“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” Angela Shwindt
At our house, we believe that self-care is for everyone. All of the time. We are not perfect, and still get burnout and forget to look after ourselves but, we are always defining what self care looks like for us in the stage of life that we are at. Today I m writing to tell you how I am learning about self-care, inspired by my daughter. We have lots of tried and tested tips to share with you.
I am not known for my kitchen prowess. There, I said it.
Gloat if you have to.
Inviting you over for dinner requires a good bit of stress, denial, and swearing (and probably sweating). Heck, who am I kidding? That’s a normal night in our house if I am that evening’s chef.
I m not swearing at you. Or my family. Just at the food, I hope to be making for you.
(Side note – I have come to the conclusion that food made with love tastes better so all my endeavours are doomed anyway. I love YOU, not the cooking. Let us all go to our mums or friends’ houses who enjoy it – it’s called outsourcing and it is very good for you.)
After burning myself for the second time last night Birdie walked into the kitchen and said:
She then went on to repeat herself several times as I consistently damaged myself in some way.
Dinner, by the way, was not awful. We only had one food refuser. I was happy to help out in that respect since I was just relieved that the ordeal was over and more than delighted to carb-load-for-comfort.
It got me thinking though:
“Muma, you GOTTA look after yourself!”:
She is right you know. I m no martyr for the cause – I worked out years ago that if I want my mental health to survive then we allllll gotta do our bit in this house. BUT what I don’t do is make time to actually look after myself.
What is ‘taking care’? hmmmmm I got curious –
I tend to think of that as going beyond the necessary.
Beyond the functionary.
It has a nurturing feel to it. Taking time, taking care.
It is going to look different for us all.
To help me get some ideas of what that could look like I thought that I’d better go back to the source – go back to the little love guru that is Birdie and ask a few questions.
Below are some of the things she came up with -and that I’ve padded out a bit 🙂
Birdie waits patiently for scones to rise. Plot twist: Muma baked them. They will not rise.
If you’re struggling with self-care, you might learn something by watching what your kids do. Even if they refuse to eat Brussel sprouts, they know important facts about how to keep our bodies and minds in top shape.
As adults, we sometimes neglect ourselves because we’re overwhelmed by responsibilities or feel like we don’t deserve to be treated with kindness.
I asked Birdie what makes her happy? Her answer was “Having Fun”. We went a little deeper and came up with ideas (for us old farts who forgot what that looked like 😉
A quick game of noughts and crosses makes for a lovely break! Especially if you win 😉
Play games. Self-care offers serious benefits, but the process can be light-hearted. Turn your work into a game and plan fun activities for your leisure time.
Enjoy food. For Birdie this was mainly pizza and pasta – for us, well, it may or may not be a little different! You’re more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle if you like what you’re eating. Think of food as your friend that you like spending time with. Think about how it makes you feel on the inside!
Sing and dance. Music relieves stress and makes tedious tasks more pleasant. Create a playlist for routine paperwork and household chores. Sing in the shower, so you can start each day with more energy. (my dad was great at this and I still have very fond memories of ‘household cleaning night’ BECAUSE of his fun playlist and dancing)
Tell a joke. Give yourself a reason to laugh. Tell a funny story to your family or friends. Watch cartoons and cat videos. Look for the humour in challenging situations. (But for the love of god Birdie, PLEASE don’t keep telling the same bloody joke. NO thanks go to Christmas crackers for this latest phenomenon)
Go barefoot. Do your feet ache by the end of the day? Going barefoot feels liberating and strengthens your muscles. Remove your shoes as often as possible. Treat yourself to a pedicure and foot massage – this is all about STOPPING and making time.
Next, I asked her what makes her feel brave and proud of herself? I think that taking care of yourself often looks like achieving small goals and being kind to yourself. Here are some of the things we came up with:
Anything else? We all joined in for this one. Our collective final points towards better self-care are as follows….
Other Things Your Kids Can Teach You About Self Care:
Children may lose their socks, but they usually remember to take care of themselves.
What I am learning this year is that allocating some regular me-time into my busy schedule will help me feel more connected to myself and others. It may not help me in the kitchen, but then again, maybe it will.