But What About Me? A Lesson in Self-Care

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As a mother, and maybe just as a woman, there’s this unprecedented overpowering need, almost an all-encompassing need, to do everything. To be everything. To fulfill our children’s and spouses wants and needs. Oh, and don’t you dare not meet a need or want. Mom guilt is the worst if you didn’t know.

What would you say if I told you that you CANNOT be it all and do it all for everyone and everything? You can try, but you will fail and you will be miserable and exhausted. You are simply no good to anyone, not your spouse and not your kids when you become rundown and exhausted.

There are a few things I do for myself every day that make me feel good and maybe they’ll make you feel good too.

Exercise

Let me tell you, I have always hated working out, and quite frankly I still do sometimes. Sometimes I dislike it a lot. However the saying is true: “The only work out you regret is the one you didn’t do.”

There’s no way around the health benefits (I feel good just knowing I may be staving off a heart attack. Yay for cardiovascular health!). The psychological benefits are hard to beat. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! Didn’t anyone else watch “Legally Blonde”? But seriously, it makes you feel GOOD about yourself. It makes you feel strong (eventually when it’s no longer kicking your toosh). Exercise also burns that pent up frustration that is inevitably brought on by your spouse and kids.

I bought an Oculus Quest virtual reality set with encouragement from my husband so I could play Box VR (a boxing virtual reality game). It is the best thing I have ever done for myself. At least four days a week I zone out and I box. Mike Tyson has n o t h i n g on me. I lost 20 lbs and gained a whole lot of joy. Even better is this is something I do at home!

Once I got down 20 lbs I started going to Pure Barre to tone up and found an amazing group of women. More importantly, each class is 50 minutes of time for just ME. No cups to fill, no good to serve, and no arguments to break up. It is 50 minutes for just me.

Reading

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a bookworm. I will sacrifice food and sleep for a good book. The reason I read is simply because it is my escape.

When I read, I am taking a break and escaping my reality and jumping into someone else’s. Sometimes it’s a crazy chick trying to kill a frenemy, sometimes it’s unrequited love. Either way it’s someone else’s story and it gives the mind a break that we ALL need from the daily hustle and bustle.

I read on average two books a week (I know this is ambitious just hear me out). But I also go through droughts, and when that happens I have realized that simply reading one chapter a day, or one article, does the job I need it to do. It gives me a mental break even if it is a short one. A break is a break. Trust me, read something. Go to people.com and check out the crime section, go to Wikipedia and read about someone from your latest TV series, or pick up a new book!

Take a Breather

On the days I don’t work out, or even if I do, somewhere in that day, I take 20 minutes to do nothing. The kids are fed and safe and I go to my room…or the bathroom…and I just chill alone. This removes me from the insanity that is mom life for a few minutes.

I know I am not the only mother and wife that sometimes finds herself on the edge of the proverbial cliff ready to have a meltdown. Sometimes the meltdown is necessary, but sometimes just escaping for a few minutes into the bathroom (don’t clean it while you’re in there either) will give you what you need to make it through the rest of the day. It’s like coffee, but better. Yes I said better.

Talk to a Friend

Believe it or not, this is self-care for you and for your friend. While we are living in unprecedented times, Zoom and FaceTime are only a click away. As I’ve acquired a spouse and kids, I find I don’t really like talking on the phone. I’m busy, and it’s really hard to slow down. This is where you need to be intentional. Make a phone date. Make it happen.

My best friend is a lawyer  who is currently working from home, but once a week we try to call each other and just have a nice chat. It’s a break in the insanity of the day, and it’s really nice to just talk to a friend. Friends tend to keep us going. So while you don’t need to call a friend every day, shoot a text. See how they’re doing and let them know how you are. Venting away keeps the years at bay!

Go Outside

You would be amazed at what some fresh air and sunshine can do to your psyche. It can lower your blood pressure (buh-bye hypertension), help you to be more calm (prooobably because of the lowered blood pressure), and it can really help you get past feeling stressed and burnt out. Also, at a time like this, it’s good for keeping the COVID blues away. This is one I still struggle with but I can tell you that when I get out of the house, even just go for a drive in my car, I feel ten times better.

I can hear your thoughts now that this list is insane and that you don’t have time.

Yes. You. Do. There is always a few minutes to do a thing or two for you.

Schedule that time for yourself. Schedule the time to workout, schedule the time to read for five minutes, schedule the time for when you’re going to take a bathroom break BY YOURSELF and guard it with your life.

I hate flying… but those safety instructions hit the nail on the head. PUT. YOUR. MASK. ON. FIRST. Do you know why? Because if you don’t you will possibly and probably pass out before you can finish getting theirs (“theirs” is your kids and in this case your spouse) on.

You are no good to anyone if you don’t take care of you first. I have no shame in telling my kids “no, this is my time for myself” and you shouldn’t either. You have to breathe life into yourself before you have anything to give anyone else.

How do you take care of yourself? 

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Simone Praylow is wife and bestest friend in the world to Otis (better known as Odor) and mom to football and soccer loving Grayson 12, competitive cheerleader Elind, 7 and tantrum expert Ozzy Voltaire, 2. She is a native of New Jersey but relocated to Key West and later Columbia. As an overachiever, she believes learning is the best gift she can give her children and spends much of her time teaching her children at home (Grayson attends school, but the learning doesn't end when he leaves the classroom). Simone finds motherhood and family life are most easily managed by having a system in place for homelife, kids' schedules (including learning, screen time and reading) and meal planning. She is an avid reader who finds books are one of the best ways to unwind at the end of the day. She spends a lot of time boxing and at Pure Barre getting her burn on. You'll often find her buried in a book or on Pinterest getting ideas for her next project or yummy meals for the family menu.

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