Earlier this year, I started a little tradition with myself. On Sunday evenings, after the kids are in bed, the dishwasher is loaded, Monday’s lunches are organized and the weekly meal plan is posted, I take an hour or so for me. It comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes I paint my nails or do a face mask. If the weather’s ideal, I might go for a run with music blasting in my earbuds. If it’s a book club week, I’ll often use the time to make sure I finish the book on time. A key to my relaxation is that I ditch my phone and other screens during this time.
The point is, I’m starting to realize that there are small things that I can do for myself that can make a fairly substantial difference as I start a new work week. I tried to learn how to meditate, but after many attempts, I realized that it just isn’t my jam. My brain is a browser with 891 tabs open at all times and it seems to be beyond my ability to clear out the mental clutter long enough to sit in silence and think introspectively (if I’m doing that, who’s remembering to sign the form in Jacob’s backpack or take the chicken from the freezer to thaw or pick up eggs and bread on the way home?). Funnily enough, I do some of my best thinking during self-care Sunday when I free my mind from distraction and let thoughts flow freely. Instead of being bogged down with commitments or life logistics, I relax and let my mind wander.
It is kind of funny to have to schedule in time to take care of one’s self, but life is hella busy. Over the summer with lots of travelling and company, my ritual went mostly by the wayside, but now with the welcome routine of September and fall and a new school year, I’m getting back into the habit.
Take last night, for example. I made Sunday supper and the four of us sat down (we even used a table cloth!) and had a really nice family meal together. It felt oddly luxurious. I took the time to make a healthy, well-rounded meal. I wasn’t rushed because it was a work day on which other obligations or traffic may hold me up (meaning the kids weren’t over tired and therefore not cranky). We shared a great half hour of conversation and everyone licked their plates, which always gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Spending that kind of quality time in the kitchen and with my family — the self care could’ve ended right there and I would’ve happily embarked upon Monday, but I also snagged a couple hours on my laptop, working on a special writing project (more details to come), which made me feel excited and inspired. I went to bed content.
If you’re not doing it already, find an hour to yourself to do something completely for you, completely alone. If you try it, be sure to come back and comment on your experience! If you’re already practicing self-care, do tell — how do you best enjoy spending your downtime?