Guilty Pleasure: (noun) Something, such as a movie, television, program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.
Over the past six months or so, I have been on a journey of learning about self-care. AKA: taking care of ME! Since becoming a mom nearly five years ago, I have become so engrossed in taking care of literally EVERYONE around me that I have neglected to take care of the one who matters most…me. Yep, you read that correctly, I MATTER MOST.
“Wow, can you believe she just said that?” I sure did, and you know what? I’m feeling less and less guilty about saying it.
When I read the definition above (thank you Google), I quickly realized how taking care of one’s self could easily be defined as something that would fall into the category of a guilty pleasure. For whatever reason, as a mom it is not generally held in high regard to take care of yourself before taking care of your kids or even your husband. It seems we have list after list of things that must be taken care of for the kids or the hubs before we ever consider, “hmm, maybe I should take a shower today? It sure would be nice to sit down for a few minutes and read a chapter of this book I bought…seven months ago!” “I’d really love to try out a new yoga class, but all of my kids’ extracurricular activities and my husband’s work schedule probably wouldn’t allow it.” I mean, the list(s) could go on and on into eternity.
A few months ago, I dealt with some really intense stress that lead to a lot of anxiety, panic attacks, and feeling pretty down about myself. After giving it a lot of thought, I made a decision, one that has two parts.
- Part One: Start taking care of Meredith…(that’s me). 😉
- Part Two: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!
I’ll be honest, following through with the second part has definitely proven to be more difficult. As a mom, it is especially easy to feel guilty when we aren’t constantly doing the things we “think” we should be doing. Sometimes we feel that we should do certain things because of what we’ve read in various books, magazines, or online mommy blogs. Maybe it’s because we won’t feel like we measure up to other moms if we don’t do A, B, and C. And, let’s be real, Pinterest is amazing…but I don’t know how many things I’ve pinned that I have never even attempted to do with or for my kids. There just aren’t enough minutes or brain cells to make those things a reality.
It’s time to take the guilt out of self-care for everyone, including moms. Taking care of ourselves (which will look different for each of us) needs to become a priority AND a pleasure.
Pleasure: (noun) A feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.
In my opinion, THIS is how self-care should be defined: doing things that leave us feeling happy, satisfied, and full of enjoyment!
I recently picked up a book called The Fringe Hours, written by Jessica N. Turner. The tagline for the book is, “Making Time for You.” If you are in need of a little push and are searching for some very practical ways to start taking care of yourself, I HIGHLY recommend this book. So much of what she writes about has resonated with me and is so spot on.
In the beginning of the book, Jessica challenges her readers to think about different activities or things that if time was not an issue he/she would enjoy doing. She listed several different things to get the wheels turning. Here are a few examples of some hobbies that could be incorporated into your own self-care plan:
- Horseback riding
- Spa time (YES PLEASE!)
- DIY projects
The challenge was to try to find things that you truly enjoy doing, things that inspire you, and things that you would (and do) enjoy when you have the time.
One section of the book talks about how to organize your life to include you. I mean, our own lives should include at least some time for us. Am I right?!
A quote from Jessica in this section, “Many women live the rat race of going, going, going, putting themselves last and making their desires the lowest priority on the never-ending to-do list. Everything else is a higher priority. The very act of self-care seems selfish and becomes something that’s easy to ignore, because frankly, who has time for sewing and running when the laundry is overflowing from baskets and bellies will be hungry soon?”
How incredibly true!
As difficult as it may seem, I firmly believe that we have GOT to start making ourselves more of a priority. In order to more effectively care for those around us: children, husbands, friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members, whomever it may be, we have to start by practicing self-care daily!