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I love my family more than anything. Really, truly. I’d do anything for them.
But you know what’s funny?
Sometimes what they need from me – more than anything else – is for me to take care of myself.
It sounds a little backwards – I mean, how does taking care of myself benefit them? But it’s absolutely true.
When I don’t take care of myself, I feel a little more short-tempered. I feel less confident. I feel less happy overall.
When I’m feeling those things, it rubs off on my whole family.
Sometimes it feels like a cruel joke that when I’m stressed out, my son in particular starts acting out more, but overall, I’m thankful for the reminder. I’m glad to be reminded of how important it is that he sees an example of a happy, well-adjusted mother (you know, for the most part – because nobody’s perfect.)
My husband needs me to be happy, too, because if I’m not happy, he feels like he’s failed. It doesn’t really matter what’s making me unhappy – he feels responsible.
That whole “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is ridiculously true.
That being said, I sometimes have a hard time thinking of things to do for myself… especially because I’m both a stress-spender and a stress-eater, and I have a limited budget and don’t necessarily want to gain 100 pounds.
18 Ways To Care For Yourself Without Spending a Fortune
- Take a bubble bath. A bath bomb from Lush is only $5-6 and totally worth it. I’ve heard their bubble bars are even better but I haven’t tried them yet, so I can’t speak to that.
- Read a book. I love reading. If you’re not sure what book to read, scour Pinterest for ideas (then check the reviews on Goodreads to make sure you’re not getting a dud.) The cheapest way to do this is using your local library, but buying a new book is sometimes just the thing I need.
- Go work out. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, whether you prefer running, swimming, biking, dancing, crossfit, whatever. Just get active, because it’ll boost your endorphins, which will make you happy, and happy people don’t shoot their husbands (name that movie!)
- Clean or organize something. Call me crazy, but this is sometimes just the thing I need to feel less crazed. Something about getting my surroundings in order makes my brain feel more in order.
- Enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate. I’ve been known to do this even in the summer, because I love hot chocolate. I know, I’m weird. But seriously, pick up some sort of fancy coffee creamer and mix it into some plain hot chocolate, and tell me it isn’t awesome.
- Spend some time on a hobby you enjoy. Personally? I knit and paint. I haven’t knitted in like, months – but I still remember how, so there’s that.
- Meditate. Full disclosure? I totally don’t do this. I mean… Not really. I don’t think taking 10 deep breaths while my son screams in time out counts as meditation, but it does reduce my stress. If you want to get more into it, you can try the Calm app. It’s free and helps you meditate more frequently. Even if it’s just during time-outs (solidarity, sister.)
- Write. I love writing. Hello, blogger! But seriously. I love writing, whether it’s in my art journal, my bullet journal, or a short story (which, no, you’ll never ever see. I’m not a great fiction writer. Maybe one day.) It’s totally soothing to either get my feelings out (in journal form), get my to-do list in order (in a bullet journal), or escape (in a short story :))
- Get yourself a drink. Get soda, Starbucks, or whatever. Just get something you don’t normally get to treat yourself to (and don’t you dare share!)
- Call a friend. Get some perspective from someone who understands. Sometimes your problems seem a lot smaller once you talk them out.
- Take a nap. Naps make just about everything better.
- Scream into a pillow. Haven’t done this since you were a teenager? Trust me, it still feels good.
- Plan to make your favorite meal for dinner. Forget about macaroni and cheese or whatever. Buy yourself some sushi (or whatever, I know this is a list of cheap things… but you’re worth it. Treat yo’ self.)
- Spend some time coloring. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but adult coloring books are totally the big cool new thing now. Or maybe not, but they were like a month ago. Either way, they’re fun. You can also just draw something yourself, but if you’re not much of an artist, this might add to your stress instead. 🙂
- Spend time outside. Something about being outside reduces even the worst crazy-anxious feelings. Usually. But whether I’m sitting doing nothing or reading a book or drinking tea, it totally helps.
- Go to bed early. Does it feel lame sometimes? Yes. But does it make me wake up feeling like a Disney princess? Totally.
- Rent a new movie. When’s the last time you watched a movie you wanted to watch – not one chosen by your husband or kids? That’s what I thought. Get your butt to Redbox and pick up one you’ve been wanting to watch (plus some candy, popcorn, and soda because, why not.)
- Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. I last did this about 4 months ago, and prior to that I don’t think I’d done it since I was pregnant. Because I do this so rarely, it feels like a real treat. 😉
Whatever you do, just remember to take care of your mental health, ladies – you’re important too!
What’s your favorite way to chillax?