8 Self Care Thoughts {you’ll be shocked by one!}

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It was one of those times that it seemed everything was happening all at once: Halloween, attending birthday parties, throwing a birthday party, hosting a small group, celebrating the actual birthday, business trips, home repairs, school projects and exploding fish tanks.

Can you relate?  I’m sure you can.  We all have those times when it is just one thing after another.  And I’m sure you can also relate to my feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted from it all.  I just couldn’t handle one more thing, one more detail, or one more mommy-tantrum.

Yes, I said mommy-tantrum.  There wasn’t any kicking or biting involved.  Nor did I lie down on the floor and thrash about.  But I was definitely one cranky mommy.  I was snapping at the kids and ordering them around. Mommy wasn’t the kind and loving mommy she wants to be.  Not my finest moment, or moments to be precise.

Boy, oh boy, did I NEED a break!

I started asking around to find someone to watch the kids so I could get away and basically do a factory reset on myself.

Some people love to get out and go shopping.  Retail therapy.  Whenever my grandma senses that I am tired or stressed, she tells me to go out on my own and buy myself a new dress.  That always makes me laugh.  I love her to pieces, but buying a dress won’t help to calm the storms in my mind when I’m stressed and overwhelmed with life.

What I need is some time with friends to decompress and laugh.  Wine is optional but always appreciated. 😉  And then a few minutes to myself to get some errands done without a time schedule.

Errands or grocery shopping during school hours always seems to be a rushed thing.  I’m already frazzled from racing to get the kids out the door and to school on time (though these tips definitely help reduce the stress). Add in trying to do all the household chores and run all the errands, write a blog, actually eat breakfast, and take care of holiday or birthday shopping by noon every day can put anyone over the edge.

So, when I have some time to myself I try to throw in a couple errands.  I know it doesn’t sound all that glamorous, but it is what helps set my brain to rights again. I’ve never been that great at self care, but now I know why self care is so important.

Luckily for me, I was able to plan in about 4 hours on my own the other day for some self care activities. I made plans with a friend, ran a few errands and even snuck in a massage last minute! (Extravagant, I know!)

I’ve never been that great at self-care, but now I know, more than ever, why it is so important. And I learned a few things, some pretty crazy, in that time on my own.

1 – Fresh Air Does Wonders

I met my friend for a walk. She is pretty amazing and she knows all the trails around town, so I relied on her to lead the way.  It was nice to not have to make any decisions!  We kept up a nice brisk pace for about an hour.  Let me tell you, just being outside in the fresh air really helped me to clear my mind.

I think if I had tried to go and run errands or even go for that massage without that walk, I wouldn’t have been able to make it home recharged from my time away.

I don’t know about you, but the days when I don’t leave the house except to get in and out of the car in the garage always leave me dragging.  There is something about being in fresh air that clears your mind.  Remember, we send the kids outside to play.  There is a reason for that! Not only are they getting some exercise, but the fresh air really does wonders for attitudes.  I guess mommy needed some time outside to play too.

2 – Better to Give than to Receive

During our walk, my friend and I chatted.  We are both moms and of course, we talked about things moms talk about: their kids.

Of course, I went into this asking friends to get together because I was in need. In need of time out, in need of adult conversation, in need of venting to someone who is going through the same things.

But what I found was that I felt so much better when I could be the listening ear or the advice giver.

I think sometimes when we feel needy; we think we need stuff for ourselves.  But honestly, being the friend or companion fills that well better than being the one on the receiving end.

Needless to say, I’m thankful for my friend and her friendship. Thankful that she took time out of her day to spend with me and thankful that I could be a friend to her as well!

3 – Shopping is Faster but Lonelier

As I mentioned, I planned to run a few errands while on my afternoon of self-care.  I went to 6 stores, making returns at 4 of them.  The other two I just browsed (holiday décor anyone?).

In 1.5 hours, I went to 6 stores. Can you believe it?  And I browsed a bit in all of them, with the exception of Home Depot. Browsing there is usually reserved for date night. Lol!

But I have to say, though I sped through all the stores, I kept thinking about my kids and how much they would have liked to see this or that, or how it would have been nice to check to see if their feet had grown so I knew what size shoe to buy.  I missed having silly conversations with them as we waited in line.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t miss the bickering, touching everything within reach or 20 million stops along the way to the checkout. I was happy to not have those delays.  It was just a bit lonely without them.

4 – Crossing Items off your List Feels the Best

And sometimes, just crossing those to-do items off your list can feel better than the actual act of completing those tasks.  I was so happy to not have those bags of returns sitting in my trunk any longer (we are a family of 5, space for groceries is much needed!), I mentioned above how it was a bit lonely to get those tasks completed. I would have been just as happy to have someone else run those errands for me (and maybe hang out with my kiddos) and I could have just crossed the items off my to-do list.

5 – Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover, or, rather, a Massage Place by its Website

After errands, I decided spur of the moment that I wasn’t hungry quite yet and maybe I could squeeze in a massage.  I did a quick Google search for “walk in massage” to see what might be available.  Several results came up and I looked at the first on the list. Google and Yelp reviews put this place at about 4.5 stars with decent reviews, so I figured I’d take a look at its website.

The website was clean, inviting and had lots of calming spa imagery.  They had their services with prices listed, contact information and their address.  “This is looking promising,” I thought.  So I called and figured I’d see if they could squeeze me in. They could and I was only about 1 mile away.

A few minutes later I arrived at the massage place.  It had a very small storefront, beads in the window and a lady outside smoking a cigarette. Gulp! But it had 4.5 stars, so I figured I’d go in and check it out.  Granted, it was 5:30 pm on a Saturday night.  I wasn’t likely to find many other places that had openings that late on short notice.

Let me tell you, that place was the exact opposite of its website.  Granted, it was clean, but in an old, dark sort of way.  It had nothing that you would normally think of for a calming spa environment.  And can I say, I didn’t find it super inviting?  But the prices were right, the timing was right.  I figured, “Oh, what the heck.  You only live once!”  And I requested their 30-minute foot reflexology/30-minute body massage. Double gulp!

6 – Elbows are Surprising Tools

The foot reflexology was actually pretty nice.  They had me lie down on a massage table with my feet in warm water to soak.  They had calming music playing, covered me with a blanket and put a cover over my eyes to relax me.

When she came in she dried off my feet and then really worked the tension out of my feet and calves.  It was really nice and I felt very relaxed.  That was until she finished my first foot.  Apparently, punching and slapping my foot and calf multiple times signaled the end of the work on that side. The same thing happened on my 2nd foot.  I was all relaxed again until the smacking.  It didn’t hurt, but it definitely woke me up!

That should have clued me in on what was to come for the body massage and I should have been a bit more afraid of what was to come.

I don’t think she used her hands once.  They must have been too tired from the foot massage. Instead, she used her forearm and elbow on my legs and back.  I didn’t think that elbows could be used so strategically for anything besides self-defense!

7 – A Crazy, Once in a Lifetime Wish

That leads me to the first and only time I have ever have this crazy thought, “I REALLY wish I had MORE back fat right about now!”  I definitely don’t think I’ll ever have that thought again, but I was desperate for some extra padding between her elbows and my bones! Ouch!!!

While she was getting out all my knots with her elbows, it was really quite painful.  I had to stop her a couple times because I just couldn’t tolerate it anymore.  Come to find out later, she must have bruised me a bit because my back was tender to the touch for days afterward and I couldn’t sleep well from the pain!

But, boy, did I feel loose-y goose-y afterward.  All that elbow power definitely worked out every knot I had!

8 – A Quiet House is Priceless

By this point, I was ready to go home and eat some dinner.  When I got there, the kids were out to dinner with the grandparents and the house was so nice and quiet.  I made my dinner, turned on a silly Christmas romance and enjoyed the stillness for another few minutes.  It was priceless.

I feel like I made really good use of my 4 hours.  I accomplished a lot and most importantly, I had the mental break that I needed to make it through the next few days of craziness leading up to Thanksgiving and then Christmas. To be honest, I might need another break somewhere in between, but this will do for now.

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2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Miller Sliwa

    November 21, 2017 at 2:02 am

    More back fat, ha! And your Grandma telling you to go buy yourself a dress . BLESS HER. It made me miss my grandma super big when I read that. So glad you made time for yourself, it’s so important! I usually wait too long , and then need way more than 4 hrs… need to work on that. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

    1. Lisa

      November 22, 2017 at 12:43 am

      Happy Thanksgiving, Elizabeth! I usually wait too long too. But I think the trick was that the fresh air and exercise really helped. I’ll have to remember that next time I get a break. Otherwise, I end up coming back just as drained as I left. And it sounds like you obviously had a super special grandma. Hugs!

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