Sometimes this new phenomenon of self-care can feel like one more thing to do, in an already over-booked schedule. When I needed to incorporate it into my life, I found myself over and over, writing out my daily schedule. Where or how could I fit this in? Exercise, good food, sleep, meditating, reading, quiet time, baths…I mean, come on?!
What I eventually realized was that if I stopped looking at self-care as a thing, and thought of it more as a way, then it easily became a part of my schedule. I wrote out my day. I looked at each tiny part to see if there was a way that I could do it with a little more love…to see where my love was at. Here’s what happened.
6:00 am (These parenthesis will show you what my schedule used to say: Wake Up.) My youngest son wakes up and I snuggle him and beg him for a little more sleep. He agrees to the snuggles, but more sleep? Never! So, alas, we snuggle to our hearts’ content, which has become one of my favorite and most loving times of day, and we get up about 6:30. We play games and color and I sip on a warm herbal tea or hot lemon water in one of my favorite mugs. I collect mugs with messages; Renew, Happy, Go with the Flow, Love, etc. They all say something different and are sort of a mantra to help me start my day.
7:15 (Breakfast) The boys are both up and hungry. We feed them breakfast (something like a smoothie and waffle). Nutrient rich foods is a way I show my own body and my family, love. I’ll eat if I’m hungry or not if I’m giving my body a little space. We pack lunches and then continue playing. Is it possible to play too many games?
8:30 (Go to school) We get dressed in snow clothes and head out for a winter hike, or a little rummaging in the snow and fresh air before we leave for school. During the warmer weather we spend this time biking or hiking to school instead. This has become a tiny, but essential piece of our days. It allows us all to breathe in the fresh air, move our bodies, and separate from each other and home in a positive way, for both the kids and parents.
9:00 (Gym) School drop-off for one, and the rest of us head to the gym for a quick workout. It’s usually resistance training with a little elliptical at the end, or a yoga class. There’s almost always some sauna time because it amps up the sweat and detoxing, and also because it’s something I just really enjoy.
10:30 (Shower/Play/Lunch) We are back home. I added in one extra minute to do some skin brushing (gets the lymph system moving and nervous system going which can leave you feeling energized) before a hot shower. I added in some essential oil lotion afterwards, just for that “I’ve just been at the spa” feeling. We eat, and we continue drawing, reading, playing outside, visiting the library, going to parks, playing with friends and all sorts of entertaining things for a four year old. During the moments that I am not needed, or individual play is occurring, I read, close my eyes and do some meditating or positive affirmations, or do some stationary exercises like planks, lunges, and leg lifts. .
On the days they both have school, I work on my health coaching, blogging, or house chores and projects – usually with a favorite chai tea latte and some good music.
4:00 (Pick up) School pick up and playing outside, even me! It’s a good time for us to be together, to let the communication of the school day sort of flow out, rather than me nagging about what happened. Play is equivalent to joy. It brings us back together after a day apart. There’s usually a lot of laughter and fun, esp when we are sledding down the back hill.
5:30 (Dinner) A meal with the whole family, almost always a couple veggies with a meat side. Along with dinner we take turns sharing what we are feeling thankful for each day. It’s been interesting to maintain this practice over many years. It really makes you dig deep into what you truly are grateful for.
6:00 (Play time) This is kind of a down time for us – some of us play games while others draw, some of us read or if we are going to do a family movie or game night, now’s the time.
7:00 (Kids’ Bed) Baths, books, and bed. Our boys go to bed at the same time so we had them share a room. That means one of us takes book duty and the other cleans the essentials to get us back on track for the next day. I either get some snuggles, or I turn on my favorite tunes (music is so healing) and zen out while I do the dishes.
8:00 (Clean) Because we made bedtime a one parent job, we get some time together instead! My husband and I meet out in the living room for some extra work time, a show, some reading, some time to pay it forward (send cards, make a meal for a friend, etc), or just have a conversation and a glass of wine.
9:30 (Not normally existent on my schedule) If I’m feeling antsy before bed then I take a steaming bath or head to bed even earlier so I can get myself relaxed by doing a meditation or reading to calm my senses before sleep.
10:00pm (Bed) Hopefully snoozing away. Lights off, noise machine, cool room, a little lavender spray on the sheets, my favorite Wolf Farm lavender lotion on my feet, or sometimes some melatonin supplements. We’ve figured out a few things that help me stay asleep through the night.
3:00am One or both children sneak into our bed. They have become stealth night ninjas and I don’t even know it’s happening until I wake up sweating between the two warmest little boys ever created.
As you can see my work on my health is now intermixed throughout my day. We have slowed down our lives in so many ways and incorporated important pieces (music, working out, meditating, quiet time, reading, calming teas, energizing practices, etc) into our daily lives. Self-care and self-love is not only a certain chunk of time to time set aside. It is a way of living with love all day long. And I can tell you, it feels good to be loved so much.
Sometimes it’s nice to write out your schedule and see what your day is actually filled with. You might find some down time you don’t realize you have, or you might find yourself filling your time with something you don’t actually want/need to do. It allows a glance, a look, a space to think about and initiate some change.
And to throw in a little extra love.