AllAboutSelf-Care: 7 Ways to Tend to You
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Written by: T.M. Brunson
Self-care. You hear people talk about it a lot—especially women. Some people are great at it. Other people, like me...not so much.
I used to think it took a special kind of person to pamper oneself all of the time. However, self-care is not always about pampering. It’s about being aware of what your entire body needs—even if it’s just a 30-minute break. I’m a mother of six kids. It’s really important that I take care of myself in order to be there for them.
I know that I should do it; but like a lot of other people, I take care of everyone else first. As long as my family is good, I can get to myself later. That has been my thought process. Now, I know better.
I kick myself once a year when I get a massage around my birthday because I ask myself, “Why don’t I do this more often?”
Here are my 7 easy ways that I want to take care of myself when I finally make the time.
7 - SEE THE GLASS HALF FULL
I use this phrase in order to say: be more positive. Seeing the good in things brings so much more peace to my life (than frequently looking at the negative side.)
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was taught to change my outlook on how I view things. It really helped me to alter my thought patterns, smile more, and laugh more.
Learning how to be more positive is what led me into becoming a candidate to get my master’s degree in holistic health studies. I wanted to start taking care of my WHOLE body—not just the weight that I had put on from having five kids (at the time)—my mind and my soul as well.
Being aware of my breath, my mind, and my spirituality, has really changed my life. It has given me a new outlook on things and has taken most of the negativity out of my life. It also helped me to notice negativity around me and to start weeding out people who attract that negative spirit. I realize that I don’t need that around me. When I surround myself with positive people, the energy around me becomes more positive.
6 - WRITE
Whether you like to journal, type on your computer, write a story, or blog, writing is very therapeutic.
I began writing when I was in high school. (I also read a lot of those romance novels.) I wrote a lot of poetry. It was usually about my high school sweetheart. And that made me smile.
WHAT TO WRITE
You can write about anything that you want. I wrote poetry about love all of the time. Then I stopped writing because life just got in the way. Then, I started writing a book.
Then I stopped because I started having kids. Then I continued that book and even got to chapter four. Then I stopped because of more kids.
Then, one day, out of the blue, I decided that it was time for me to blog. People ask me almost every day, “How do you find the time to do what you do with six kids?”
My answer: I just do what I have to do. Sometimes that means not doing something else (which reminds me...I need to change the load of laundry that I put into the washing machine three hours ago...).
OK, I’m back. Well, that’s the reason why I started to blog. I love to write. And, I like to write about my experiences that I’ve had raising six kids (yes, from the same daddy, because I get asked that question A LOT!).
But you can write about anything. You can write about what you know...about what you feel. You can write a to-do list. You can write a bucket list. Just...write.
For me, it gives me a break from the mundane things like laundry, doing dishes, straightening up after the kids... Right now, I’ve been blogging. In between, I’ve been changing diapers, fixing lunches for kids (#3 & #4), catching up on How to Get Away with Murder, and blowing my nose because I have a cold. I multitask but I try to stay focused on what I need to accomplish.
5 - WALK OR RUN
This actually ties in with my #1 way to take care of myself, but I thought it deserved its own number. I will be the first to admit that I am not a runner. I have had knee problems since I was in high school. (I was a cheerleader and dislocated my knees several times.)
I am more of, what you would call, a walker. lol I like to walk. Do I always do it? No. But when I focus and set my mind to it, I can walk with a purpose.
So, once I set my mind to moving my body is some way, every day, I get pretty good at following it. However, if I take a break...my mind takes over and wants to break all the time.
If you’re anything like me, you know how challenging it is to start something and stick with it. I need to do something for, at least, three weeks straight for it to become a habit. Otherwise, I feel like a failure. And it’s not fun to feel that way, so I try not to even get to that point. As long as I do something—whether it’s walking up an extra flight of stairs, I know that I did accomplished something for me. And, that makes me feel good.
4 - TALK TO/HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS
Whoever said that laughter was the best medicine wasn’t lying.
There are so many times that I’ve felt down and out and one phone call, FaceTime, or Marco Polo with a good friend has 9 times out of 10, picked me up when I felt down. Choosing to be in a good mood is something that means a lot to me—even if others don’t think so. I want to be in a good mood. I don’t like being sad or angry. It doesn’t feel good; however, if I’m feeling that way, sometimes I just need to get through it.
A HIGHER POWER
Just recently, I was feeling sad about something while I was driving home from work. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it; but my close friends can feel my spirit. They can tell that something is wrong. Some try to pressure me into telling them, others respect that I’m not ready to talk about things.
Sometimes, when I feel like this, I take the time to pray. Prayer works (for me). It helps me to feel one with a Higher Power. And, when I’m alone, I can release whatever I’m feeling before I reach my destination. Today, I released tears. They fell fast and furious.
I didn’t understand why I cried when I know that I am comfortable with the reason why I’m on this journey that I am on. However, something inside of me just needed to be released; and, I let it go. (I almost made a Frozen reference, but I refrained.)
Talking to or hanging out with friends can help you to set aside a part of your life that may be a little...complicated...and enjoy another part of your life with people you care about.
3 - VACATE OR STAYCATE
This one is a little more challenging for me. Due to financial reasons, I am not able to go on as many vacations (or staycations) as I used to. When I had no kids and more money, I splurged on a lot of things. I went to the spa (more than once per year). I went to the beach almost every weekend. I used to lay in the sun for hours and fall asleep as I listened to the waves crash on the beach. That was my happy place.
I haven’t seen that happy place in two and half years. I moved back to New Jersey out of necessity. I don’t regret it. Even though things aren’t where I want them to be, it is necessary for me to be in this place at this time. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.
And, it is for that reason that I know that when I do have the resources to go on a mini-vacation, a long vacation, or even a staycation, I will take the time to do it, for me.
ON A BUDGET
And doing things like this doesn’t always have to be on my dime. I go to conferences for work, and I get to stay in hotels where I get to sleep in a big bed and hog all of the pillows! I get to order room service and not have to cook anyone else breakfast...or lunch...or dinner. I get to take care of me. And that’s important.
There was a time when I used to be able to order dinner from a restaurant of my choice when I worked late...or when I used to get a car service home because it was too late for me to use public transportation...or when I used to get driven to the airport to fly across the country for a shoot (for a tv show or commercial).
It seems like a lifetime ago. But those little things that I did for myself made me feel good. They made me feel happy. I just need to find those little moments to make me happy again.
2 - DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS
Sometimes you don’t have to “go big or go home.” Sometimes you just need to remember the little things.
Drinking a gallon of water (or more!) per day can do wonders for your skin. I’ve always heard this, but I’ve also lived it.
When I was exercising on a regular, I drank lots of water. Before I knew it, I was getting compliments on how good my skin looked. Everyone wanted to know my secret. No, I don’t wear makeup. When I would tell people that I was just drinking water, and nothing else, their mouths would drop in disbelief.
Constantly drinking water had me peeing a lot. But for some reason, I had time for that. Now, not so much, which is one of the reasons that I don’t drink as much water as I used to. I have six kids. Who wants to keep going to the bathroom all night when I value the hours that I do get to sleep?
Guess what? If I drank more water, I wouldn’t have to pee as often because my body would be used to it and regulate itself. So, no more excuses! (I’m yelling at myself in a kind way.)
A lot of my friends swear by these. I do believe that smelling certain oils can invoke certain feelings/emotions. Lavendar relaxes me. Peppermint helps me feel fresh (and is a great bug repellant too!) Putting a dab of these essential oils on your wrist or behind your ears is probably better than using any kind of perfume.
MOVE YOUR BODY
I talked about running/walking earlier. But weight training is also important. I learned that from Jodie at the Burbank YMCA. She used to teach a class that I frequented called 30-30-30. We worked on 30 minutes of arms, 30 minutes of legs, and 30 minutes of cardio (not necessarily in that order). It really helped me to tone my body while I was losing weight from my Zumba classes with Shawna or Angel or my weight loss classes and basketball training with Kathy.
One thing that I don’t have a lot of these days is time. So now I have to schedule to do the things that I want to do. But no excuses!
Excuses will keep you, or in this case, me, from doing what I need to do for myself. So, just remember the little things when you are ready to take care of yourself. They don’t take too much effort and you can have champagne tastes on a beer budget.
Now, get ready for my #1 way to take care of myself. Drum roll please...
1 - TAKE A BREAK
This might seem very simple, but sometimes when I’m in a groove, I don’t want to lose my momentum, and one hour will lead to two, then to three. The next thing I know, it’s lunchtime and I had been going nonstop since I got to work—so much so that I hadn’t even gone to the bathroom.
It’s not good for my bladder or for my mind. I learned a hard lesson after Baby #5. Bladders get weak. I thought that was just for “old” people. Guess what? It’s not.
THE MAN WITH A PLAN
When you don’t take the time to go to the bathroom (or wait until the last minute, like most of us do), those pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, rectum, small intestine and uterus weaken. Thank God for Arnold Henry Kegel. If you haven’t been acquainted with him and his exercise, now is the time to get to know each other, intimately.
Kegel was an American gynecologist who founded the Kegel exercises to help with genital relaxation. It makes sense, to me, that a gynecologist developed these exercises. What boggles my mind is that it wasn’t a woman who founded it.
Nevertheless, after #5, I found myself not making it to the bathroom all the time—like how a little kid who’s learning how to potty. I was like, WTF???!!! I thought the first time was just a fluke accident; but when I had to go to the bathroom again and I ran upstairs to go, I started peeing right before I opened the bathroom door.
And this happened over and over and over again. I finally started reading up about it and decided to do some Kegel exercises. I do them whenever I’m thinking about it—wherever I am. I’m doing them right now. lol
For more information on how to strengthen those Kegel muscles, click here.
So, take a break to pee, get some fresh air, take a walk, or sleep. Whatever you do, just BREAK. Give yourself that time. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 30 minutes. You deserve it. And so do I.