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I admit, I despair of those articles telling me all the things I must, should, or could be doing for myself.
Take 15 minutes, practice mindfulness, reach out to friends, take a bath.
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They are all great ideas, they are not selfish or outlandish, and they sound so do-able.
But they’re not.
Not for me.
I am a little jittery already, and taking time to smell the roses just… makes me uncomfortable.
Those self-care ideas still feel selfish, even though I know they’re not.
Or they feel like tasks: things I need to remember, maintain, or organize.
And before I could take a bath, I’d have to clean the tub. Boo.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some alternate self-care strategies!
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I have, and they fall into three general categories: incorporate, schedule, outsource.
Incorporate nurturing things into your life.
After finishing a huge project I paid myself with luxurious flannel sheets, and every time I use them it is a treat for both eyes and skin.
Add a scent to your nighttime routine.
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Or a luxurious soap to your morning routine.
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“Surround yourself with” sounds like an enormous task of planning and commitment to me.
Instead, find one image that you love.
It could be a place, a trip, a person, a color, a dream.
Something that you will see and smile.
Then, put it where you will see it.
Or plant a perennial — my lilac tree looks good, smells good, and throws some shade.
Done once, enjoyed daily.
Schedule the things that get you through the week.
If you are reading this, you probably know that I love Mondays because it’s moms’ night out.
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Every Monday, rain or shine.
And it must work, because our families respect it and make sure it happens.
Lunch, massage, a britcom, playing cards, a knitting or exercise class, a drink, or Wednesday evening gardening.
Schedule it once, enjoy it regularly.
Outsource what you can.
Start by getting your kids to do whatever age-appropriate chores they can.
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Getting my kids to take out the garbage and recycling, and wipe and put away dishes, was far more gratifying and stress-reducing than I imagined.
And Thing 2 loves food prep: retrieving, washing, slicing. She loves setting the table. Thing 1 loves lighting the candle if we have one.
It all adds up, and she chatters through the whole thing to the “audience” of her imagined cooking show.
Maybe you have someone who does your taxes, teaches your kids an instrument, or cleans your house.
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And if you are juggling food sensitivities, diets, picky kids, or newly declared vegetarians– you can also hire an experienced researcher and planner to work with you on streamlining your family meal. Me! 🙂 We can work together to get mealtime back on track.
Visit my website to see details on my short course on Feeding the Finicky and my more intense family meal overhaul called Kitchen Coaching. And as always, pop on over to Facebook to catch daily tips and quips.