Self Care in 6 Steps (Go Ahead, Mama,You Deserve It)

Summer break is right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to add self care into your routine.

Maybe, like me, you are staring down a camp-less summer home 24/7 with 4 (screaming) kids. Perhaps your kids are on vacation, but you are still punching the clock everyday, so you are getting ready to embark upon the summer camp scramble. Your kids might be home with a new nanny. Your mother-in-law may be stepping up. Maybe you work from home and are suddenly going to be coping with new “co-workers” (this is also my reality—talk about a juggle). Whatever your summer situation, a schedule change will disrupt your domestic harmony, and it’ll take a few weeks to embrace your new normal.

(And if your kids are not school-aged yet, and your WOHM/WAHM/SAHM routine is going to be the same regardless of the season, splash pads and pool memberships and the onslaught of park weather will still change your days).

So, before summer strikes, spend some time on self-care, and ditch the guilt, my friend, because YOU DESERVE IT.

 6 tips for self care

Read that book! (Literary self care)

Right now, before the kids are home, snuggle up with something fabulous just because you want to, and don’t worry about emails/laundry/packing lunches/paying bills for a chunk of time everyday. And do this in addition to your before-bed reading, you know, when you read like four paragraphs and slump over in a deep sleep. Here are a few I have loved lately:

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker: This is about two college besties who draw a hit cartoon movie and see their lives change. It’s funny and sad, and it was the first book I have read in a long time that made me want to immediately start reading it again the moment I finished.

Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein: This is about a mother who is dying and is written to her 6-year-old son. But! It is not maudlin, even though it might break your heart.

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak: Confession: I don’t usually like books written my men about men but this story of a 14 year-old computer programming boy in the 1980s is charming and delightful. This book is a really good pallet cleanser after Our Short History, too.

Get that pedicure! (Indulgent self care)

Do it! Now! Before sandal season officially begins, so you are ready to rock those Birkenstocks. I am a sucker for a girly pink or a poppy red, and Harper’s Bazaar assures me that for once in my Midwestern life, I am ON TREND. This will literally never happen again (see: Birkenstocks).

Drink that coffee! (Caffeinated self care)

By yourself. Somewhere quiet. Maybe while your toes dry and you’re reading something fantastic.

Throw that party! (Bestie self care)

Seriously. Grab your phone, text your five favorite friends and invite them over on a random weeknight when all of your partners are around to watch the sleeping kids. Download a movie. Buy some wine. Ask everyone to bring a snack. Spend the night catching up IRL.

Go for that Run! Or Walk! (Active self care)

Set your alarm 45 minutes earlier than it’s set right now, and sleep in your workout clothes. When the alarm goes off, lace up your favorite kicks and hit the pavement. I love listening to audiobooks while I exercise and check them out through the Overdrive app and my local library. I also use my workout time to listen to podcasts. Here are my favorites: S-Town, This American Life, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and Terrible, Thanks for Asking. It might be hard to get out of bed at first, but waking up early to exercise is a habit I love to keep.  You get to spend time in your own head before the kids need all of the things.  You also get to be showered and exercised before 7 am.

Eat those veggies! (Smug self care)

Instead of using bad-for-me foods as a treat, when I am making self-care a priority, I focus on eating foods that make me feel good because they’re healthy. Starting to eat those foods now before swimsuit season rolls around isn’t a bad idea. My favorite good-for-me indulgence? A cup of blueberries mixed with a tablespoon of almond butter and a tablespoon of coconut flakes—delicious and Whole30 approved!

You know they saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? It’s a grammatical nightmare to be sure, but I also think it’s true. Take some time for yourself, and sail into summer feeling your best by giving yourself the care you deserve.

Sarah Jedd
Sarah Jedd has a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and studies the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood. Sarah has 4 children between 14 and 7, three boys and an oh-look-you-finally-got-your girl (why does everyone say that?). In her spare time (ha! as if!) she is writing a memoir, and she blogs at Find her oversharing on Instagram @sarahjedd. Sarah and her husband and their kids and world’s laziest dog live in Verona.


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