For me I did not learn about self care until my late 30's early 40's. It was never a thing when I was growing up, especially for women. My mother was not aware of such a thing as it was never a topic of conversation in my house and really never heard it discussed in other homes either growing up. Growing up I learned that doing things for yourself was selfish and being selfish was not a good quality or so I thought. I had to relearn how I thought and change the belief system that was ingrained into my head. It became self preservation which is truly sad when you think about it. To push yourself to the point of breaking, feeling overwhelmed, crazy, to finally speak up and say something . I will just add mental health was not a big topic of conversation either. It was kept very hush , hush, like a dirty little secret. How sad is that for all of us.
What self care became for me over the years. Before we had children going out with girlfriends once in a while, taking a walk, reading , dancing, drawing, sewing anything that helped me to relax or have fun. While we were having children it became non existent. When I needed it the most I did not know to take it , and how truly important it would be to my mental health as well. Out of necessity I began waking up 30min before the children got up. The quiet was amazing , I could actually think and prepare breakfast and lunches before the kids got up. My day before that was mom, ,mom, mom, yelling and screaming not me the kids. It just felt like a miserable way to start my day for me. So I thought about what I could do to help myself out. I was a stay at home mom so the 30 min a day was a wonderful blessing for me.
On days the weather was great I went outside for a walk or to the park , making sure we all got some fresh air for all our sakes. When I would cook or bake , I would include them : did it take longer yes. For me I knew what they were up too and all the time I took checking up on them we were getting things done instead. Bonus they learned how to cook, clean, help with the babies and do so many other things while I was including them . I would put music on or make it fun to clean so I would not be having to do it by myself.
I learned when my husband came home to ask for what I needed , learned the hard way they don't read minds. I would go for walks or find out about a class and go. As time went on , I learned that taking care of myself was not selfish but necessary. Here's the thing if I am happy , then all of the people in my life benefit from that joy. Over the years , I learned that self care has many different looks and integrate a little bit through out the day. I have my own business so I am pro active about putting it into my schedule. I also have a husband and 2 teenagers who's lives I want to be apart of, as well as grown children and grandchildren.
Understand that self care looks different for everyone, so comparing yourself to others is non productive. Be flexible when using self care, maybe you get it in the morning or afternoon or evening or before bed. It really doesn't matter when you get it as long as you get it. This advice is for every living and breathing human being. In the morning I get up early and do priming to start my day some days it's my only self care, other days it could be a yoga class or if I am studying a lot could be getting outside for a walk to clear my head, could be morning coffee on the deck , meeting up with a friend or date with hubby....so very many options and how great is that to know it varies to suit my needs. I listen to my mind and body and trust it to know what and when I need something. This was also a learning curve, as I did not know how or that I should listen to my gut instincts for myself, I doubted , seconded guessed myself. Funny never when it came to my husband and children as I was always very protective of them .
They say life is a balance but you get to decide what balances your life. Know it does not have to look like anyone else because you are not them , you are you. Your inner peace, love, joy shines through you when you are taking good care of yourself. Those around you flourish because of how happy you are, it's easy to smile , laugh, appreciate the blessings in your life. I say it's a win - win for everyone, don't you agree.