Self-care has a reputation for being long, leisurely baths, extended time without kids, or expensive luxuries like massages and manicures.
Let’s get rid of those ideas right now. While those things can be a part of self-care, they pale in comparison to other, more long-lasting endeavors.
When practiced intentionally, self-care will replenish, restore and renew your soul, one act at a time. Those acts have a cumulative effect. That’s why I really want you to hear me on this. You need to take time for yourself. As I’ve said before, and I’m sure I’ll say again, taking care of yourself is the most selfless thing you can do. How? When your cup is full, it spills into the way you parent, how you relate to your husband, your desire to invest in friendships, your view of God, and your involvement in the community. On top of all that, incorporating self-care into your routine will give you the confidence to become who you are created to be.
So, how do you incorporate self-care into your busy life, especially with the kids home this Summer? By, taking advantage of the natural rhythm and routine of your day.
5 Realistic Ways to Practice Self-Care This Summer
Just say no to entertaining your kids all day, e’ery day.
The obvious choice is to sign your kids up for as many VBS’s and camps as you can find. No, I’m just kidding. Those are great, but you don’t need an escape. Here’s why.
Research shows that sometimes being bored is exactly what kids need. Letting your child occasionally work through boredom motivates creative problem solving. In fact, in an article for psychology today, Michael Unger, PhD says,
The antidote to boredom is to provide children with an environment that lets them experience autonomy (the ability to work a little on their own), control (the right to have a say over what they do), challenge (a small push beyond their comfort zone), and intrinsic motivation (the motivation comes from inside them).
What this means for you is you do not need to be on all Summer long. Just say no to entertaining your kids all day everyday.
Regarding an environment that allows your kids to experience autonomy, this next tip is applies.
Set up a self-serve area in the pantry for breakfast and snacks
Whenever I’m organizing for a family with young kids, I always recommend setting up a self-serve area in the pantry and fridge. Only include mom-approved foods, and set them within reach. With some modeling (training), this system should be self-sustaining. I’d even suggest letting the kids help set it up. Again, this gives them a sense of ownership in the system and feeling of belonging in the household. It also gives you a break from being on kitchen duty all. day. long. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Keep your evening reset routine
Summer comes with more messes. More laundry, more dirty dishes, more dirt tracked in the house, more toys scattered across the floor. That’s the kind of stuff that used to make me feel so put upon. Can’t I just have a clean house for a few minutes? Why am I the only one around here who does anything?
Use an evening reset routine to put belongings back in their places, clear the counters and put the throw pillows back on the couch. All hands on deck for this.
Let there be chill days
These are my favorite kind of days. You know the ones. You wake up whenever because you don’t have anywhere to be. Then, you just take the day as it comes, letting it find its own rhythm.
I think the key to success with chill days is letting your children know ahead of time. That way they won’t spend all day wondering, and asking, “what are we going to do today?”
Discover self-care in nature
Sunshine and nature is downright healthy for everyone. Maybe don’t go out during the heat of the day, or if you do, spend it in the pool or at the beach. You can also wait ’til evening when it cools off a bit, and dine al fresco.
I personally love rocking on the front porch at night. Other ideas might be having a picnic, cooking out, going on a bike ride, taking a nature walk, reading under a tree, tending to the garden, or just running through the sprinklers. (That was such a treat when I was a kid. Remember slip and slides?)
Just making these simple changes in your routine will give you more time and energy to relax and enjoy your Summer. Your kids will benefit, too!
Happy Summer, and see you in class,