One of my biggest struggles as a mother has been recognizing the importance of self-care. I think I have convinced myself over the years that any time not spent on my children or my family was self-indulgent. I put myself way down on the list of priorities and that can contribute to mental health issues. During our last visit, my postpartum-therapist asked me to do something that makes me happy over the weekend. To be honest, I had a hard time recalling anything that made me happy other than things I do for my children. My daughter likes to read, my oldest son loves archery and my youngest just wants to nurse. I couldn’t remember the last time I did something because it made ME happy, and a mother should never feel guilty about trying to make herself happy from time to time. I told my therapist that I liked to garden and I love growing flowers. Today I practiced a little self-care by enjoying my peony beds and assembling a new toy for my youngest children so that we could spend a little time together outside.
I love flowers and not the fresh cut kind, unless they’re from my own garden. There’s something special about nurturing and caring for a plant until it blooms. Mothers should nurture and care for their children in the same fashion, but we should also remember to care for ourselves. I have two large peony beds that my husband and I have planted throughout the years, we started them on Mother’s Day shortly after we finished the house. I also have assorted varieties of hydrangeas, roses and petunias, plus a sweet little magnolia tree. It has made me happy to plant each of them and watch them grow. Gardening is definitely a form of self-care for me.
My personal forms of self-care are:
- Writing (nothing that I’m forced to write and I struggle with prompted pieces)
- Cooking (when it’s something new and fun, and I’m not in a rush)
- Watching birds and nature (my husband built me a bird feeder)
- Mediate on my relationship with God
I started to create a list of possible self-care activities, but the point of self-care is that it’s enjoyable to the individual. The things that make me happy might not make you happy. I don’t enjoy fixing my hair, painting my nails or experimenting with makeup, like I know lots of other women might. I don’t read romance novels and I hate reality TV. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with those, but my point is that self-care is all about caring for your needs as an individual. It shouldn’t be anything that causes you stress. I actually stopped taking photos for a while because I stressed myself out trying to make them perfect and it was anything short of relaxing. All of the photos on this post were taken with my iPhone and they were stress-free. I will cherish them just as much.
What do you like to do for self-care? Any suggestions for not readily thought of self-care activities?