February=The Month of Love, right? So let's talk about love for a bit and the different ways we love in our lives---loving ourselves, loving our family & friends, and loving our community.
Starting off this discussion: how we love ourselves. It feels appropriate to start here since I'm always talking about self-care, not because I'm the best at taking care at myself but because I see the huge value and benefit in taking of myself.
When I hear someone say that they don't have time for something, especially if it involves taking care of themselves, I'm reminded of a quote I heard a couple of years ago--"Instead of saying, "I don't have time," trying saying, "It's not a priority," and see how that feels." There is so much truth there and it has really convicted me over the years. Something that recently fell into the category of "I've said I don't have time but I really just don't make it a priority" was reading. I used to read all of the time but after having children, I only read a couple books each year. I finally decided to make it a priority this year and, while we are only a month into 2017, I can already tell a difference. Instead of scrolling through email and Facebook before bed, I read a couple chapters from a book. My mind is calmer and I have been sleeping significantly better. There is something beautiful about paging through a physical book as opposed to staring at a screen. What do you "not have time for", but are truly missing in your life? Perhaps you really DO have time for it,
Back to the phrase at the beginning of this post---how we love ourselves. The answer to this will look different for each of us. We each have different needs and different ways of desiring how those needs be met. I am by no means the expert on caring for oneself but I have certainly improved over the years. I'd like to share changes I have implemented within the last two years that have made a big difference, not because they will necessarily work for you (but maybe they will?) but because I hope that it will start you thinking about things you can do to love yourself.
--Do what you love. I LOVE being a mother. I LOVE being able to stay home full time with my boys. I've always wanted to do this. What I have learned, though, is that while I can't imagine doing something else, I also can't only do this. I take that back. I can only do this but I see that I am a better mother when I'm being productive and thinking beyond my home, if that makes sense. Being part of the FIT4MOM Grand Rapids team has helped me do that. I love that this is a group/purpose that I feel passionately about and that I am able to utilize what I have learned over the years. I love that I have an outlet for writing and I especially love that a lot of my role can easily be completed at home.
--Early morning alone time. I would not call myself a morning person but once I heave myself out of bed, I am thankful that I have made the decision to wake up before the rest of my family. For me, that means I get up between 6 & 6:30. I find that I am more productive during these hours and on mornings that I don't have something that needs to be completed, it's just quiet time. Sometimes I watch HGTV but most of the time, I just enjoy the peace. I'm more mentally prepared for my children to wake up and I think I am more patient and gracious to them because I have started out my day with time to collect my thoughts.
--Treats! Our budget doesn't allow for major treats but I do occasionally like to buy myself some chocolate or buy myself a book or a movie that I know I am bound to read or watch multiple times. I love Starbucks, too, especially since we have only been going a couple times a month lately. If you know me, you know that my husband and I are big Starbucks fans but we're saving up for some big ticket items right now and our Starbucks visits were sacrificed. The perk has been that Starbucks has noticed we aren't going as often and is sending me some great promotions. :-D
--Working out. I know. How cliche, huh? Encouraging working out in a blog from a fitness organization.... But seriously, it makes a huge difference for me! I love starting out my week with a Stroller Strides class and since I am only able to attend 1-2 classes each week, doing a quick ten minute workout to start my non-class days feels great. This is also the part where I highly encourage you to try out Body Back. I know you guys already know my feelings about that fantastic program. :-)
What do you guys do to show love to yourselves? Whatever that looks like for you, I hope that you make it a priority. We are the best versions of ourselves when we are taking care of ourselves and not just taking care of others.
Coming up later this month: How you show love to your family & friends and How you show love to your community