What if self-care was fun?

If it's not fun, you're not doing it right.There is a lot of talk these days how mums should take better care of themselves.

Not that I disagree. But when I hear the word ‘should’ my rebellious inner teenager wakes up and makes sure that whatever it is that I ‘should’ do doesn’t happen. Beyond the basic tasks that I do without even thinking about them, like brushing my teeth. picking my kids up from school and cooking them dinner, nothing else gets done unless it’s fun. Occasionally I might be successful at making myself do something I don’t want to do. But I’ve never managed to turn it into a sustainable, long-term practice.

So here lies the challenge. I believe in self-care. I believe that it makes me happier, more productive and a better mum. But how do I make it fun?

There are no ‘shoulds’.

When I catch myself thinking that I should be doing something, I stop and examine the thought. Is this something that I really want to do, for me? If yes, fantastic. If no, why do I want to do it? And what is a different way to achieve the end result that is easier and more fun?

For example, I spent the longest time ever telling myself that I should be doing regular weight training at the gym. And it wasn’t happening. Eventually I asked myself why I wanted to do it. Because I wanted to be fit and because exercise helped me feel good about myself. Was there a different way of achieving the same result. Absolutely! Dancing, walking, running, playing with the kids at an outdoor gym (and sneaking in some more structured exercise while I was at it). Maybe I could achieve better results with weight training… but not if I was still sitting on the couch telling myself that I should do some weights at the gym.

Maybe there isn’t another way to achieve the same result or maybe you’re set on one thing to do to take care of yourself.

How can you make it more fun?

There is always a way. Find good company. Give it a funny name.

Ask someone else for ideas.

I have a toddler who is teething and has been keeping me awake at night, so recently I found myself desperate for sleep. Yet, I couldn’t make myself go to sleep early because… well, it was not fun (certainly not as much fun as reading). And even if it was fun, I couldn’t remember it in the morning and where was the fun in that?

Then I asked other people how I could possibly make sleep (or at least going to sleep) fun and Carol from Carolyn’s Words mentioned something that stuck with me.

The Muse must recharge.”

I immediately imagined a Muse plugged into a cloud of pink and blue energy, recharging. Every time I remember this image it makes me smile. Going to bed has never been easier.

The Muse must recharge

Collaborative family artwork “The Muse must recharge”

How do you make self-care fun? And if you need ideas, please ask!

***

SOM_chosen finalThis post has been written for Story of Mum’s Mama Self-Care Carnival. Head over and you’ll find more posts on self-care and a special discount code for Story of Mum’s DIY Mama retreat kit, a gorgeous digital pack brimming with beautiful printables and easy to follow videos. It contains everything you need to host your own 3 to 4 hour Mamas’ Retreat. Just add friends, clear a gentle yoga space in your living room, and bake something delicious… What better way to make self-care fun than to share some special time with other mums you love!

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Comments

  1. says

    Yes! I so agree with you Tat! I felt very similarly about exercise before discovering that yoga could actually be fun (my yoga teacher is lovely, and there is always lots of laughter in our classes!) and then finding zumba – before finding that, the idea of anything cardio-vascular was horrifying, but zumba is all about grinning, messing up steps, not knowing what comes next and being amused at the state of myself in the mirror, and having a brilliant time with my friends. Now these are three of my biggest self-care moments of my week (sometimes 4 a week, whenever I can get the childcare!) And self-care is absolutely fun.

    • Tat says

      I do yoga, too, but occasionally I get bored with my yoga class. I used to try and make myself go to the class anyway, but now I just pick a different class. Returning to yoga after a break always feels great!

  2. says

    I totally agree, Tat. Any ‘should’ will only work if you agree with the motivation behind it and find a way of making it work that suits you. And the more fun we can have in our lives the better…!

  3. says

    Tat,
    I enjoyed this post, as well as the one just posted today.
    I love the thought, The Muse must recharge.
    I am not a stay at home mother at present. I am close to 60, and work fulltime in a busy early childcare center. I love my work, with chances to observe childrens’ creativity, and cuteness, as well as long afternoons outdoors, which in the last few weeks has involved mud, puddles, and changes of very wet clothes. And I myself often head for home on the bus, with muddy clothes, but happy as could be. However, I am exhausted in the evening. So, I find if I just allow myself to make an early night, 8 to 8:30 p.m., that I will wake up ready for another good day. Also, I do love coffee, so learned in order to have these sound sleeps I have to cut out coffee by early afternoon, and I reward myself with one or two coffees Friday evenings. :)
    When I was a mother of a young son, I worked fulltime at the same daycare center (I’ve been working in childcare for 26 years), and so often put off any personal interests, in order to run my household, as a single, working parent,and of course take my parenting responsibities seriously, such as school activities, homework help, weekend, activities. I am so grateful to have had my son in my life, but now I am able to explore my personal interests such as writing, and have joined a writing group. I walk alot, too, so have never felt the need for a formal exercise program, and truly feel that all the physical aspects of being with young children such as bending down, picking up, jumping, hopping, rolling, running outside, etc. keeps me in quite good shape.
    However, what has worked good for me, wouldn’t be for everyone, and we each have our own ways to manage our lives. When I look back, I see that 30 minutes would have been possible to fit in, if I had truly wished to do more writing. I applaud young moms today, who DO find ways to meet their own needs, along with their family’s needs, or young women who choose not to have a family, and purse either a career, or creative life.
    One of the world’s most prestigious writers, Alice Munroe,(from Canada, where I live) who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature this past year, began writing mornings, and while her young children napped.
    Well, I just enjoy your posts, and so wanted to comment.
    Brenda

    • Tat says

      Brenda, thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, heartfelt comment.

      I love your idea of rewarding yourself, I can totally see this working for me.

      I also saw a reminder in your comment to not be attached to the timeline. What seems like long years of all-consuming parenting ahead of me, is a really short time from the point of view of someone who’s done it already… All we can do is our best and there will be time to do more and different things later. Worrying that we can’t fit it all in now is just taking us away from what we have in this moment.

      • says

        tat,
        Just back to say thank you for stopping by over at my blog, and your kind words.
        Thanks for your reply here, as well.
        I wonder if you have ever visited over at the blog “Let the Children Play”? It is created by an amazing early childhood educator, Jenny, in your country. I think you would enjoy her, a lot.
        Wishing you a good weekend,
        Brenda

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