I’m a big fan of self-care, and it’s the month of love – so let’s show ourselves plenty of it! Many of us approach self-care as indulging (which I’m also a big fan of) or something really special that takes planning and intention. Pedicures, girls nights, shopping for yourself…these are all wonderful, important things, but none of them is easy to fit into any given day…and they all require childcare (womp womp).
While it’s a very trendy term, I kind of think “self-care” may go the way of “diet” – i.e. if it’s temporary, inconsistent, or short-lived, it’s not going to make a real impact. Take, for example, a popular act of self-care: getting a massage. I LOVE massages and try to get them regularly (and yes, I see these as indulgences that take a decent amount of planning to accomplish). I relax, feel great, recharge and zone out for an hour. But then the moment I get back home to the madness, that zen quickly gets the boot – and then some – because I get even more frustrated that no one else in the house can respect my mellow mood for five minutes. It’s no fault of theirs, but 4- and 2-year-olds have a way of killing the zen, am I right?
So just like making healthy food choices is an intention of mine every single day, now so is taking care of myself. And we mamas need the easy button. Like saving money or eating well, self-care needs to be a seamless part of daily life – routine habits that don’t require planning or extra effort. It’s the little things has taken on new life in my mindset the last few months. So here, I’m sharing my 5 favorite quick, easy, and cheap (or free!) ways to show yourself some love, too!
#1. Pillow spray.
My SIL gifted me a eucalyptus mint pillow spray for Christmas and it’s become such a delightful addition to my bedtime routine. I’m usually stoked to put head to pillow already, and now it even smells good! Hubby often asks me for a spray or two, too. Grab yourself a bottle, or you could easily make something similar with your favorite essential oils.
2. Pick the movie.
Movies are pretty rare for us, but when my husband and I get a chance to watch something kid-free, we usually choose one that we both have some interest in. Which leaves me with a really long list of movies I’d love to see, but he’s not that into. So I say once in awhile, he can handle a rom-com or sappy drama, ladies…and maybe you’ll both end up with that feel-good-chick-flick feeling you’ve been missing! (Or maybe he’s asleep on the couch, no harm done.)
3. Music in the shower. (More music in general.)
You’ve gotta squeeze in a shower sometime every day or two, so you might as well switch on Pandora, Slacker or whatever app you prefer. Music can have such a powerful influence on our moods…I mean, the other day “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” came on and how could I not take the words of One Direction straight to heart? A little boppin’ + a little reminder that I’m beautiful = great start to the day! And that post-dinner, pre-bedtime music and dancing sesh in the kitchen is often my saving grace during a notoriously challenging time of day.
4. Establish an afternoon ritual with a warm beverage.
Morning coffee is a given necessity. Afternoon tea or decaf? Hellooo, momentarily tricking your brain into feeling like all is calm in the world. This rings true whether you work or stay home, weekdays or weekends. Trust me.
5. Apply the movie concept to restaurants, what you make for dinner, the game you play, or other regular family-wide decisions.
Not every time (you’re not a dictator, after all…), but when you choose things that YOU enjoy without trying to please everyone else, you’ll feel less like you’re the one sacrificing all the time. Because most of the time you are, and that’s probably not gonna change soon. I’ll fathom everyone else manages just fine with your choices now and then!
I get it. You might be rolling your eyes, like these tiny habits could possibly make a difference. And I know I didn’t invent listening to music in the shower, but I used to not, so maybe you don’t either. I dare you to try adding a few (or all!) of these to your regular routine and see how it impacts that “full cup” feeling we all are constantly seeking. I bet the difference is more noticeable than your monthly pedicure or annual girls’ trip (but still totally do those things too!) because you get frequent – even daily – opportunities to do little somethings just for you.
Please share in the comments your favorite quick, easy and cheap ways to show yourself some love!
Originally published February 9, 2019.