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More than anything this last year has taught us that we truly don’t have as much control as we thought we did.
For many people work completely transitioned to providing services online or jobs were put on hold or eliminated.
Schools were closed and we wondered how in THE world are we gonna do this.
How are we going to take care of children while attending meetings and finishing projects?
It’s Jan 2021, and you still might be trying to maneuver through that. You are doing the impossible.
We, collectively, are doing the impossible.
Another reality that we have are facing is how truly important it is to take care of ourselves.
And I’m not talking about the self-care that we see advertised on TV.
I’m talking about bare minimal self-care.
The brush your teeth, put on fresh clothes, eat an actual meal – the real basic, but oh so necessary self-care.
Are you nodding your head?
More, now than ever, we are having to sit with stillness, sit with ourselves and be in tune with our needs and boundaries around work, friends, and family.
This helps advocate for ourselves and put in a practice of self-care that fits this season of life.
Funny enough, 2020 was supposed to be my year of doing more of those external pleasures for myself.
Getting routine massages, taking pilates classes, was supposed to be my year because it was the first year in 3 years that I’d had my body all to myself.
No one was living inside of it. no one was latched on to it. I had my body to myself and I wanted to treat it.
And what do you know, Corona herself just interrupted my self-care plan.
Did she do that to you too?
And in that same breath, I have to tell you that Corona taught me, in more ways than one, to get in tune with what I needed.
Not necessarily what I wanted.
Maybe like me, sleep was a huge need from all of the mental and physical exhaustion.
Maybe learning to regulate your emotions and the way you set boundaries with others around was what you needed way more than what you wanted.
This reminds me of early motherhood.
One thing you must know about me and my motherhood journey is that I have two beautiful girls and they are thirteen months apart.
Thirteen months apart.
Meaning, when my oldest was 4 months old, I was pregnant with the youngest.
So there I was, a new mom of an active toddler and a newborn scared out of my mind.
I remember the first day my husband had to return back to work. It was a moment I was dreading since the day I found out I was pregnant with the youngest.
Like, how am I suppose to do this when it’s just me.
Within 15 mins of him leaving, my oldest fell out of the high chair because I was trying to nurse her sister and couldn’t get her in the chair right.
I felt so guilty.
I should’ve known better right, I thought.
I cried and apologies 376 times. Somehow I made it through the day.
My husband came home and recognized that I needed some time.
So I’m like yea! Self-care here’s my moment.
So my mind starts to try to flip through allllll of the possibilities of self-care.
But I kept drawing a blank.
I kept saying well I can’t really go for a walk because, at the time, I have bad hip/pelvic pain.
I can’t go meet up with a friend because that’s going to take up too much energy and time because I have to be back to feed the baby.
Ok, then what am I suppose to do.
I started to feel bad that I couldn’t think of anything special to do with this precious time.
I felt more and more disconnected from what I wanted because I keep drawing a blank.
Why is it that I can’t figure out what I want?
All while I’m trying to figure this out, I’m so exhausted.
Mentally and physically exhausted. just exhausting.
While I did end up taking a nap, I’m pretty sure I thought it wasn’t special enough. It wasn’t self-care-y enough.
If I could just go back and tell myself, my very exhausted self, this is self-care.
A fluid spectrum that adjusts based on your needs.
I think that still rings true for today as we navigate, still, through a global pandemic.
Self-care is on a spectrum. And there are levels to this.
Basic self-care is the most essential stage of self-care.
This is where you are taking care of the absolute must-haves of survival.
I’m talking about sleeping, eating, hygiene. Even things like emotional and physical safety.
Taking care of these basic needs first sets us up to be more regulated, less overwhelmed, and it gives you the capacity to do more leisure and luxury self-care.
Then you have leisure needs.
These are those things that you have a little more time and energy to do that will make you feel connected to yourself and things you enjoy doing.
Think about a quick work-out, short brunch with friends, or 30 mins of alone time.
Lastly, we get to luxury self-care.
Things that take more time, preparation, and energy to do – like arranging a night away or doing a 3-hour creative workshop, would fall into this category.
With any of these levels, it helps to acknowledge your need, prepare to meet your need, and following through with meeting your need.
Take, for example, me being exhausted after my first day home alone with a toddler and newborn.
The need here was sleep. The preparation was my husband suggesting I take some time to care for myself and me taking a nap, even though I didn’t think that’s what I needed, was meeting that need.
Acknowledge. Prepare. Meet.
You may be on the basic side of the spectrum where getting sleep, taking a shower, or putting on fresh clothes is your self-care. Love it, do that.
That’s still loving and caring for yourself.
You’ll get to leisure.
If you’re on the leisure side of the spectrum, where you have more time to journal, take those quick morning walks, or whatever brings you joy, do that.
Love and care for yourself in that way.
If you’re on the luxury side of the spectrum and you have more energy, resources, and time to dedicate to yourself, do it without guilt.
Love and care for yourself in that way.
So what I would’ve told myself, I’m telling you.
Self-care is on a spectrum, mama.
Wherever you are based on your needs and capacity, that’s ok. It’s more than ok.
So brainstorm where you are on the spectrum today.
Basic, leisure, or luxury. ©
And find a way, your way, of meeting those needs.
If you need support with creating a self-care plan based on your needs and where you are in this season of life, I have a Life Class called Self-Care Reimagined inside of Momfully You Academy. (Update July 2021: This membership is no longer available)
Here’s some feedback about Self-Care Reimagined.
“I especially loved the assessment piece which allowed me to see what I need to focus on. And it’s something I can go back to every few weeks to check in with myself. Thank you so much!” – Leah W.
“Love how you’re helping us find what’s realistic for our own lives.” – LaDonna
“This is extremely useful – the course and toolkit together are excellent. I really like the scripts and the journaling prompts.” – Rahel
But before you go, please hear me on this.
Taking care of yourself or even doing nice things for yourself does not have to be earned.
We don’t take care of ourselves because we’ve worked to get it or because we’re good enough.
We take care of ourselves because it’s essential. Because if we don’t, we and everyone else around us pay a high price.