Like Stacey last week, I’ve been a little under the weather this weekend so I’m posting a link to a new interview I did for Psych Central about practicing self-care. The above phrase is one my husband and I came up with for a talk I gave to new moms, although all of us (including me) can benefit from being reminded.
Here are some recommendations from the interview, which you can click here and read in its entirety.
Practice self-care in intervals.
For instance, take 15 minutes for yourself, twice a day, said Sanford, co-author of the book Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. “Don’t do the laundry, make dinner or read your email.” Instead, take that time to close your eyes and breathe, read a magazine or take a shower, she said.
Mindfulness is “paying attention to the present moment on purpose, without judgment,” Sanford said. And you can do this with any activity, at any time. For instance, when washing the dishes, don’t think about your to-do list. “Just pay attention to the sensory experience” of doing the dishes. When playing with your child, focus on the experience of being with them, she said.
Sanford also suggests her clients try this breathing exercise once in the morning and once during the day, along with this body scan as they lie down to sleep. One client, who had a baby in October, sets her morning alarm for five minutes earlier to practice the breathing exercise.
Ignore the naysayers.
Some people might disapprove of you taking time out for yourself. Remember that others’ objections are more about the discomfort within themselves than your actions, Sanford said. Instead, “listen to your inner wisdom,” and tune into your own feelings. Does an activity feel nourishing to you? Do you feel recharged?
The next time you feel guilty or selfish for practicing self-care, remind yourself that “you matter too, and denying your own needs for a prolonged period does not serve anyone,” Eder said. As Sanford noted, self-care isn’t selfish, it’s “self-preserving.”
What wil you do for self-care this week? How will you make it happen?