Moms are marvelous jugglers. We raise families, hold full-time jobs or run our own businesses, manage our homes, volunteer, act as chauffeur to our children, are caregivers when someone is sick and, more frequently, care for aging parents. I often hear other Moms say, “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” As a mom, wife, daughter, sister and volunteer, women breathe life into so many other people and things that it’s easy to forget or ignore the fact that we ourselves need to be restored. It is clear that women have gotten the memo that YOU CAN BE ALL YOU WANT TO BE! While the empowerment is exciting, we forgot to send the addendum about how to BALANCE it all. Juggling responsibilities – all of which Moms deem important – tends to bump self-care needs to the bottom of the list. Simply put, when we constantly work in overdrive without meeting our own needs, we are putting our physical and mental health at risk.
It’s All About Perspective
Many may ask, “How can I possibly take time away when I’m needed in so many places and by so many people?” Granted, it may not be reasonable (or affordable) for us to lounge at a luxurious spa for a week, but could you take 15 minutes up to an hour to pamper yourself and get away from the “noise” of daily life? If your answer is, “no,” then I would encourage you to take a step back and consider finding some windows of time. Everyone needs time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.
Helping women to understand the critical need for self-care is often no easy task, and often requires offering alternative perspectives. For example, consider emergency preparedness we receive from flight attendants when traveling with small children. We are instructed as adults to put on our oxygen masks first, so that we are better able to support the children. Why? Because if we cannot breathe, we certainly cannot support those who are not able to help themselves. While great advice, many women act daily to secure the masks on those around us, and only when we get to a state of gasping for air, do we remember to secure our own. In fact, it can often take a crisis to bring the need for self-care to the fore.
Or, it sometimes helps to reframe this issue of self-care from the perspective of watching a friend function at 110% daily. Consider these questions: “How would you respond to a friend who was not taking time for herself? Would you encourage her to do something to relax? Would you feel like she was being selfish if she did so?”
In truth, many women hold themselves to a standard they would never expect of a friend. When they realize how unfair they have been to themselves, it can be a turning point toward a kinder, healthier care of oneself.
If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do for those 15-60 minutes, here are 25 ideas to jumpstart your brain. This means you must stop thinking about everything else for a minute and consider how taking just a 15-minute break would help you to reconnect with your needs, lower your stress level and allow you to experience a few precious moments of peace. Just 15 minutes can make a difference.
- Read a book
- Listen to your favorite music
- Take a walk in your neighborhood
- Sit in the sunshine
- Weed your garden
- Take a drive
- Play with your dog or cat
- Take a bubble bath
- Sit in a favorite chair and stare out the window
- Call an old friend and catch up
- Make your favorite dish (just for you!)
- Reacquaint yourself with a favorite hobby
- Ride a bike
- Make a cup of your favorite drink, put your feet up and sip slowly
- Do some simple stretching exercises to loosen up tight muscles
- Journal about all the things you’re grateful for
- Have a meal with a friend
- Window shop
- Go to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls
- Dance around joyfully
- Buy some flowers
- Build a snowman (if you’re in the right climate at the right time of year)
What creative ways can you spend 15 to 60 minutes just for you?