My goal everyday is to try to maintain a routine that allows space for self-care. Whether it is waking up early to do my morning routine, or turning off the distractions at night for a calm evening routine, self-care works best for me when I can incorporate it into my daily rhythms.
Sometimes, however, life is busier than usual and my normal self-care routines are not enough to relax and re-energize me. In those moments, I need to take some intentional personal health time off and make a self-care day.
Creating a day that is dedicated to giving you margin to breath and rest is important for any busy person, but even so for moms. Especially in these days. We are often expected to do everything with very little breathing room. A self-care day can help give you the break you need to recharge.
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What is a self-care day?
A self-care day will vary from person to person, but the basis for a self-care day is that it is a day to intentionally slow down and create space to focus on stewarding your mind, body, emotional and spiritual health well.
The important part of the self-care day is to take account of what it is that you need that allows you to relax without numbing the stress that you feel. You ultimately want to feel as if you have released the stress, anxiety, or tension that has built up. At the end of the day, you want to feel ready to face the days ahead!
How to prepare for a self-care day?
Preparing for a mental health day requires a little forward thinking and a commitment to yourself. You must commit to take the day, regardless of what the stresses around you look like. As women we often put ourselves last, and it is easy for us to find excuses to cancel time for yourself because of a feeling of selfishness, or time scarcity.
These thoughts are lies we tell ourselves. You can not love others well if you are living on empty. Recharging is normal, natural, and needed. I for one am a much better mom when I get time to be by myself to gather my thoughts. When I choose to go without break, I often find my patience short and my temper quick. My words are not always filled with the grace my children need, and emotions are often hurt. We can work to avoid these moments with consistent self-care, and intentional self-care days.
Once you have made the decision to commit to a mental health day, then you need to prepare those around you. This will depend on your family structure. I plan my days for self-care around my time off schedule. There are often at least a couple of days every few months where I am off, and the children are in school (a little bit harder now that everything is quarantined and virtual). But traditionally I could schedule a day when I didn’t have to work and my son needed to go to school.
Other ideas to prepare your family for the time that you will take is to enlist help, let your spouse know that you will need time and when. I have found that I am often the hesitant one in requesting self-care time between the two of us. Our husbands often want to help, we just have to ask for it. Other things that you may want to consider when preparing for your self-care day are:
- Are you planning your self-care day during a busy time?
- Do you want to prepare meal menu for spouse if kids are home?
- Will you need to request time off from work?
- Will you be doing your self-care day at home or elsewhere?
- What activities will you do for your self-care day?
What does a self care day routine look like?
Creating a self care day routine can and will look different for different people. A Self care day can look like a day off to spend time at the spa for one person and time spent walking in nature for another. You can create a personal retreat at home or take a mental health day with friends at the beach. The beauty of a self care day routine is it can look like anything that you want it to look like.
The most important thing when designing a self-care day routine is to make sure that the day encompasses emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. You want to make sure that you are enjoying activities that encourage relaxation in multiple areas of your health. This could change with each self-care day you plan.
In determining how to have a self-care day you may want to consider using self-care activities that you enjoy in your everyday morning routine as well!
One month you may have been able to maintain a fitness routine that encourages a healthy physical self-care practice. This month you may focus your self-care day schedule on mental, spiritual and emotional health.
If you have prepared a self-care kit ahead of time, spending time with some of the items in your basket is a great way to organize and create your self-care routine.
Self-care day ideas
The last step in designing a mental health/me day is to decide which activities to include. This can be tricky for some, because when most of us think about self-care we only think of a mani/pedi, and while there is nothing wrong with this version of self-care it doesn’t include the vast variety of activities that self-care involves.
For the extrovert who is energized by social interactions planning a self-care day can include activities like enjoying social time with friends, volunteering in your community, or joining a local book or fitness club.
An introvert may prefer to schedule a day to enjoy quiet solitude with music and a good book, or embrace their creative side and hone their skills in a craft they enjoy or learning a new hobby.
If you are at a loss for self-care day ideas here are a few to incorporate into your schedule:
- Sleep in
- Go to brunch with friends
- Spend time in nature
- Take time to pamper yourself
- Catch up on reading
- Try a craft
- Prayer and meditation
- Deep breathing
- Soak in the tub
- Read a book
- Walking, hiking, biking
- Take a class
- Join a running club
- Start a goals journal
- Take a phone break
- Practice gratitude
- Enjoy a healthy meal
- Go to a park
- Organize your home
With so many different options it can be a bit overwhelming determining where to start with creating the perfect self-care day for your needs but remember a two simple things.
1 – You do not have to do everything! This day is meant to be a personal retreat for you to become less stressed. It is not meant to be a day that has to run smoothly. The most important thing is to remember its all about relaxation. If an activity is causing you anxiety. Give that one up for something that is more soothing and calming.
2 – Schedule more than one a year! I like to have at least one self-care day every other month. Ideal for me is one a month! These days change month to month, but they are always something I look forward to. Depending on the busyness of life at the time of the scheduled day, I may plan for a half day, or include more practical activities, but the day itself, is hardly ever changed