SALT LAKE CITY — Mother’s Day is full of flowers, chocolates and with any luck, breakfast in bed. But alas Mother’s Day only comes once a year. So here are five simple ways to give yourself the love all year round, one week at a time.
1. In-home spa day
Ideally we would go to a professional spa, but sometimes this simply is not in the cards. So create your own spa at your home. First, set the mood with some candles, essential oils, music and dimmed lights. Depending on the time you have, this may be just painting your toenails with enough time for them to dry or a pedicure with lotions and a facial treatment. We are doing this to reduce stress and remember what it’s like to just be you. Take this time to tell yourself how wonderful you are and unwind from the busy week. Try to do something like this each week to de-stress and rejuvenate your energy levels.
Getting out and doing something physical is a great way to reduce stress and feel healthy. Make sure to stay within your limits. But doing a little exercise each week can have great results in the long run and keep your mind focused. Taking the kids in the stroller for a walk, bike riding, swimming, hiking, kicking the soccer ball around the yard, yoga (look for yoga baby classes), dance classes or running are options to get you moving.
3. Get away
Remember when you could go get a coffee without a diaper bag, car seat and toddler tugging at your clothes? Yes, that’s a faint memory for me too. But spending a little time as an independent human being is very important. Being a caregiver is stressful, and we need some downtime or it can become overwhelming. If you take this time for yourself you can come back refreshed and ready for the next challenge. So get out and do something for yourself away from being a caregiver that will help you feel rejuvenated. It could be as simple as taking a drive by yourself, or a few hours for a movie.
Traditionally we think of timeouts as being only for children, but adults need them just as much as kids do. Often if we would have taken a proper timeout we would have avoided escalation of a regrettable argument. So set yourself up a timeout station. Pick out a spot where you can sit without being interrupted. For me this is a specific chair in my kitchen. Then pick out ways to calm yourself such as magazines, a simple project, lotion, essential oils, notepad to draw or a journal. You don’t have to take a lot of time, so set a timer for five minutes and mellow out. The nice aspect of you getting a timeout is your children are also getting a timeout, so everyone involved gets an opportunity to cool off. Your timeout station should always be ready to go, whether you use it once a month or several times a day. Don’t think of a timeout as a negative thing, instead think of it as a mini vacation for a busy parent balancing a crazy world.
5. Treat yourself
It is guilty pleasure time. That means rich chocolates and a romantic comedy movie. But this is a bit predictable, so start thinking outside the box. Try making your favorite meal, a cup of tea, and curl up with a great book. Or if you can swing a whole day, take your girlfriends to go shopping at the outlet shops, with a lovely cup of coffee and get lunch with cheesecake dessert. The idea is to focus on you and get the stress relief you so deserve.
Jessie Shepherd, MA, ACMHC, specializes in assisting children, adolescents and parents to overcome life's challenges. She is the director of youth services at Life Stone Counseling Center. Learn more at www.lifestonecenter.com.