I'm a big believer in taking care of yourself first, because taking care of you means you can better care for others. You can't give what you don't have. It's the whole airplane oxygen mask idea---that you have to put it on yourself first before you can best serve the person next to you.
Here's some self-love inspiration:
- Commit to giving yourself some alone time every day. Even if it's just 15 minutes or so. Read a book. Take a nap. Pray. Breathe deeply. Do some yoga poses. Flip through that trashy celeb magazine.
- Exercise. I know. I know. Everyone says they don't have time to workout. But the truth is that if you don't exercise now, you will pay for it immediately (you won't sleep as well, eat as healthy, or de-stress as much) and later. Exercising isn't just good for you. You are modeling healthy behavior for your children. Find an activity you love and do it. I love walking outdoors and weight lifting.
- Give up the things that are no longer bringing you joy. I used to take every writing opportunity that came my way as I was building my writing resume. No more! I also used to scrapbook, but then realized I was beginning to dread it. Now I'm researching alternative ways to display family photos. Delete shows off your DVR that you no longer love watching. Now you have time to find a new hobby that you do enjoy!
- Go out with girlfriends. A girl-date brings me so much joy and a much-needed break. Don't worry about being fancy, unless, of course, fancy is your thing. Find a place to meet that is local and affordable. Great conversation and a little something to eat is all you need!
- Simplify that which is complicated. For example, create a meal-rotation plan if you are overwhelmed with meal-planning each week. If you truly cannot keep up with household chores, consider hiring some help. If running errands with your kids makes everyone miserable, hire a sitter for a few hours a week so you can run errands in peace and take a break from parenting.
- Stay hydrated. I am terrible about following this advice, but I realize that staying hydrated keeps me full and gives me the energy I need to tackle each day. I love herbal tea (warm in the winter, cold in the summer).
- Date your husband. It's so easy NOT to go on a date, because it take so much effort---find a sitter, prepare the kids for the evening (meals, lay out clothes, plan an activity like a movie), wear something decent (maybe even sexy?!?---where are those clothes?), and then go out. Then try not to talk about kids, bills, and family drama. Yikes! The pressure! But you know it's worth it when you actually do it. :) Investing in one's marriage is important and sets the tone for the entire family.
- Date yourself. It is so easy to forget who you are when you are a busy wife and mom. Purchase a book like this one, fill it out, and have fun!
- Crank some tunes. It's amazing to me how music can set the tone for the day or change the tone of a bad day. If my kids are being especially unruly, I give myself a gift and turn on some music that brings them joy (and distraction!). If I'm needing a pick-me-up, I turn on some of my favorite songs and dance with the kiddos. If you're serving a Mexican meal, play salsa music.
- Decide to put God first. This is VERY hard for me, because God isn't this demanding and needy being like one of my kids. He's not in my face begging for attention, a sippy cup of water, or a diaper change. ;) But it's crucial that we put on the "whole armor of God" if we're going to be the best possible self.