Sometimes it’s especially hard to take care of yourself – family holidays, kids or partner home from school or work, you’re stressed out with deadlines or other worries.
When I was a single mom with kids at home, I found that I needed to find simple ways to take care of myself and release tension every day or I’d get sick from exhaustion – and have to get work done while feeling horrible.
Here are 3 quick ways to care for yourself, no matter what’s going on.
How’s your body feel? Tense from worry, tight from too much work?
Do a simple stretch right now. I carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders – so I can stretch my arms above my head and roll my shoulders while I make a cup of tea. What’s a simple stretch you can do right now?
What’s the chatter in your brain telling you? You’ll never be worth anything, you don’t have the talent, your dreams are a joke for someone like you? We all have these unending statements that just keep repeating variations of the same theme.
The first step is to hear them – because that means you’re stepping back and not hearing them as the truth of who you are.
Let’s find something simple to change this. I’ve found the easiest way to shut them up or override them is to listen to something you love. Favorite dance party song? Load that up while you’re taking care of things that need little attention (unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, getting rid of work papers you don’t need.
Having a dance party (even one song that always makes you happy) can make your body feel good too, and you can have your kids join in to burn some energy too.
Don’t like dancing or just not feeling like it? I love listening to books. It feels absolutely decadent to me to have someone read me a story.
Or if you want to shut down that chatter, pull up your favorite movie – hopefully something funny or intriguing but not emotionally draining. I love films from the 1940s and I have a few that I always pick on hard days.
This one is really important for sustaining positive energy over the long haul (pandemic anyone?) but it can be easy to assume this requires a long and silent meditation or special training to know what to do.
I don’t think so – again, the single mom stamp of approval didn’t apply to quiet meditation for me (I was always too tired and would fall asleep trying).
Sitting in a rocker watching the sunset for a few minutes and thinking of all the beauty around you feeds your spirit. Being grateful for things we sometimes overlook – clean air, safe home, the freedom to express our views – gratitude in like plugging into a socket for me – it takes me away from my narrow focus and resets my perspective.
Singing is another great way to feed your spirit – and you can do this while you’re doing other things, so there’s no reason to stop yourself from belting something out. I love to sing loud in the car when I’m driving or when I’m folding clothes (since I hate doing that; it takes my mind off it).
What would work for you? If you have 10 minutes to do a quick meditation of deep breathing and journaling that’s great too.
My favorite way to do all 3 at once? Watch a movie I love with someone or something I can squish (hugs are very important for me!). Kids, dogs, pets, stuffed animals – hugs and happy movies get me through anything.
What works for you? Let me know.