A Different Kind of Self Care for Busy Moms
Let’s talk self-care.
Now, I know this is a huge buzzword at the moment (and honestly one I’m a little tired of), but I want to talk about it a bit differently today, so hold tight for just a minute
If you've been hanging out with me for very long, you know that one of the crucial steps in my weekly planning process is to make sure that I have personal time reserved on my calendar multiple times during the week.
This is something I have prioritized for a long time. And it's made a tremendous difference for me!
Another thing I very intentionally prioritize is rest. I get my rest regularly. And when I'm talking about rest, I'm going to be relating it to a lot of what you would probably label as “self care.”
By rest I mean the things that we do to have some downtime to refuel or to relax — to truly rest and regain our energy and inspiration.
But recently, even with my rest and scheduled personal time, I realized something was missing.
Not very long ago, I was getting ready to head out to one of my treasured girls’ weekends that I do twice a year. And as I was getting ready to go, I felt really on edge like I just couldn't get out of the door fast enough.
Even my husband noticed, and we were both super confused about my anxiety and desperation to get away. It’s not like I had been overly stressed or maxed out recently. I had been getting in my rest and my “self care.”
Well, the universe, God, whatever you want to call it, in her infinite wisdom knew exactly what I needed to hear.
As I was driving to my girls’ weekend, I was listening to an episode of Glennon Doyle's “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast, and they were talking about having fun. And her sister, Amanda, said something along the lines of, “The opposite of work is rest. And the opposite of fun is depression, sadness, anxiety.”
Honestly, I almost drove off of the road when I heard that.
I could look at my life and think, “Okay, everything's going well. Work is going well. My family’s good. I'm getting rest. I'm practicing ‘self care,’ but I'm still feeling unhappy. I'm sad. I'm unfulfilled. I'm depressed. I’m anxious.”
Then, I realized the reason I was leaving skid marks in the driveway as I left for my weekend getaway!
I had worked well. I had rested well. But I had not had fun, true fun, in a long time. And my body knew that this girls’ weekend meant FUN!
And I know this is something most of us are struggling with right now as we come out of the pandemic.
We’ve prioritized rest. We’ve prioritized quiet and downtime. But fun has gotten a bit lost in the shuffle.
I also know many women in our community and well beyond who don’t even really know what counts as “fun” at this point. (BTW, if you have to ask what fun is, you clearly haven’t had any in a long time).
I can’t tell you what is fun for you, but for me, when I'm having fun, I laugh a lot!
Time with the girls is definitely fun for me. We laugh without any reservations or judgment! We just are who we are. I also enjoy shopping. Shopping is fun for me. Bowling is fun for me. Playing a really cool game with my family on game nights that makes us all laugh hysterically, that is FUN for me!
Fun is different than personal self-care time. And if we're not careful, we can place so much emphasis on everything else — including rest and self care — that we get to a place where we're just not having fun regularly in our lives.
So if you are in that space where you know...
- You’re managing your time.
- You’re not overcommitted.
- You’re not over-scheduled.
- You’re resting.
...But you're still feeling flat or even depressed. I want you to go back and look at the last month or two of your life and think about when you last just let loose and had fun.
Then, I want you to brainstorm the activities that make you feel joyful...not restful, but joyful! And I want you to look for even the simplest things — like listening to music and dancing in your kitchen — that make you feel happy.
I don’t want you to stop reserving time for your rest, but I want you to understand that you've got to prioritize both.
Personally, I am now shifting in my weekly planning to make sure I have rest time AND fun time so that when my next girls’ weekend appears, I will not be so desperate to get away!
Also, I know that by prioritizing things that make me laugh and bring me joy, my “fun bucket” will stay fuller and that depression and anxiety won’t come creeping back in again.