Webster defines tired as in need of rest, or weary. Synonyms for tired include exhausted, worn out, fatigued, ready to drop, drained. How many times have you used any of these words to describe how you feel this week alone? I’ve used them quite a lot of times. I’ll admit I’ve said I’m ‘ready to drop’ at least 3 times this week, and it’s only Wednesday. To top it off this is a holiday week, and there’s a million things that many of us have to get done before the Thanksgiving holiday.
When my kids were little, everyone said to sleep when they sleep. As they got a little older and naps were no longer a reality I wished I had taken their advise. The older the kids are, the less sleep I get and the more I use phrases like ready to drop. Homeschooling brings on an even deeper level of exhaustion. You not only have family, household and work responsibilities, but you now have the home-education-responsibility add-on.
These last three years, I’ve struggled to get it all done, and I’ve strived to do it perfectly (type-A personality), but something’s gotta give. And it did.
This summer I took a look at myself, and realized how much weight I had put on, how much my arthritis had progressed, how lack of sleep was affecting every aspect of my life. I came to grips with the cliché that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to take care of my loved ones. I made some simple changes and in just 5 months, I’ve seen dramatic improvements in my mood, energy level, and mental health.
Here a list of 10 practical self-care tips, in no particular order, that have promoted some real change in my life.
- Pray before getting out of bed. Seems simple enough, but I wasn’t doing it on a regular basis.
- Start a praise journal. For years I’ve kept a prayer journal, but one strictly for praise, has truly put things into perspective. I’m currently using this one.
- Exercise. I used to say I was too tired to exercise, but doing this on a semi-regular basis has been helpful. Image what would happen if I actually exercised daily!
- Stop eating junk! I mean it. No more last-minute pizza deliveries because you forgot to defrost that chicken, or cold cut sandwiches for dinner because you got carried away with that history project. (I’m talking to myself here). An occasional pizza run won’t kill you but it shouldn’t be your primary source of dairy.
- Cuddle with your kids. Seriously, this one helps me keep my sanity when my 3 teenage girls talk at the speed of light.
- Take some time out for a hobby. I’ve been bible journaling, and writing.
- Ask for help. This has been the hardest. I’m mom, aka superwoman, and I can do it all myself. No actually you can’t. Drop the pride, enlist the family, and get the kids to help with chores. These people love you, they want to see you happy.
- Hide for just a few minutes every day. It’s ok, everyone will still be there with their millions of questions and requests when you come out.
- Dance like no one is watching. I’ve managed to brainwash my kids (insert evil laugh) into dancing every time they hear music. I play anything from Sinatra to TobyMac, to Queen. On specially busy days, I grab the closest person next to me and we dance as silly as we possibly can. Before I know it’s a dance party, and who doesn’t love a dance party?
- Date night is the best night. We don’t get many of these, my husband and I have crazy schedules, but when we do get a chance to at least get a cup of coffee on our own we have a fantastic time.
If you can, take a mommy vacation. I’ve gone on women’s retreats with our church, and recently to a bloggers conference in Ohio. Remember that you are irreplaceable, you must take care of yourself, starting today.
Do you have any self-care tips you can add? How do you take care of yourself?