each day, I give myself a tick mark when I do the things that are important to me, including meditating, getting some movement in during the workday, doing yoga, blogging, taking my puppy for a walk, etc. Come up with a list of things you can do that make you happy, hold yourself accountable, and make time to do them. Granted, I’m visual and OCD, but this is the single most effective tool I used this year and in a long time and it helps me keep my promises to myself.
Have a morning ritual
I get next to no time to myself, and I don’t consider myself a morning person. That said, I set my alarm clock an hour before I know everyone else will be up to do the things on my habit tracker. I’ll take the dog out, do some stretches, write, even just check my email and read the news. I like to take my time in the morning because I firmly believe that how you begin your day sets the tone for the rest of it. More on that in this interesting post from Dr. Sara Gottfried. At the very least, I program in time to hear myself think before the circus rolls in.
Bath time spa
My daughter is a little fish. In the summer, she’ll swim all day if we let her, and bathtime is by no means an expedient way to get clean. It’s about play. Splish, splash, flood the bathroom. It’s always over an hour long and that used to make me crazy because I got s*** to do…until I reframed the situation. I need to be in the room, keeping an eye on my mermaid, but that doesn’t mean I can’t luxuriate and play, as well.
Spa time for me! I brush and floss, take my time cleansing, mask with something rich like Josh Rosebrook’s Active Enzyme Exfoliator and have half an hour to play with ducks and bubbles while it works its magic, follow up with a serum, and finish with oils from Odacité.
When my mini gets out, we give her the royal treatment too, with Osmia Night body oil a.k.a. “Mama’s magic mimi oil,” and InnerSense leave-in conditioner to get the knots out. Both baby girl and I are relaxed, beautimous, and ready for mimis (read: zzzs). Take a moment for yourself, and then share it with your kids.
Make movement fun
I may be one of few people to cancel her gym membership at the turn of the new year. I wasn’t using it, I’m never excited to go, and it doesn’t hold the same allure it did for the single me. My unused membership was lingering above me like a dark cloud of guilt and sadness, so I shooshed it away. Exercise should be play and it should be repeatable (as this great post from my friend GK reminds us) – a lifestyle.
Instead, we dance, we take the puppy out, go to the park, etc. I bought a 10-class pass to a local yoga studio (cheaper per visit given how seldom I was going to the gym) and I enjoy my Yoga International online so I can take classes whenever I want, including some mom/daughter lessons. I enjoy it, I look forward to it, and there is no guilt nor shame, which, for me, makes it repeatable. Figure out what movement is accessible and makes you happy.
This isn’t really a hack, per se, but a mindset that delineates and enforces the hacks. I want to be a better blogger. I want to have an editorial calendar, and post things when I say I will – eat least once a week. As we already discussed, I want to get back to my set-point weight, eat better, sleep more, move more during working hours, and have better focus. I want to do everything on my habit tracker at least every other day.
Is all this going to happen? Fat chance, but I can move in that direction. I know my worth, accept myself, and if I flub, I’ll move on and be better tomorrow…or next week. I’ll be patient and forgive myself. Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard. We need to be nice to ourselves and to each other.
A New Year, same great us with a few hacks
Heck, I don’t want to be perfect – perfect is boring. Progress and improvement are exciting. Balance is a respectable goal. But for those of you with the will to go after resolutions – go git ’em! For the rest of us, we need to make today great, and try to do it again tomorrow and the day after. Thank you for reading – I wish you an amazing New Year and pura vida!
Have some hacks that would make my life easier? Please share in the comment box below!