Updated: Sep 15
In case you missed it, this is a 5-part series for September.
Topic 1 - Simplified Surroundings
Topic 2 - Simplified Food
Today's Topic - Simplified Self-Care
Geez, can I tell you that when I started preparing this resource I was really bombarded with so many different ideas around self-care.
Many suggested different types of self-care similar to this image.
Can I be honest? When I look at this, I get overwhelmed. This is a lot of things and truthfully, it makes me feel like a failure and stressed out. It's a lot! (But perhaps it's a great image to generate ideas, too! Putting on my positive pants.)
What I've been doing lately is thinking about self-care as NEEDS vs. WANTS. What do I truly NEED to take care of myself?
With social media, we see a lot of WANTS dangling in front of our faces and we start to forget that just because we aren't getting an hour to go to the spa this week or enjoying a vacation away, we can still take care of ourselves well.
I reference Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs when I get overwhelmed about self-care (same when I'm thinking about parenting):
This is what has started to take priority in my day: healthy food, plenty of water, rest/sleep, movement, good hygiene + 15 minutes a day for me.
Would I like or Do I want more than this? Well, yeah! But I'm choosing to be realistic here… in the middle of a pandemic with less resources available. What do I NEED to take care of myself?
I've found with myself, and others I've talked to, that you are likely struggling with self-care if you struggle with boundaries or communication. Here is a phrase I have been using in many areas of my life: “Right now, I am ___ because ___.”
To Charlotte when she wants me to play in the morning: “Right now, I am eating breakfast because my belly was hungry. I can play when I am finished.”
To my husband when he gets home from work: “Right now, I am going for a walk, because I need a break. I'll be home in an hour.”
What is Self-Care? From my Community...
"Right now it includes getting a shower or going for a walk. I used to think mani/pedi/massage"
"Self care is essential to show up in the world for others, knowing & loving yourself deeper."
"Self care isn't always gamourous. Sometimes it's a nap."
"It doesn't have to be complicated or cost money."
"Prep your coffee pot the night before and wake up to fresh coffee"
Here are 3 things I need you to know going into this week:
Taking care of yourself includes believing these points first and foremost!
3 Steps to Simplified Self-Care
(1) Stop. Stop expecting so much and stop sabotaging any self-care you are getting because it's not social media worthy.
For example: don't discount the 30 minutes you spent watching a TV show after your kid went to sleep. Those 30 minutes were time for you, even if it wasn't a mani/pedi at the salon.
Moms especially, we have to reframe this season of life. While it does feel a little unfair that we can't do everything we used to, we STILL need to acknowledge what we ARE getting, even if it feels like a bare minimum (more on that to come).
(2) Identify your 3-5 basic non-negotiables.
These much be incorporated no matter what, potentially at the sacrifice of upsetting someone.
For example: I always do my skincare routine in the morning, even if C is upset while I'm doing it. Especially with kids, when it becomes a routine, they learn to expect it, especially if you set a firm boundary. The first couple days may include some protesting (crying, whining, hanging) but stick with it, mama!
So what are your non-negotiables? I mentioned some of mine above, when I am getting those in, I know I am taking care of myself and can show up as a better version of me. What do you NEED to have happen?
(3) Make a list of 3-5 “nice-to-have” self-care activities.
Now that you have your needs, what are you wants? Once you have a list, put them in your schedule and if you are married or have a significant other, discuss these with them. Communicate what you need this month and make a plan to make that happen.
Listen, I'm not a planner (which seems shocking to most, I know). But I have learned that if it's not on everyone's radar it continues to get pushed aside and I continue to hold resentment, so it is something that needs to be scheduled in this season, and I'm ok with that if that means it happens!
And this goes both ways - don't forget to include their self-care needs/wants on the schedule, too!
Spaces to declutter in this "self-care area" revolve around 3-4 main areas:
bathroom, makeup/skincare, closets, bedroom
I am certainly not an expert here, especially in the clothing department… but what I can tell you is that having LESS in these areas has significantly lighted the mental load and makes it really easy for me to take care of myself in these ways because it's not overwhelming.
And here's my favorite part - there's not too much in the bathroom that feels overly sentimental. To me, the bathrooms are always the easiest areas to declutter and honestly the place I start if I am feeling overwhelmed and need a pick-me-up.
Bathroom + Personal Care Products:
No, you do not need 8 shampoo and conditioner options, 14 types of nail polish, 5 hairbrushes, and makeup from high school. Pick your favorites, toss or donate the rest. And if it's over a year old, get rid of it!
This is an area that Beautycounter truly transformed my life. I was never, NEVER, a simplified personal care product woman. I had a million options and makeup in my college bag I bought in middle school.
Once I had Charlotte in 2017, I was struggling to take any time for myself. PPA (postpartum anxiety) crippled me and every time I walked by a mirror I would cringe and be reminded how I was barely surviving.
The Flawless in Five makeup bundle became “me time” and honestly revived my self-care practices in that season of life.
I also love having 4 steps for a skincare routine with little extra treatments to round out my daily self-care practices.
I've been trying to migrate to a “capsule wardrobe" for legitimately years. It's not easy, but I probably go through my closet once a quarter and donate more each time. Have I worn this lately? Is this really my style? If the answers are no, it has to go!
Side note: I also purged all my underwear, socks, and bras a couple years ago and bought nearly all the same style/type on sale and it has made life SO much simpler! Highly recommend. I've recently done this with my “plain Ts.” My summer mom wardrobe was a pair of jean shorts (I love pockets) + a plain T. Since I got rid of most I don't love to wear, I just open the drawer and go!
Clear off the nightstands and clutter around the room. It's so lovely to wake up to just see one book and a picture next to me.
Next up: September 22nd
Simplified: Mental Health
Other Posts in the Series: