In the amount of time that a post stays visible on Facebook, I heard from 39 women (c'mon, men!).
So I went to Starbucks and spent the next three hours doing a qualitative analysis of the responses. Results, grouped into categories of the most popular answers, are below. Ah, geeking out and blogging about it is my form of self-care!
Shed the guilt
- "Leave the list of things to do (and phone/computer/work) aside and sit down alone with a good book"
- "I let myself have occasional days where I don't try to do better, or do everything right. I do what feels cozy and good. If that means eating a cookie, I eat a cookie. If I want to put on a show while the baby plays on the floor, I do that. I purposely don't clean or accomplish anything work-like, I just let myself play and be and relax"
- "Sometimes just time away, a break, doing anything but parenting, felt like good self care ... when I returned I felt super connected to my daughter"
- "I arrange for extra child care and go take time to myself. I also had a policy when my kids were very young that I always paid for 10-15% more childcare than I technically «needed»"
- "I make sure that no matter what else is happening I get a shower every day and put on make up. It makes me feel human and reminds me that how I feel is important too. Some days my shower doesn't happen until late in the day but it happens every day!"
- (if above is not possible) "Attempt to shower alone at least once a week"
- "After kids go to bed, I take a long bubble bath and watch my TV shows on my phone!"
Schedule alone time
- "Shopping alone/Short outings by myself!"
- "My husband and I each get at least a few hours per weekend on our own sans kids. So good for our sanity and to refuel for the next week"
- "Walking around under the sun with a Starbucks"
- "Sitting out in the sun solo"
Socialize (bonus: wine)
- "Regular date nights"
- "A supportive group of non-judgmental friends is crucial for me. We laugh, cry, vent, celebrate, commiserate, advise, play, and everything else. Getting together with them is a super recharge for me!"
- "I didn't sleep much for probably 4 years at least, and that just wasn't healthy. So now I give up TV or anything extra at night to be sure I get sleep if I need it"
- "22 minute naps. I swear, if I barely fell asleep, I would be super energized afterward. So I started setting my timer for 22 min. I saw something on HuffPo about the ideal nap length which confirmed it for me! And my friend from Germany said that her family had a saying to "nap until your keys drop" - as in, hold on to your keys while you are trying to go to sleep, and as soon as they hit the floor, it's time to get up!"
Exercise (by far the most frequent response: 17 out of 39 moms mentioned it)
- "I do short video workouts when my partner gets home"
- "Having an exercise buddy waiting for me is essential for my sanity. Fitness and social time all at once!"
- "Make a deal with yourself that you can only quit your walk / run / bike / class after you've been at it for 5 minutes"
- "Do simple exercises/yoga moves with baby at home"
- "I have learned to love running. Getting to the gym is hard - the small bits of time I save by not driving there, checking in, fiddling with machine settings, etc. matters. I can run as soon as I leave my house (and I can wear out the dog at the same time)"
Have self-care tips to share? Add them in comments.