Thursday, October 13, 2011

self-care for moms

I think that one of the toughest challenges for us as Moms is make sure that we give ourselves good care.  We tend to put ourselves last on the list and then after we neglect ourselves over and over again, we eventually get to the point where we get so resentful of not having our needs met that we explode!  Well, at least that's how it works for me sometimes. 

There are some ways in which I'm great at self-care and some ways in which I seriously stink.  Have you ever heard the HALT acronym?  It tells us to never let ourselves get too "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired."  Trouble will result when we allow that to happen.  I routinely let myself get in these states, however.  One of my biggest offenses is letting myself get too hungry.  This was particularly true when Burrito was a baby.  It seemed that I never got enough to eat or drink and I would get ravenously hungry and then I would start getting angry.  Sigh.  I'm trying to learn to remember to eat enough.  Unfortunately, now that I'm remembering and Burrito isn't nursing anymore, I find I am gaining a little bit of weight.  Not an insane amount, but still.  Now, I must remember not just to eat, but to eat more vegetables and fruit!

Here are the top 5 self-care practices that I find important to making sure my "cup" is filled.  Unless I am filled up, I find I don't have a lot to give out.

After you read my list, please share your list!  What are your top 5 self-care practices?

1. Reading the Bible.  My husband and I generally read the Bible at night together before going to bed.  We tend to read through whole books.  Right now, we are in the Gospel of Luke.  We read a small portion, discuss it and say our prayers.  I'm searching for a better way to do a personal time of Bible reading, however.  After all, we are pretty tired when we read the Word at night.  Still, I'm glad that we do.  I find it even more helpful to attend a regular Bible study in town.  I gather with some other moms who are in the same stage of life and there is free child care.  I get a lot out of this undistracted time of studying God's Word.

2. Sleep.  I think I've written before about my battles with insomnia.  Until I went through this trial a couple of years ago, I don't think I realized how precious sleep is.  I know I definitely appreciated it much more now.  I usually get around 8 hours of sleep at night.  And it feels good!

3. Community.  I find that I get a little weird when I'm not in community.  I need people around me, friends to talk with, to joke with, to share my heart with.  If I don't have people with whom I regularly share my life, people in the flesh, then I start getting really in-drawn and depressed.  But I feel most whole when I have people to talk to.

4. Eating.  Like, whole grains, protein, veggies and fruit.  It's so easy to forget to eat this stuff but it's amazing how some apples dipped in peanut butter or a piece of cheese will pick me up.  If I'm getting grouchy, I need to remind myself to eat something healthy. 

5. Doing things I love.  That means, reading for fun!  I have a huge list of books I hope to check out from the library all the time.  I love to read...especially dramatic plots and books that open my world up to understand things differently.  I love how reading makes me a better writer.  And so writing is also a very important part of self-care for me.  Writing is like my third arm.  It's been a part of me since I was a little girl and I am not whole without it.  And in the category of things I love is also the enjoyment of good movies and TV shows.  There's something very relaxing for me as an introvert in curling up on the couch and enjoying a favorite show.  It's great to have that down time when nothing is required of me. 

So, those are my 5.  What are yours?


  1. I get it. I may not have a toddler, but my job very quickly becomes all consuming and I forget the "human" stuff.

    My 5 are:
    1. Sleeping. I generally get around 5 hours a night, or less when I've got a lot on my plate. This week I tried going to bed at 11. Even one night of 9 hours put a spring in my step!

    2. Eating well. I don't do this. I dream of this. Even when I attempt to cook it is a mix and match of things that are sort of healthy and comfort foods. When I buy vegetables I forget about them. I eat from meal to meal, and sadly, mostly out of the school cafeteria. This summer, when I had 3 weeks to eat in community with others, I was more rested, happier and more energized in spite of my 12 hour days.

    3. Adult time. My students are awesome, but sometimes you need grownup time. There is such a difference between 20 and 30. I'm reminded of this every day:) I don't see my friends often enough. When they are scattered around the world, it gets increasingly difficult. Praise the Lord for blogs and facebook!

    4. Getting away. Travel. Exploration. New places. They feed my soul. Whether its a weekend in MN or India, or the Jersey Shore, the ability to take time and leave my crazy life is essential. I get to refuel and restart. I'm trying to get away once a month. Its been amazing so far.

    5. Undercover exercise. I hate to work out, but I love taking long walks through crazy towns with friends, exploring new neighborhoods, picking tomatoes in my brother's garden, walking home from work.

    So I guess if you have a crazy job or a crazy child, the same rings true. My mother says that I have to take care of myself...since I'm the only self I get. I roll my eyes, but she's right. Somehow they are almost always right:)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Becky! Your schedule is every bit as intense as living with a toddler! Glad to hear you're attempting some self care!

    Just a little tip: I find I do much better with preparing good meals if I write out a realistic (this is the key word) meal plan for the week. This means that I take into account how much time I will have to prepare meals each night. The meal plan can be flexible but usually I stick to it. I plan frozen or refrigerated leftovers or an easy fix like spaghetti for nights when I don't have much time. I plan more involved meals when I have a little more time. Cooking Light magazine has some great meal ideas for short time prep.


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