Summer is finally here! The kids are done with school. Their backpacks and the remnants of their lockers litter your house. Now what? How do you plan to enjoy summer when it feels like it is here one minute and gone the next? Whether you are a stay at home mom, work from home, or work outside the home, what always happens when summer starts? We have grand plans of what summer will look like, the things we will do, the fun we’ll have or we think about the chaos that may soon unfold with having the kids home. What ends up happening for us moms, is we end up doing double duty. Summer is great for the kids, because they are off; but it often means more work for moms.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying you can’t pour from an empty cup. For moms, we all too often pour and pour for others until our cup is empty and then we either pause to try and refill it or we continue pouring, ending up in a negative state of frustration, stress and sometimes resentment. How can we pour and refill at the same time? Self-care. Self care is taking actions to improve or preserve your health, happiness and well being.
I find it helpful to find things to focus on in my self care. Variety is key. You may already have some practices or routines in place for your own self care, but sometimes changing things up or adding in something new can be invigorating and just the refresh you need. It’s why I created the summer self care challenge below.
My Summer Self Care Challenge to You: 30 Days to Refill Your Cup
Below is my Summer Self Care Challenge for you. I challenge you to take this on for the next 30 days. Some of these you will find you can add in more than one time in 30 days or you can mix it up by molding it to your personality. Let’s GO!
Make a summer bucket list
Summer is fleeting or so it seems. We want to soak it all in and do all the things and realistically we may not be able to. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write down absolutely everything you would like to do for the summer. Have the kids join in and make their own bucket list. From there, narrow it down to the Top 5 and leave the others as “bonus” activities. Grab your calendar and start plugging things in.
Schedule periodic screen free time
We are inundated with screens from smartphones, to computers, to the TV. Along with that comes the endless scrolling on social media we sometimes find ourselves in when we are bored or we just hop on real quick to check something. And down the rabbit hole we can go. The same goes for our kids.
Having time away from screens can help reduce anxiety and stress and foster more quality connection time with those around you. Make and put up a list of things you can do during these screen free breaks, such as: getting outside, reading, trying out a new cookie recipe, playing a card game, etc.
Take a relaxing bath or aromatic shower
Has the day gotten away from you? Were the kids extra feisty? Do you remember those Calgon “take me away” commercials or am I dating myself here? The sentiment remains the same. Take time to draw a bath, relax and forget your worries for the time being. If you don’t have time to take a longer relaxed bath, you can always take a hot aromatic shower with the aid of my shower steamers. My shower steamers will help boost your mood, help you relax and reduce your stress.
Get out in nature
Remember the carefree days of your youth, running around barefoot, exploring and climbing trees. Nature is very therapeutic. There are many benefits such as: better breathing, improved sleep, mental restoration, plus more as outlined in this article.
How does one get out in nature? Perhaps there is a trail in your area you haven’t walked or hiked. Go to a park and pack a picnic lunch. Sit outside in your own backyard and be still, mediate and soak it all in.
Start a Gratitude Journal
When life is chaotic and busy, it can be hard to take a moment to breathe. We rush from one thing to the next and summer time can be no different. There are activities, sports, swim lessons and sometimes vacations. Taking a break to sit down, be still, and reflect on life can be extremely beneficial to your health, both mentally and physically. It is a huge asset to have for your self care, which is why I’ve included it in my summer self care challenge.
If you’ve never done any journaling, this is a great place to start. Find the time of day that works best for you. Most people opt for either in the morning or at bedtime. Start with writing out 10 things you are grateful for, things in life that make you happy and smile.
Still unsure where to start - check out this amazing created for you Gratitude Journal by Whimsicals Paperie
Kids at their core are creative and really we all are, it’s just sometimes as we get older and busier, we feel like we aren’t creative. During this summer self care challenge, think about what you liked creating as a child. Did you like to write? Did you love to draw? Did you love to build? You could pick up an adult coloring book or a diamond art puzzle. Search on Pinterest for DIY craft projects and see what grabs your attention. Do you have some dull and boring flower pots you could add a fresh coat of paint to or some stenciled art? You are creative! Being creative is a healthy way to reduce stress, helping to calm your brain and relax. Bring out your inner artist!
As busy as life gets, we often set ourselves aside. Self care includes taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. Schedule a massage or get a manicure/pedicure at your local nail salon. If your time is limited, don’t despair, you can create a spa day at home. Light a candle, play some soft music, read a book, take a relaxing bath or foot soak. My lavender and chamomile soap is both soothing and nourishing and will relax your senses.
Keep the brain active
At first glance, keeping the brain active may not seem like a self care tool. For that reason, it’s in my summer self care challenge. Just like being creative can calm the brain and reduce your stress, keeping the brain active does the same. For one, you’re not staring at a screen. I know there are a lot of apps on your smartphone designed as brain puzzles, but as I mentioned above, taking a break from screens is a good thing.
Pick up that book everyone’s been saying you have to read, go to the store and get some crossword or word search books. If those types of activities aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps you like to organize. Organizing and decluttering can often be stress relieving for some and maybe you have a friend or family member who could use some help with their space.
Schedule quality time
During this summer self care challenge, you should schedule quality time with yourself. This may seem weird to schedule a date with yourself. How is that self care? Spending one on one time with me, myself and I can help you get to know yourself better, help you appreciate others when you are around them and be more calm and relaxed.
I also suggest scheduling quality time with your loved ones. Plan things with all of your kids together and individual dates with each one of them doing something they love to do. And if you have a significant other, don't forget to schedule time with them too. Nurturing relationships, connecting with others is at the core of who we are. Most of us don’t like to be isolated. We thrive on connection.
Move your body
Most of us know that exercise greatly improves our mood and reduces stress. It’s not very often you regret getting that workout in or going to that yoga class. Physical movement has a direct correlation with stimulating the right chemicals in our brain to leave us feeling more happy and relaxed. Do you already utilize some form of exercise or movement? If so, switch it up and try something new. Maybe you’ve never taken a yoga class or one of those hip hop dance classes? Don’t want to go alone, grab a friend and have fun!
Now what? Getting the Most Out of My Summer Self Care Challenge
Making the time for ourselves, aka self care, can seem daunting. Trust me, if this is new for you, it may seem funny or weird at first; but the more you dive in and take the time to utilize these tools, it will come to feel like second nature. You’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner. Summer time is a glorious sun-filled, action-packed and busy time. It is truly here one minute and gone the next. Summer with kids can feel like you are running on a hamster wheel. Jump off that wheel and decide to put forth your best effort with my summer self care challenge. You won’t regret it and when you aren’t pouring from an empty cup, you’ll know it and those around you will too.