By Rustina, Contributing Writer
You feel guilty every time it happens. You start to feel yourself getting down, running out of steam – not cleaning like you once did, not taking care of yourself like you once did, not addressing the kids the way you once did, but you know you need to start doing these things again. But you are just so exhausted. Maybe it isn’t from lack of sleep, but from lack of self. You need to remember yourself. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. And you need to not feel guilty about that! You deserve it. Everyone deserves to take care of themselves.
I was in that place the last few years, ok, still in it sometimes. It used to be easier somehow, but after I lost my dad. It was like the world kept moving, and I didn’t know how to get back on the ride. I focused on my kids and helping my mom. That helped for a long time, but I started to feel so run down and so out of place. This eventually started to slow down even my focus on the kids.
I contemplated the old saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and began focusing on filling my own cup once in a while. This is something that looks different for everyone – and that’s ok! We all have different priorities, morals, and desires in life, so this should look different for each of us! Some moms may need that time away at the spa, and some may need a warm shower and salt soak. Both are great ways for one to recharge. Neither is a “better way”; they are just two different ways. Either one can help the mama recharge and reconnect to herself. Not everyone wants fancy and expensive, and therefore, doesn’t need to have that. Don’t let anyone tell you how you have to do it.
I hear people talk about jealousy a lot and suggest that people have to want more. They list all these fancy things like Cadillacs and Paris trips to be jealous about. Those aren’t in my list of things I want, so I haven’t experienced jealousy over that. A collection of scoby hotels, a loving network of friends and family, or a huge organic garden that is nicely weeded – now, that will get jade in my eyes!😅 We want different things, and we need different things.
Here are some of the ways that recharge and reconnect to my tired soul:
#1 Wear “clothes” – you know what I mean – set aside the jammy pants and put on the clothes that leave your kids confused about if they can keep playing or have to go get their shoes to go to town! If I feel ready for the day to go anywhere, then it helps my attitude towards getting something more done.
#2 Do my hair. I have medium long, curly hair so, it was in a weird bun a lot. It feels nice to have it down though – it relieves so much weight and pressure. The lymphatic system in our head can get just as congested as our legs and arms. If ponytail hair gives you a headache, try the facial massage linked here in DIY: Lymphatic Massage. I use a simple shampoo, some light oils, flaxseed gel, and just scrunch it. This lasts for about 3 days (the last day is usually a hair clip kind of day).
#3 Care for my face. This goes with the lymphatic massage as well. When my face feels clean and soft, I just feel fresher. I love using a coffee scrub, prebiotic face mask, and a simple moisturizer. I don’t go all out on expensive products or use the latest acids, but I do like to try things from Earthley’s all natural skin care line.
#4 Do bath soaks. I love just laying in salt baths or herbal baths. After the kids are in bed, I go into the bathroom and start the steaming water. I keep thinking a cold bath would be beneficial, but still working up the nerve for it! There are herbs that help with relaxing muscles and relieving some of the congestion also. I usually don’t add a lot of essential oils though (did you know the trick to safely diluting them in the bath?). My favorite package of herbal bath teas are Earthley’s Detox Bath and Soothing Herbal Bath.
#5 Support my body with minerals and antioxidants. I try not to do a lot of supplements if I can help it, but the ones I do are whole food sources. I use a magnesium lotion (or DIY) , lymphatic tincture, super food powder (20 Super Foods (and Why You Need Them), and liver support. If you are at ground zero not taking any supplements, then it can help to start with electrolytes and adaptogens first. That helps balance your mineral levels well and start coping with stress better so you can focus on your next goals.
#6 Breathe. I know that sounds funny to some, but it is really important! I struggle to breathe right. I am a shallow mouth breather. Give me my badge of shame 😬. I have to work on remembering to breathe deeply and through my nose. Why is that important? First, lymphatics! Our diaphragm (the belt of muscle beneath the lungs) is one of the main sources of movement for our lymphatic vessel flow). The more we keep that flow going, the more toxins and waste we expel from our bodies. This helps us feel better and more energized. Lymphatic system is a key component in many issues like hormone balance and liver congestion.
#7 Have my creative outlet. I don’t like how that has been taken to mean joining a class, going to wine and paint date nights, or feeling pressured to have an amazing skill that you can post about on social media. Those things are great, but it’s ok to not want to do those things too. Painting is fun, but I don’t have wall space anymore – and I struggle with getting rid of things with any amount of sentimental value! So, I just don’t do that. For me, I like to keep my creative outlet simple. Some days that means sewing some probably-only-ever-fit-for-my-eyes Mama Cloth, redoing our backyard cat coop or bunny habitats, and it might even mean writing stories.
Anything that gets your brain thinking about something outside of a normal day and makes you happy counts. Those are the important things. It can be gardening, baking, woodcrafting, wildcrafting, or anything – don’t let society define our creative outlets!
There are so many different ways to care for ourselves, and not everyone needs to have the same things. Every time I hear people tell me or another mom how they are supposed to spend time away from their kids and save money to go to the spa, I get this image of a borg cube in my head. We don’t have to assimilate to one need or have one way to recharge. Just like how we all learn differently, we all recharge differently. Self care is about the individual that you are and your needs. Society doesn’t get to choose what you need.