Self-care... what exactly is it?
Well, let’s first talk about what it isn’t. It isn’t sitting on the couch, snuggling with your toddler while watching his favorite TV show. It isn’t going on a date with your sweet husband. Those things are all fine and good, but they serve your relationships and are not self-care.
Self-care is taking a walk by yourself around the block and enjoying some fresh air. Self-care is making yourself a delicious (and healthy) smoothie everyday. Self-care is waking up before the rest of your house does and doing a 10-minute meditation. Self-care serves you and only you.
Before I became a self-care advocate, I didn’t really know myself. Truly. I wasn’t 100% sure what I stood for, why I stood for the things I said I stood for, and how to counter any resistance I received to those views. I would fall for anything because I really stood for nothing.
You see, my 20s were filled with fun and adventure. My husband and I were gleefully child-less and our lives revolved around ourselves. We did what we wanted when we wanted, and never really thought twice about it. We worked overtime, has season tickets to the Washington Capitals, and lived the life that we really want. Self-care wasn’t really all that necessary and I think it’s because I was pretty wrapped up in work culture. Go to work, work your butt off, and then reap the rewards. There was no culture of betterment or self-care. There was no giving back and thinking about the bigger world.
Self-care is taking a walk by yourself and enjoying some fresh air. Self-care is making yourself a delicious smoothie everyday. Self-care serves you and only you.
Fast forward to my thirties, throw in a pregnancy, a hearty dose of postpartum depression, and a lackluster self-care routine and you have a recipe for disaster. I was a hot momma mess, inside and out. My pregnancy was less than great and my postpartum depression was in full force about two weeks into motherhood. Things were a mess.
After about 8 months of me being an anxious disaster, my husband finally asked me to “figure something out.” In fact, he practically begged me. And my husband’s not one to tell me what to do, so when he asks me to do something I listen. So in order to “fix myself” I became a self-care junkie. I tried everything under the sun. I did yoga, I went on walks, I developed a love of nutrition, I read books, I meditated. I did everything I could think of. Some of the habits stuck, some didn’t, but it started to turn me around.
What I didn’t realize is that this “fix” was going to be a lifestyle change. It was going to impact my daily life in ways I never would have imagined. It has empowered me to live life to the fullest and truly live a life that I love and deeply desire. During this time I learned a TON about myself.
I am stronger than I think.
I had always been a pretty strong-willed person, but strong-willed without a backbone. Since implementing self-care daily, I can say that I actually stand for something and I know why I stand for what I believe in. The boost in confidence has been pretty impressive and has spilled over into my personal and professional life.
I am brave.
It takes a lot to admit that you need help. Coming from a family of stubborn Irishmen, it’s ingrained in me to never ask for help. I am wired to be proud and self-sufficient. The day I asked for help put me at a new low, but also a new high. It was empowering to ask for help, it wasn’t all on me to figure it out. I let my family know that I needed help and made a bold statement through my actions.
I am capable of amazing things.
It’s true. Y’all, I made another human being, went into labor 3 times, and then endured birth without an epidural. Seriously, I can do anything. Women are phenomenal creatures, and each and everyone of us, deserves a life that they love and desire. Anything less than that, isn’t acceptable. You are amazing. End of story.
Self-care is the one reason why I’m a functioning human today. Without it, I’d still be a hot baby mama mess, and wouldn’t even recognize that a change needed to happen. So Mamas, I want to ask you, what are you doing for YOU today?