Why is self-care so hard to manage? Perhaps I am alone in this quest, but I doubt it! And I am asking for real! Why is it so hard to take care of ourselves once we have a family.
The past two years have taken a major toll on my body both physically and mentally. The physical is because I don’t get enough exercise post-baby…and the mental is because I don’t get enough rest post baby. Seems pretty obvious now that I am writing this down. No wonder I feel like I’m a zombie half the time…and the other half a potential psychopath who needs some endorphins to kick my ass.
My pre-baby lifestyle went something like this: I went to pilates 3-4 days a week, hiked nearly every day, swam in the ocean in the summer, took beach walks with my girlfriends and the dog, and worked in the sun outdoors overlooking the ocean and mountains. I was independent, self employed, nobody needed me, our house was quiet and serene, and wouldn’t have to leave the property if I didn’t feel like it. Friends came to visit because it was such a great place to congregate and it was an amazing time. Wow, that all sounds pretty epic to me right now, and makes me sad that property sold. Sniff-Sniff. Back to reality as it stands TODAY, because one can not live in the past.
I feel like a broken record, but the biggest lifestyle chang was our move to Santa Ynez last year. Waylon was just 6 months old and I hadn’t gotten into my “new mom” routine yet because like most new moms, I was basking in baby bliss. That said, the move rocked my world! We no longer had the revolving door of friends stopping by, we didn’t have the freedom to just take a hike from the front door, my in-laws weren’t our neighbors anymore, and my emotional health took a nose dive as I struggled with finding my footing with a new town, trying to make new friends and straddling the mountain between Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara.
Self-care has been a topic on my mind for months now, but adding it to my daily life seems to be tricky. Until now, I haven’t been taking time for my needs, but that is about to change. The things I know for certain are the following:
-Having down time was vital to my well being. This may come as a shock to people, but I am a bit of an introvert and can easily hole up at home for days…if I have enough projects. I also love the quiet. I love to be social, but I do my best work when I am alone in the quiet, or in nature.
-I need more exercise. If I don’t feel physically strong, I am not mentally strong. It helps with my stress levels and my threshold of irritation. Nobody wants mama on a rampage and when I don’t get enough exercise, I have a very short fuse.
-I crave ALONE time. Again, I may sound selfish, but I had 35 years as an independent woman before I had a husband or child so I know myself well, and I know what I need in order to be a better mother and wife. Now beat it, mama needs her space.
Now that I have been able to compartmentalize these elements on my journey to better self-care, I have been trying to find the best daily approach so that they tie into my lifestyle seamlessly without guilt! Guilt doesn’t fit in my world anymore. Now, on the days I work in Santa Barbara I have signed back up for my favorite pilates classes at Fit Buddha after I drop Waylon off at daycare. On the weekends while Rob’s in harvest, I take Waylon to see his grandparents for an afternoon. During their visit I’ll take a hike or go to the beach alone or with the dog. On the days I am home with the whole family, I have my favorite walk down a country road, and have just signed up for Body Love Pilates. Or I simply close the door to my office and work on the creative projects that spark joy or get me using my hands…all which make me a happier person!
The days of me feeling guilty for sitting at the beach reading a book or lacing bags are over. If that is what I need in order to be a better person, you better believe I am going to do it! And when all else fails…it’s a good thing I am married to a wine maker! Cheers!