A dear friend just texted those words to me and it bears repeating. Kindness to self translates to kindness to others. If you’re a mom, I’m guessing your day-to-day life is centered around others. Taking care of your team at home and, if you work outside the home, also your team at work. It’s a lot! When do you take time to take care of YOU? Moms are great at putting others’ needs ahead of our own but in the long run, that can lead to Mommy burnout and exhaustion! When we make an effort to prioritize our own health, wellness and self-care routines, we are happier, more productive, and have more energy! It’s also setting a great example for our kids. Kids are imprinting from the experiences they see in life and often learn more from what they see than simply what we tell them!
Whenever you take a flight, you hear the flight attendant’s announcement to “put your own oxygen mask first before assisting others who are traveling with you.” I think of that statement often! I love to help others and it’s in my DNA. My mom is a retired social worker and I was brought up believing that service to others is a central part of life. I genuinely love to help others but I also know from personal experience that if we aren’t mindful about our limits and boundaries, we can end up giving too much of our own energy away. When that happens, we find that there isn’t much left in our own tank at the end of the day!
It’s okay and a good, healthy practice to schedule in “me time” each and every day of the week. Yes, I mean every day! Even if you’re a mom. Even if you stay-at-home with your kids. Even if you work full-time or part-time outside the home. Even if you have 1 child, 2 kids, 3 kids or more! If we don’t care of our minds and our bodies, who else will? If we aren’t healthy and strong, how can we be strong enough to take care of our families? As moms, we are often the glue in our family’s lives and our own self-care is critically important to fostering a healthy, happy family life.
I hope you can set aside as little as 20 minutes a day to devote just to YOU! It can be an hour or more, too! My 20 minutes a day of “me time” is usually spent on my morning run. I get up early–well before the rest of my family–to run. I run about 4-5 times a week and the other days, I take long walks or hikes with our puppy, Joy. I have a busy life–like all of you probably do who are reading this blog–but that time is sacred. I have healthy boundaries for work and home life and I do not allow them to creep into my “me” time. I try hard not to check my email before my morning run (although I often do!) but I do not reply to work emails at that early morning hour. I instead allow myself the gift of uninterrupted me time. I run and on days I don’t feel like running, I might lay in bed and read or write.
What do you do JUST FOR YOU? If you don’t have a quick answer to that question, I hope you can devote a little mental space today to ponder that question. Maybe I should really be asking the question, what would you LIKE to do just for you each day? It can be a yoga class, a run, a hike, an exercise class at the gym, 20 minutes of meditation at home, a walk with a neighbor, a quick coffee with a friend (I love coffee!), anything really that makes you feel better at the end that you did at the beginning. I love running and have been running since I was 13, but I’m still not sure if I love the actual run or if I love the feeling I have after I’m done?! I like the feeling of being sweaty and doing something good for my body that makes me feel strong and alive. I like the feeling of pushing myself to beat a time or a running goal I’d set for myself.
I’ll end with those words that I hope will echo in your mind today as they have in mine for the last week or so… Kindness to self translates to kindness to others! If we want to live and lead our lives with kindness as a core value, we have to begin by being kind to ourselves.