Skeleton Self Care in Challenging Times
I hesitated using the word “challenging” for this post because there are also many joyful, exciting, fun times in our lives that require so much energy, time, and focus that we run the risk of ignoring basic self-care needs which can lead to burnout and sickness. But ultimately, it tends to be the times that are laced with challenge that head us toward overwhelm and breakdown.
When the times begin to really feel intense, I remind myself to stay committed to a bare-bones daily plan for my basic upkeep.
When I say bare-bones, I literally mean what must you try to do on a daily basis to give yourself some support and nourishment toward staying healthy, GIVEN WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW IN LIFE. This is so key. For me, daily stretches of quiet time, long walks in nature, robust home cooked meals daily, and weekly massages would do worlds of good, keeping me feeling in top condition. But realistically, I have so much on my plate, those goals would be abandoned in a microsecond if I tried to make them daily objectives.
For the next month, as the last bits of renovation and our move are completed (with two little ones in tow — one of which is going through a crazy NO SLEEP stretch), these are my “skeleton goals”:
- Take daily vitamins and cod liver oil supplements.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water.
- Prioritize rest whenever I can. (Yes, even if this means a room does not get packed or a blog article does not get written).
- Get a shower in daily. (I am shocked, as a fairly new mom, how many times this is a difficult thing to accomplish!)
Now to be fair, there are days just getting these 4 things in feels too much — and other days when I am able to make healthy meals and steal away some time for a walk or a cup of tea…but I don’t set myself up for expecting more than my life will realistically allow.
I often return to the bare-bones self-care list at all sorts of times in my life, whether they are particularly challenging or not — because to give yourself clear and very doable bottom-line goals that work toward keeping you well, keeps you in the habit of seeing your own health and wellness as important. And it tends to help you stay above sea-level when the going gets tough.
What are your bare-bones self-care needs, right now in life?
Oh I like the new design, very pretty!
One thing I really need every day is some quiet/alone time. Exercise too, but since I hate exercise that one is harder! If I get some alone time I am a much nicer person to my husband and son. In fact my DH is sending me out today to have a whole day to myself. I am so excited!
I love your new header!
Your posts are always SO thoughtful and seasoned. I look forward to reading them. On my survival list is making sure I am ready for my day (fully dressed) before my kids are up. This sets me up for success in my day, rather than feeling like I’m already trying to catch up.
Hang in there during your transitions!
Wow, lots going on in your life these days! I like the idea of breaking it down to the bare bones of self-care for those times when life is just crazy…a good way to deal with the stress. I had to laugh about the shower one, I have always wondered why it is so hard for a mom to get a shower every day! Doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal, but I agree, it is!
I’m not sure what my bare bones would be, although time alone ranks pretty high up there…seems like if I can get an hour or so kid-free and quiet, it does wonders.
Like the new look, btw, pretty picture up there! 🙂
Anything in the self care area seems to fall to the bottom of my priority list. Thanks for this great reminder. (Seems like I shouldn’t have to remind myself of this one – but I will add flossing to my list!)
The site makeover is sweet and summery…
Oh yes Ladies– Time alone…that is so essential. I agree.
Jamie–You know, I really do notice a difference in my day when I am up and dressed (even teeth brushed!!) before my kids– it absolutely sets me up to be more on top of things.
Visiting your site for the first time- how great! I follow this “to do” list pad: I will do ONE thing today. That way I set myself up for success rather than disappointment. Also, having some time to myself early in the morning before my daughter wakes up is a biggie for me. If I shower, that’s a bonus. I’ve learned to view it as a luxury.
I think one of the most important ones for me is remembering to take vitamins. A couple of days later when I have no energy is when I finally remember I’ve been skipping them.
My skeleton list:
– brush teeth
– take medications
– snuggle partner and cat
Lisa – the beauty of skeletal lifestyles (even temporary) is they really narrow into focus what is essential and important. Sleep? Important.
Weeding the back corner of the yard? Not so important. Gotta agree vitamins are incredibly important, esp. to moms with kids ages 2 and below!
In truth, immediately i didn’t understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.
I so agree with number 4, as I have 5 month old, I sometimes do not get to shower everyday or one day I forgot to brush till 2 pm. 🙂 This is my 2nd one, so one would think I have learned but life is hard with 2 sometimes. Good reminder to take care of yourself first.
Just discovering your blog and so far it seems lovely. I too identified with that no shower thing, although I’ve moved out of those years now with a 6 & 8 year old. I used to consider my shower such a luxury and it had the added bonus of drowning out any crying that was happening outside the bathroom (when my husband was home of course). Sleep is definitely still on my priority list, but now that my children are older, finding some quality time with them each day is also there–even if it is just 10 minutes of snuggling or reading to them.
My bare bones would be quiet time in the morning with my devotional, and up and ready before the kids.
Please tell me about vitamins. I avoid them because:
1)there are TOO many choices out there and I do not have a nutritional degree and do not know good from bad
2) I have been told that such a very small percentage of the vitamin gets into your system, that I would be wasting my money.
Just tell me what to take. I will trust you and take it!!! LOL.
I came over from Simple Mom — I was attracted by your bio and the name of your site. From what I’ve seen so far, I really like it! Caring for myself has been a challenging thing for me learn, especially in the last couple of years, as we added a new child to the mix.
It sounds like you and your family have had lots of changes and transitions, too. Good luck on your move, and congratulations on your pregnancy!
And thanks for this idea — my bare bones are…
1. take my vitamins and supplements (for my adrenals and allergies)
2. eat good/healthy food every few hours to keep my physical — and emotional — energy up
3. meditate for 20 minutes in the mornings
4. prioritize connecting with my kids over not connecting, even if it seems to take more energy to do so. That’s because I’ve learned that we end up with MORE energy than we started with, due to the peace and happiness we create through the connection. (Here’s an example of what I mean: What We Found.)
Now I’m off to take my vitamins! (yes, I forgot to take them this morning!)
1. Finding a few times a day to have time with no noise, questions or requests for bandaids. … especially when in the bathroom
2. In said noiseless place, be able to TURN OF MY BRAIN and just be
3. Season of juice fast, consistent exercise, and time with Him to ‘reset’
4. Focus to live to enjoy each other, to live from our core desires and to live in anticipation on in expectations.
I just found this website, and this posts. I am going through a period where I feel like I’ve just undone all that I’ve accomplished now that I’ve caught my breath in the whirlwind of raising a 15 month old.
In reading the comments, I think until you really go through something of a big enough magnitude, it can be hard to really grasp what it means to define that skeleton list of basic needs that MUST be met before you can work on goals for your self let alone meet the needs of another.
Sometimes it seems I measure my worth as a mother, friend, partner by how well I meet everyone elses needs … and then realize how few of mine are met.
I’ll add one to this list: SLEEP. I’m trying to learn to satisfy my own need for sleep first, baby’s need will come eventually.
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