If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a big advocate for self-care.
Self-care can come in many shapes and sizes, depending on your personality and what you like to do. But I think the main ingredient of self-care is to do something that nourishes your soul.
It took me a while to figure this out, especially as a first-time mom.
I would go out and get a pedicure or massage; or I would go to the library and read a book.
At first, these outings were working out for me and I felt great and refreshed upon returning home. But after a while, I was no longer getting the same benefit, and I didn’t know why.
I felt restless, like I either needed more time, or I needed to do something else, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
It wasn’t until I started to listen to myself, to dig deep and figure out my true desires, that I was able to transform my self-care routine and make it something that fulfilled me from the inside out.
This self-discovery journey I’ve embarked has been so rewarding that I love sharing with other mamas my experience, so they too can figure this out in a way that works for them.
One of the things I’ve learned is that I still want to incorporate some of those experiences in my self-care routine, even though they are not the only things that nurture me. Nevertheless they still play a role in my overall well-being so I make time for them as well.
Aside from a personal retreat I attended last year, I have not taken an entire day to myself, from morning to night since. And to be honest, it actually hadn’t occurred to me to do this, until my husband gave me a certificate for a day off as a Christmas gift.
I placed it on the fridge right away, and yet here I was, 6 months later, and I still had not taken advantage of it. It even had an expiration date of March 31 to make sure I would use it, and the date came and went and the certificate just stared at me every time I had to open the fridge.
If I’m being honest, I ignored it mostly because I couldn’t figure out what I would be doing for an entire day, by myself, out the house. It seemed like torture actually, so I just disregarded it.
Fast forward to summer, and I realize I haven’t done any of those self-care activities I enjoy so much in a while. I had been busy with summer activities and therefore I put aside my personal self-care activities for the time being. Big mistake.
I started to feel restless, annoyed, like I need something but didn’t know exactly what it was.
I check with myself and realized I’d been missing some much needed time off with myself, and remembered I still had the certificate. Score!
I thought, what the heck, I’m sure it won’t be so bad! Besides, I really need this time so here goes nothing! Definitely not the most exciting way to start a date out with yourself…
So I made plans to go out when my husband was off and announced I was using my Christmas gift. He did honor it even though it was expired which was awesome (go hubby!). 🙂 I told my son I wouldn’t be home until after he was already in bed so he knew what to expect.
After a few extra hugs there I went on what seemed a super long, day off.
I started the day with a hair appointment. Nothing better than starting the day with a bit of pampering!
On a side note, my hair stylist is very talented and nice, and I love going to her. But the best part of my time at the salon is when she gives me a hand massage while I’m enjoying a scalp treatment. Heaven!
From there I decided to go to the movies. I went to an independent theater that serves amazing vegan dishes and watched Wonder Woman. The food and the experience were amazing! Not a bad movie either 🙂
After the movies, I went to a museum where they have the most amazing gardens by a river. I took a long stroll through the gardens, took a seat at one of the benches, and spent some quality time with myself.
I had made plans with a friend earlier in the week to meet for dinner. I couldn’t believe at this point that my day was almost over already!
We had a very nice dinner at a restaurant I had been wanting to try for a very long time. We were able to catch up and relax, and I wasn’t feeling rushed to get back home because I had already set the expectation with my son that I wouldn’t be home until past his bedtime.
Once arriving home, my son was already asleep so I got to spend some time with my husband.
I have to say, this was the most glorious day! And I couldn’t believe it took me so long to do it.
So now I’m looking to add an entire day off to my self-care routine, at least once a month.
I felt so refreshed, inspired and ready for anything after this invigorating experience. The effects of this outing actually lasted for many days to come. I felt more present at home, more focused and overall relaxed.
I recommend it to all mamas to do this at some point and experience it for themselves.
A few tips for your day off:
- Make loose plans – figure out some things you’d like to do but also be guided by how you feel throughout the day
- Think of those things that you love but don’t get to do on a regular basis and try to do them on this day
- Meeting with a friend or friends is always nice and will allow you to cultivate friendships that are important to you
- Don’t be afraid to try something new: going to a restaurant or the movies by yourself for the first time, etc
- Use this time to disconnect from social media and emails
- To make sure this happens, select a date and add it to your planner just like an appointment
Some ideas of what to do on your outing:
- Go to a park and read a book or do some journaling
- Go to the movies
- Visit a museum or a touristic attraction in your town
- Get a designer drink at an outdoor café and people watch
- Get a massage, facial, nails done
- Take a yoga class
- Browse a bookstore
- Try a new restaurant
- Go shopping
- Go to the symphony
- Take a walk in nature
- Meet a friend for something fun
The possibilities are endless! I would love to hear from you how you would spend your glorious day off. 🙂