Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?


No way around it.  This mothering stuff is not for the faint of heart.  And there is no insulating yourself from being knocked off-center sometimes.  I had one of those days, last week.

Part of my re-centering was having a good long (ugly) cry with a dear soul-sister friend who held space for me to just be cared for and work through it a bit.

As we were sitting on her steps, I brilliantly recalled a little bumper sticker wisdom.  Have you heard of the saying,

“Thermometers react to the temperature, thermostats control the temperature.  Which are you?”

It’s a good one, huh?  But here’s the thing.  There’s a lot more meat here than first meets the eye — particularly for parenting.

Let’s start with kids.

Kids are supposed to be thermometers.  It’s how they are wired from the start.  They don’t have the capacity to regulate their outer environment very well.  But they are experts at receiving the energy, tone and “temperature” from those around them.  In fact, they are constantly trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing by watching, modeling, and exploring their reactions to the world around them.

So, thermometers are reactionary and they have no internal regulation system. 

Think about what happens when kids are in tense or anxiety-filled situations.   Or when they are tired or hungry or it is just too hot outside.  They are receiving the temperature around them, and when we are keyed into their reactions, we can tell that they need support in cooling off because they can’t do it themselves.

It is in their nature to siphon from us the tone and energy of their world.  Ever feel like kids suck you dry?  Well, it’s because they do! (And incidentally, that’s their job.)  They don’t have an internal locus of control yet, and they are feeding directly off of whoever is in their world.

Now shift to the adults.

One of the things that I believe we are meant to do for our children is to help them develop and strengthen their internal locus of control.  Kids are meant to grow from thermometers to thermostats as part of a healthy developmental pattern.

But here’s the rub.  We as parents can’t support this healthy development in our children if WE haven’t crossed over from a thermometer to a thermostat.  And for many adults, we simply weren’t taught how to establish a strong, resilient, healthy internal locus of control — particularly when we are in high-stress situations.

That’s where this gets sticky.  See, no one can be a thermostat when they are stressed out internally.  So the key to being a thermostat in today’s stress-crazed culture is to learn how to maintain an inner calm amidst the storm.

Many of us are adults functioning as thermometers and reacting to the world around us with an external locus of control.

I know, for myself, it felt like I regressed back to thermometer-level once I became a mom and the waters of my life started to boil over day after day after day.

My life as a mom added more stress than I had ever experienced before.  And this stress hit deeper and more intensely than I’d experienced before.

A stressed body and mind CANNOT function as a thermostat.  It’s impossible.  In fact, you can toggle back and forth between thermometer and thermostat, depending on whether you are in a calm state or stressed state.

I believe that as mothers, the most crucial skill we can learn is stress resiliency — how to live and mother from inner calm, deep reserves, and robust resiliency…even when the waters around you feel turbulent and choppy.

So how do we do that exactly?

Especially, when it feels like we are being asked to fix the plane while it is in mid-flight?

Oh, I’m thrilled you asked!  It’s really the crux of the work I do, of what transformed my own life (and still does).

Remember my thermometer meltdown I talked about earlier?

I’ll never promise you that you won’t get off-center.  You will — it’s a guarantee.  But, I am seeing the radical difference in my own life of what happens when I have strong supports in place to keep myself course-correcting before I spiral so far out of control that it can take weeks or months or years to pull myself back together.

Whereas, before, I wasn’t equipped when the warning signs hit.  This time, it felt different.

  • I spend time with a close friend that is 100% there for my best interest — I felt safe, I felt heard, and I felt cared-for.
  • I made sure I didn’t give in to caffeine or excess sugar — which I know adds to my anxiety and inner chaos. Instead, I went for the calming foods that I know work for me.
  • I gave myself full permission to cry it all out when I needed to.  I spent time outside in the fresh air. I brought in some stress-reducing mind-body-breath exercises, which turn on the calm, from the inside out.
  • The next day, I opted for a long walk after a heart-to-heart talk with my husband.
  • I paid attention to what was really happening in my internal conversation, what triggers were set off, and how much of that was baggage from my own past and not the truth of the situation.
  • I tried to speak kindly to myself and reminded myself over and over again (with the help of my husband) that we are just muddling our way through this parenting thing like everyone else, stepping out in faith and doing our very best.

And it lifted.  And I’m feeling a whole lot better.  I feel more equipped to get back in the saddle and regain my thermostat status. 

That is the power of self-care to me.

It’s why I feel it’s non-negotiable for every mother to be equipped with simple, effective tools to care for and protect her sacred core.  In fact who we are (at the core) is all we ever really have to offer ourselves, our spouses, our children and our world.



118 responses to “Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?”

  1. hilary Avatar

    A little yogic breathing,if I can remember to do it, always helps me.

  2. JenneferJ Avatar

    Listening to music, particularly with a strong steady beat. It helps me get back to my center and calm down.

  3. Angie Avatar

    Prayer, a hot shower and good cry! Sometimes that is all you can do. 😉

  4. Julie Anderson Avatar
    Julie Anderson

    Once a week on Saturdays my husband takes the kids and I read!! I used to clean the house during that time, but during Renee’s interview it hit me that I’m cleaning the house ALL the time. I needed time out to do something that fills me. I love to read and haven’t done it enough since becoming a mom 4 years ago. I feel balanced again after indulging in an hour of uninterrupted reading (usually at a restaurant or coffee shop where I treat myself to lunch or a drink…that helps too!). I’m thankful for that interview and for the wake up that this was a missing and needed part of my life!

  5. Kathie Avatar

    Thanks for the reminder. After a night of severely interrupted sleep this is a good first read and the chance of a prize a happy focus.b

  6. Jessica cox Avatar
    Jessica cox

    My most effective self care is to call my girlfriend and set up a night of goos clean laughs and company. Laughter really is the best medicine.

  7. Martha Avatar

    Lisa, this was an excellent post–one of your best ever (and you’ve had some good ones!). From taking your courses I’ve developed better self-care practices. Right now, what works for me is prayer, sleep, meditation, and sitting quietly with a cup of tea.

  8. Julie Avatar

    A hot soak in the bath and some lavender oil in order to have a good night of sleep – all this helps to wake up and start fresh the next day!

  9. Tracy Avatar

    Self care to me would be 2 hours a week to myself

  10. Penny Avatar

    A long run with a friend followed by an uninterrupted meal then a hot shower and a good night’s sleep. I always feel rejuvenated the next day.

    Loved this post. Thank you!

  11. Sheri Avatar

    Waking before everyone else so that I have some time alone in a quiet house to get centered and think about the day ahead.

  12. Jessica VanSweden Avatar
    Jessica VanSweden

    I try to lie down and do some intentional breathing exercises, or take a long bath with epsom salts and essential oils. Taking myself out for breakfast (when it is a possibility) is helpful too!

  13. Another really thought provoking piece, really resonates with my experience.

  14. Lisa, this post is heartwrenchingly touching. For the husband and wife to be on the same team is God’s design to bring family security to the wife and the children. This often does not happen in families Therefore, other lesser but certainly workable and relief giving solutions must be ramped up to be a thermostat. Thank you for further solutions such as a trustworthy and longsuffering friend, better diet, and permission given to oneself to have a walk or some other uninterupted moments of refreshment. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  15. Natalie G. Avatar
    Natalie G.

    Enough sleep is the best way for me to take care of myself–without it, I have a hard time remembering all the other ways to care for myself.

  16. fabulous post! My most effective self care practice is to take on some creative endeavor everyday. Some words, a drawing, sewing, reDecorating, experimenting in the kitchen… all of these things lift my spirit & allow me to use the other half of my brain. xx

  17. D Berkelaar Avatar
    D Berkelaar

    Running is my best stress-reliever. It helps me get re-centred, and I always feel better after I run.

  18. Wonderful post! For me it would be to wake before everyone else, enjoy a nice cup of tea while enjoying the view outside, saying a prayer, and pondering the day ahead. This gives me the jump start for my day! Although it doesnt always happen with a little one….but I try 🙂

  19. Great post, Lisa! Going for a long walk (without the kids). Fuzz therapy (we have a really cute rabbit who is so calm and gentle, it’s hard to get irritated when I’m holding her). Reading a book (nothing serious or heavy!).

  20. MomOfFour Avatar

    Definitely exercise – if I can motivate myself to do it -I know that a jog or workout on the treadmill, making sure to get my heart rate up and sustained for a decent time really goes along way to seeing me through to being more balanced.

  21. Self-care is a recently learned term for me. I’ve thought of actions like playing with my dog, calling a friend, and making a cup of tea as coping mechanisms (which I suspect puts the “mom” in thermometer).

  22. I maintain balance by getting regular exercise. I like to think of it as my daily medicine. If I get at least 30 minutes of cardio then my mind, mood, and self-esteem are re-set. Being in nature is the most healing, but squats in the living room or lunging down the hallway works some days too. I am flexible about what I can do, but I get myself moving no matter what.

  23. I do yoga and daily gratitudes as self care. I also listen to leaders in self care like Lisa and people like Cheryl Richardson and Christianne Northrupp. I learn from those who I think can help.

    1. Erica Avatar

      Thanks for the excellent post, just had my daughter ask me ” why are you grumpy more than daddy?” that will wake you up in a hurry! Loved reading all the comments and will be exploring some of these to figure out what will help me recenter and not be such a thermostat.

  24. Kirstin Avatar

    I am just learning about self-care. Running, deep breathing and knitting are my current reset strategies.

  25. I have found that a prayer walk does wonders, it is pouring out my heart to God and getting my tension out through a good walk does wonders. It moves the stuff I am dealing with out of my head and into God’s hands. The other bonus is that I get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and that tends to move my heart toward being more appreciative of what I have and the beautiful world that I live in.

  26. Jenny Avatar

    My best practice at self-care changes constantly depending on what I am lacking most. I guess I am saying the basis is being in tune with my own needs. If what I am really needing is sleep, a great meal is not going to fill the need. Also, I find that I have to schedule time to tune in to myself, or I get lost in the chaos of raising children in an unsupportive culture.

  27. Martha Avatar

    My best self-care is weekly yoga class + dinner out (date night).

  28. The best thing that I can do is to speak kindly to myself. Whenever I’m getting all wound up usually my self-talk becomes more and more ugly. I tend to biting criticism whenever I am not being the thermostat that I want to be. I have to actively check those voices in my head and send them in new directions. That’s the only way for me to really keep myself from falling apart.

  29. Debbie Avatar

    I try to remember to STOP and take a few deep breaths.

  30. Heidi Avatar

    What do I love for me? I love reaching for a cup of herbal tea and my journal. Or I pick up my crochet and work on a project for a little while.

  31. Tulsi Becker Avatar
    Tulsi Becker

    Thank you Lisa, for being so real and open in this post. For me what works is practicing intentionality and presence with each of my children. If I’m truly “in” the moment present to them, I am somehow more “in control” of my reacts. Quiet breathing, prayer, and looking out the window (at Creation) also draws me into the present moment.

  32. Katie Avatar

    Swimming. Powering through the water, weightless and strong.

  33. Fresh air. Being outdoors in nature centers me and lightens my spirits.

  34. my daily runs REALLY help keep me sane — practicing controlling my breathing, focusing my mind and body towards a calm and strong state, fresh air and flowing energy — it’s a workout and a meditation in one.

  35. Thank you for all that you do Lisa! Self care….first thing in the morning before i get out of bed, i talk to God and let him know all that i APPRECIATE. I think part of self care is REMEMBERING all of your BLESSINGS. It’s so easy to fall into the place where you think constantly about your problems and dwell on them. I find if i take just a few moments each day to think about and gather up all of the POSITIVES in my life, remember that there were usually hurdles to jump over to get me there, then i learn to expect that and face the hurdles head on, thus becoming the thermostat. I love to journal these experiences to turn back later to see Gods great work!

    1. Great idea Barb to talk to God even before you get out of bed.

  36. Rebecca Avatar

    Swimming. Not only does it help me to reduce anxiety by burning off excess energy but it also feels sort of meditative to me – something about the repetitive strokes.

  37. Thank you for this piece Lisa! You really have a way of reflecting our lives as mommas! Reading your blog is refreshing and a surprising self-care practice for me 🙂 Prayer is a biggie! Things really do get in proper perspective when I pray. My days are also markedly calmer when I start it with a prayer. Yoga and Running also help get my body in order too. And of course, sleep. There is wisdom in the adage “sleep it off.” When I get a restful sleep, I wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world a new!

  38. Anita Avatar

    Lately, I haven’t been feeling well. Low energy and something a doctor has diagnosed as a digestive problem. Stress related. It’s been hard to recondition my reactions as of late. I never used to react to things like I do now. Especially after our second child. Our second is adopted. He is lovely, but a lovely toddler indeed. I take walks in the woods to calm my whole body and ride my bicycle when I can. For me its a deep breath of fresh air. I step outside and take a second if time does not allow me to take that walk. Girlfriends help as well! Nothing like a talk over cofffee! If you are not taking coffee lately, like me then tea is a wonder! Thank you for letting us take a moment….it helps!

    1. Anita.. so sorry you haven’t been feeling well. Toddlers are busy. Nice that you have a girlfriend to have a cup of tea with. I will say a prayer for your tummy right after I send this reply . Erin

  39. Sarah C Avatar
    Sarah C

    There’s a place I just discovered that makes yummy, wholesome food, and I’ve started eating there once a week when I’m out of the house working my wage-job. It is next to some hot springs, so I go soak (when I can) and then head to this cafe to be nourished by someone else and read for a little while. It is my oasis. Otherwise, a good soak is a wonderful space-maker.

  40. Lori L Avatar
    Lori L

    My favorite self care practice is gentle yoga combined with focused breathing.

  41. Heather Avatar

    Talking to a friend is very important to me. I need a little understanding and a lot of laughter.

  42. Great post! Twenty minutes of yoga, a green smoothie or a walk outside do it for me!

  43. Diana Avatar

    Getting a good night’ sleep. Also, reading a book for pleasure when my son naps. 🙂

  44. I started a Healing Mamas Circle 5 weeks ago, where we meditate and recenter ourselves. It has been an awesome guided practice. Just 2 weeks ago, I finally carved out the space in my home and time to turn on some calm meditation music (thank you Pandora), lay down with pillows supporting my head and back. I then bring awareness to my breath and just do nothing. I have a million ideas and to-do lists running through my head and this really gives me the permission to let go and receive and be content and relaxed by doing nothing. I have even started it while my 4 year-old-daughter is around. I invite her to join me, or she just plays quietly.

  45. My morning time when I’m awake before the rest of my family to exercise is probably my best self care practice. It really helps to energize me for the day and put me in a good frame of mind.

  46. Aubrey R Avatar
    Aubrey R

    My most effective self-care practice is having time each day where it’s quiet and no one is talking to me (i.e. needing something from me). We do that during a “nap” time for the kiddos.

  47. A hot bath with some essential oils.. I do this almost every night and just started adding some breathing exercising. I also pray while in the tub.. give it all to God and listen.

  48. Catherine Avatar

    My most effective practice is gardening. It gets me outside and focuses my attention on little gardening tasks instead of my mental diatribes.

  49. GBayer Avatar

    A walk outside, enjoying fresh air and the beauty of God’s creation, and some deep breathing are both lovely, effective self-care practices for me.

  50. Ahhh….self care is essential. I make sure to offer reiki once a week. I read a daily offerings, and once a week while the kids are in school I make sure to take time for me. I will go on a longer run, go take photos, meet a friend for lunch or something like that. As for daily care I need to make meditation more of a practice. I do make sure to always have time to exercise……….BREATHE……take a moment to take some time to just BE in the moment. Thank you for this post. Great reminder!

  51. Carrie Stuart Avatar
    Carrie Stuart

    In adjusting to mommy-ing two lovely girls, it was difficult to find rejuvination time. I find that the times I am the most “on top of the world” are when I’m not thinking so much about me. When I’m thinking of how to please and help others my whole outlook changes and in turn my needs seem to be taken care of. Of course there is always daily exercise , which is an immense help for my mood and outlook as well… It is so easy to be consumed with thoughts of how little sleep I am getting, how busy I am, what I don’t have, how much I need to get done… ect. But the minute I choose to take my eyes off myself, it seems all falls together much nicer and my needs are almost “magically” met.

  52. connie Avatar

    I am learning and practicing some deep breathing 3x’s a day and I love worship music to set my mind, body and soul on the right path. I just recently met with a counselor, who specializes in working with young women who have gone through cancer diagnosis and treatment…this is a new step in healing for me as I am 2 years out from my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

  53. Chris Stalnaker Avatar
    Chris Stalnaker

    I spend time journaling in the morning. Getting all my feelings “out” on paper really helps me to work through to the source of my bad feelings and I often find some enlightenment that, I believe, comes from tapping into my subconscious self during the writing process.

  54. I try for a daily walk outside in the sunlight and fresh air. It really helps me feel refreshed both physically and mentally.

  55. Elizabeth Avatar

    Going to bed early and cooking are my two favorites.

  56. Heather Avatar

    My best self-care is regularly jogging. I go early in the morning and it works wonders.

  57. Corey Avatar

    Taking a moment to read the bible and pray does more for me than anything else.

  58. Brenda Avatar

    Prayer, turning OFF the TV and the computer and the phone, reading a book, having tea and deep conversation with a good friend or getting away to our friend’s stable to enjoy the beauty of nature and to brush, ride and give some treats and love to the horses we take care of.

  59. Running. I can close my mind to everything else and just go blank. Or, I can have some time with my thoughts.

  60. USinDE Avatar

    Yes please! I could always use something like this…

  61. USinDE Avatar

    Oops, forgot my self-care strategies! Ha. Running, walking, sleep, and doing things that are Kind to Myself. (i.e., “load the dishwasher now because you will thank yourself later when you are really really tired” … or … “don’t use your free hour today to go running again – take a nap instead because your body just feels so darn worn-out”)

  62. Giving myself the grace to mess up & knowing my children are in His care…in spite of my mistakes. Walking away from the direct conflict…taking a deep breath, & asking the Father what to do.

  63. My self care strategies are eating right, getting daily movement in my life, and telling people “no” when I know that I don’t have the time to commit to what they are asking for. 🙂 Thanks for this great giveaway!

  64. I am to finding that meditation Is helping me (a mommy time out) to go center myself and breathe. Also exercise or just putting on music I love and singing or dancing.

  65. Quiet time alone is my best self-care strategy. Once I have that time to think without kids and work to deal with, I decide what I need most at that moment. Sometimes it’s a hot bath, other times a walk, sometimes some crafty time, or some meditation time.

  66. I love it, you hit the nail on the head. There are sometimes I definitely am a thermometer when I should be a thermostat!

  67. Paula J. Avatar
    Paula J.

    getting enough sleep is the best thing I can do to stay in the thermostat zone

  68. Jesukah Avatar

    Always grateful for Jesus and my sister when I need to de-stress and usually shed a few tears.

  69. Taking a nap or going to bed early when I feel like I need it (and not feeling guilty about it!).

  70. Some days something will work great for me, and then on another day, it doesn’t seem to work as well. So I am trying to collect a variety of things that might work. Sometimes, sitting to play the piano, experimenting with a new song works. Other times, that is frustrating, so I try stretching or exercising.

    You totally called me out on the caffeine I was just brewing for my crash! LOL I guess I’ll go make a carrot/cucumber/spinach/strawberry smoothie instead- maybe with a touch of protein powder, and pour the hot water down the sink! :):

  71. Jesse Avatar

    The daily care is eating greens, like a green shake, salad or spinach eggs,and protien snacks to keep me fueled. Then yoga as often as possible to keep my body in balance. This does amazing things for my overall well being.

  72. andrea Avatar

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Just what I needed to hear! After listening to the MAPP interviews, I realized just how important self care really was. My husband and I sat down and made a plan to make it happen. For me, being able to go to the gym is just what I need to recenter myself. I am by myself, listening to *my* music, and I can just zone out and not think about anything except the task at hand. Not only that but, it’s helped me to start losing those unwanted pounds – BONUS!

  73. Sherri Avatar

    What a timely post! I love hot baths and trips by myself to a bookstore as self care!

  74. Cynthia Avatar

    A hot soak in the bathtub with lavender oil, lavender sented candles and soft music playing!

  75. Katie Avatar

    Making sure I get enough sleep really helps me. Not sure how to do that with a waking-up-to-pee 3 year old. We’re working on it.

  76. Darcey Avatar

    Sleep is my priority right now with a 10 month old that doesn’t sleep through the night yet. Other than that I like to listen to Christian radio. It keeps my mind where it needs to be.

  77. Good time reading in the Bible, time to pour out my heart in my journal, good rest, regular showers (that might still mean every other day or so, but that’s okay!) and good eating are things that help me take care of me. Thanks for a chance to win!

  78. Laura Avatar

    My most effective self-care practice is what I am struggling to identify right now! I would say some alone-time, preferably with a book, and a long walk are two things that would do some good and that I should indulge in more.

  79. Arlene Avatar

    Hot tea (even in summer), reading a book that is “just for fun”, naps (when I can get them), singing along with the radio.

  80. Julie Avatar

    Deep breaths, some lavender and a good long sleep.

  81. Julie W Avatar
    Julie W

    I’m learning that going to bed on time (or even early!) and getting a good night’s sleep every night is one of the best forms of self-care for me. A guilt-free nap, when needed, also is important.

  82. Jennifer Avatar

    Letting myself have an hour off to read and drink a good cup of tea. Soaking in a bubble bath and then covering myself in wonderful body lotion. Getting enough sleep!

  83. Christine H Avatar
    Christine H

    My most effective self-care practice is….hmmmm…..would have to be getting outside in nature: pulling weeds, brushing my kitties, spending time with my garden!

  84. Right now, its running. I’m going to give yoga a try, too.

  85. Kelli E Avatar
    Kelli E

    i definitely am in the beginning stages of self care, still trying to figure out what that means for me.

  86. My weekly Sunday night run with a friend is completely re-charging for me right now. I grow in physical strength, I calm my mind and re-direct it to listen to someone else as we visit, and I get good and tired from something other than chasing kids, pets, work and house so I feel ready for them the next day.

  87. Eileen Avatar

    Weeding dandelions, surprisingly. It gives me time to work through some frustrations in my relationships. I’ve been working on my yard for weeks (when the sun is out) and I’ve completed less than 1/10th of the yard. The sunshine feels good too.

  88. Stephanie W. Avatar
    Stephanie W.

    I think i need help prioritizing time for myself so i think this gift would be good for me.
    taking a nap is usually my fall back self care.

  89. Marci Woodfield Avatar
    Marci Woodfield

    My most effective self-care is getting a massage. It gives me a full hour of peace, quiet and relaxation. I always feel ready to get back at it when I’m done.

  90. Shalini Avatar

    I think the best self care for me is doing something creative like sewing or knitting. For me learning to keep silent when I am about to explode at the kids or hubby often just gives me the time to breathe and ensure that I take time to respond vs react.
    Your courses sound just wonderful.

  91. Rainya Mosher Avatar
    Rainya Mosher

    Saying “no” to things I might want (to buy, to have, to eat, to do) but that don’t serve me right now. It’s been the most valuable lesson I’ve learned this year (so far!) and has made a huge difference in my life and the life of my family.

  92. To recenter I breath deeply and watch my thoughts… Noticing the stories I’m telling myself. I remember, this child isn’t giving me a hard time, they are having a hard time and communicating the best they know how. I talk kindly to myself and use positive affirmations.

  93. Corene Avatar

    The best self-care for me is probably a chunk of time away doing something creative; since that’s hard to come by, a 45 minute walk alone is great, too

  94. Ah Lisa, you are always so very wise and gentle.
    My best self-care involves heart-to-heart talks with my husband, writing in my journal, getting outside, practicing self-empathy and forgiveness.
    I don’t always succeed in doing these things to care for myself but it makes such a difference when I do.

  95. Water, sleep and yoga!

  96. Briana Avatar

    A hot shower with no interruptions is my best retreat these days.

  97. holley Avatar

    yoga, walking, reading, praying, laughter, all of these things fill me up.

  98. I am in the process of discovering the best self care practices for myself. Through reading your blog posts, listening to the MAPP gathering and taking your courses I am slowing putting the pieces together. I am sometimes struck still by how long this process has taken me, but I am so glad I have finally been awakened to it. Movement, the great outdoors and a loving friend are a few things that help me to find my center.

  99. Adrianne Avatar

    A cup of tea or a nice, long run outside.

  100. Nicky Avatar

    I find true renewal when I play soft music and write in my prayer journal. I always have the “right” perspective on things after I do this.

  101. Melinda T Avatar
    Melinda T

    Wow! What an awesome post! I feel like it was written for me specifically! I’m reaching my boiling point and your post really calmed me down and made me focus! I have a stubbornly independent 2 year old and a needy 6 year old! Its been a stressful struggle for me juggling everything at once! What helps me is dropping off the girls to grandma’s every weekend and having a quiet house all to myself to relax and recuperate. I can also clean the house quicker without the little one under foot and not complain-me, not the girls! I’ve started writing in my journal again and that helps me express my frustrations as well as see the blessings in our everyday.

  102. Emily Avatar

    When I feel overwhelmed and stressed I turn on praise music! Listening to truth helps me to refocus on Who gives me the grace and strength to be a mom.

  103. Renee Avatar

    Thanks for the peek into what you do in those situations! I’m still working on my response, but I’m finding that space is the best thing for me. If something is going on, I need time and space to think and journal and work it out. I also love reading.

  104. Karen S. Avatar
    Karen S.

    my favorite ways to take care of me is to read a book about spirituality/inner life, have some herbal tea, and just sit quietly to meditate.

  105. My husband and I just recently made a commitment to give me 3 hours a week of complete “Me!” time 🙂 that involves anything from meeting up with a close friend over great food, barre3 sessions for exercise, pampering sessions at the salon, or just going around the mall, tempting myself with all the goodies (books! shoes! clothes!).

  106. Spending hours in a bookstore perusing all the books relaxes me, calms me, lowers my heart rate and really also rejuvenates me. I LOVE to read and take any free time I can to do it, so it motivates me to get things done so I can read more books! 🙂

  107. What an thought provoking post. Self-care has always been so difficult for me, although I am just realizing that I need to practice it to avoid turning to coffee/tea/chocolate. Those are my go-to solutions in the mid afternoon slump and I usually feel more tired and edgy. Thanks for all of the ideas!

  108. Justine Avatar

    I joined a once weekly 2.5 hr. meditation class where I am forced to just focus on me with no interruptions…heavenly!

  109. Susanne Avatar

    Sleep (at night or naps, enough sleep works wonders!), going to our home sauna or taking a hot bath, reading

  110. Beautiful shares–what a great way to enjoy a break in the workday (I’m happily sipping hibiscus mint iced tea now while reading these).

    My sister in law just asked if she could still access the self-care interview we did a while back Lisa and I’m guessing she can? I’ll look for the link or if you have it, maybe share it here?

    And for all who are interested, don’t forget to hop over to The Journey and add your comment there to “What does self-care mean to me?” to be entered to win the $2700 Year of Self-Care Retreat Package to Kripalu: Can’t wait to call the lucky winner on Mother’s Day! 🙂

  111. Thanks for stopping by Renee (and for your book giveaway!)

    Here is the link to Renee’s interview as part of the MAPP Gathering (

    Be sure to sign up to receive all the interviews in the series- they are really powerful! (

  112. My self-care faves are hot yoga, which helps me focus on living in the present moment and doing something awesome for my body (It’s addicting almost!), reading about self-care and good advice on parenting and marriage, and a good night’s sleep! Thanks for this helpful post! 🙂

  113. åslaug Avatar

    A hot bath, iced coffee (the caffeine doesn’t do much, but this became my comfort drink in late pregnancy, in late December(!)) With lots of milk and no sugar. Telling God all of my troubles and tucking myself into bed. And for some reason bread fresh from the oven comes to mind…

  114. I usually just need a few minutes by myself, could be a 15 min power nap or reading a chapter of my book, but to be alone in a room is very relaxing for me.

  115. Rachel Avatar

    Lisa, I missed this post, but wanted to mention something that I accidentally discovered last night. It had been a hard week for me, and DH was tired too. I had not had a chance to shower all day, so I went into the bathroom to have a shower after DH was done. He was in there, finishing up, a jazz station playing softly on the shower radio and using nothing but the night light for light. It was so calm, so relaxing, that I tried it myself. I can’t tell you how therapeutic this was. I’m definitely doing it agin. Leave it to my husband to have a better handle on how to help unwind!

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