May 17

Finding the Right Self-Care for You


I spent Mother's Day doing yard work alone and it was amazing. Before kids, yard work would not have been at the top of my self-care list. But now, it feels like a wonderful luxury. I enjoy gardening and being outside but when my kids were under 2, getting time to be outside without someone attached to me was hard. Getting time to do anything was hard so I mostly focused on the necessities like eating and showering.

Even when you have a supportive, involved partner (which I do!), it can be so hard to find time for yourself.  My free time felt so precious and I was so exhausted that all I could do when I had a moment was sit on my phone or watch a TV show. Now that I feel like we are out of the weeds, and free time isn't quite so rare, I'm rediscovering the things that I enjoy and that make me feel refreshed.

Self-care isn't just bubble baths and massages, finding the right self-care for you in your life stage is important. Here are some ways to make sure self-care fits your lifestyle.

Assess Your Needs and Preferences

Take time to really listen to yourself and do what feels good even if it doesn't look like traditional self-care. Anyone watching me mow the lawn on Mother's Day probably had no idea how much fun I was having. When I was asked what I really wanted to do during my kid-free time, I took a moment to think about something I had been wanting to do and missed instead of going with the default of getting my nails done. 

Sometimes self-care is making a doctor's appointment, doing something on your to-do list you've been putting off, or deleting an app on your phone. Take time to sit quietly or journal about what you feel has been missing from your life or needs to be taken care of, and see where you can fit it into your schedule. 

Experiment with Different Practices

Experiment with different self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, hiking, or art. Be open to trying things you might not have considered before or think about things you used to do when you were younger. And make sure to start small. Introduce one new self-care activity at a time. For example, start with a 1-minute daily meditation practice or spend 5 minutes doodling. Be flexible and if an activity doesn’t feel right or doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, don’t hesitate to modify it or try something else.

Incorporate Self-Care into Your Routine

I have a podcast I love but never felt like I had the time to listen to. Now I listen when I'm folding laundry or when doing dishes. It makes those chores more fun and I find myself feeling a little more refreshed instead of drained after completing them. Pair self-care with something that is less enjoyable. Another trick is to put self-care onto your schedule like you would any other meeting. I've started putting walks on my calendar and have found I have a much higher success rate when the calendar reminder pops up. Think through your schedule each week and when you are most likely to complete the self-care you want to do. 

Seek Support

Get an accountability buddy! Something as simple as texting a friend "I'm going to spend 10 minutes stretching today" makes you much more likely to do it. When I'm avoiding doing something that I know will make me feel better if I can just power through, I text my best friend and tell her that I will start that task in five minutes. Usually just texting helps me start and finish the task right away. Find a person who can support you in taking care of yourself! 

Anne Rice, LPC, LMHC, CPCS

About the author

Anne is a licensed therapist in both New York and Georgia. She is the owner of Firefly Wellness Counseling located in the Atlanta area. Her team works with all members of the family struggling with anxiety, depression, and big life changes. Anne loves helping adults and teens navigate life's difficulties by creating a comfortable and safe place to share anything and everything that is on their minds. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Princeton University and her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston College.


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