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Self-care: More than just a buzz word.

Remember when the Atkins diet was all the rage and carbs were the enemy? Well in this day in age, when moms wear so many hats and try to literally do it all, I declare the new and most evil enemy of them all is (drum roll please) . . . stress!

I'm young(ish), in fairly decent shape and eat well. So why did I land in the ER last year with dangerously high blood pressure? Stress.

Am I being a good mom and stepmom?

Am I keeping the romance alive with my husband?

Am I keeping up with household chores?

Am I exceeding my bosses' expectations at work?

Am I there for my friends when they need me?

Am I making enough time to bond with my nieces?

I never once asked if I was taking enough time for myself.

We don't live in the 50s anymore, which I'm grateful for, but now that the modern-day woman typically works, isn't it interesting how we've still kept all our other responsibilities too? How are we to manage, and succeed at, the many roles we've taken on without losing our damn minds?

My scary ER visit led me to research how our stress response takes a toll on the body. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, clogged arteries, and even brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction. No thank you!

I had a baby when I was almost 40, so it's extra important to me to stay healthy as I age to ensure I'm around to love him, support him and watch him grow. That means I had to figure out how to quickly find ways to calm my nervous system down. The solution I found that works for me is (drum roll please) . . . self-care.

Self-care is so simple. It's anything you do to keep yourself healthy - physically, mentally and spiritually. When I recently dropped this term to my bestie who is overwhelmed with work and life at the moment, she rolled her eyes, and I don't blame her. Self-care has become an overused buzz word. Still though, I believe there is validity in practicing it.

My therapist gave me a list of ways to practice self-care, which was great in theory, but not being personalized to my needs is frankly not going to help. Self-care is whatever brings YOU joy. And finding the time is certainly not easy, but something we should all prioritize.

My self-care list includes:

  • Writing (hence this blog).

  • Wandering aimlessly around Target.

  • Date nights! Which usually include good food and even better wine.

  • Getting massages, usually couple massages with my other half.

  • Watching a movie that's not rated PG and all in one sitting.

  • Catching up on pop culture by reading my weekly People Magazine (I could have said Time or Newsweek, but I have no shame).

  • Traveling! Even a short weekend trip, adults only or with kids, resets my nervous system.

  • Girls' nights - either a leggings/no makeup night in with my besties, or a "moms gone wild" night out on the town.

  • Shopping. Retail therapy is an expensive way to produce endorphins, but fun, nonetheless.

  • Blasting music and having a dance party with my 3-year-old, who has moves like Jagger.

  • Taking a long walk outside in the sunshine.

It's easy to lose yourself in the many roles we take on, which all (hopefully) bring us varying levels of joy, but sometimes mama, you have to carve out time to focus solely on what makes your soul happy.


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