It’s that time of year – back to school if you are a student or have kids, back to awful traffic even if you don’t – when days seem to get crazier, obligations pile on, and, so many times, self-care seems to fall by the wayside. I am a strong “obliger” in the parlance of Gretchen Rubin’s expectation-based personality types, so it’s no surprise that I fall into this trap every year.
Part of the holistic wellness of being Paleo is managing stress and, mindful of that, I’ve been looking for ways to keep from torpedoing my own health as I manage the tightrope that is parenting/practicing law/wifeing/running a business. In the sprit of one of my favorite bloggers who began a monthly things-saving-my-life-right-now series this year, and because I find others’ ideas for shortcuts and outlets helpful, I’m sharing six self-care hacks that are saving my life right now.
- Extra! Extra! I used to think it was wasteful to purchase multiples of household items, preferring to buy the next bottle of something when the current one was about used up. Then, a few years ago, I read a cleaning tip that suggested keeping a second cleaning caddy upstairs. I am no Fly Lady, but this small step went a long way to helping me stay on track with household tasks, and I’ve found the same to be true with personal items as well – convenience is key. I recently bought a duplicate bottle of face wash to keep next to the kids’ bath so I can go ahead and take my makeup off while my daughter is playing in her bubbles early in the evening and forego the 10pm desire to fall into bed with my makeup on (yes, I know better, and yes, I still do that).
- Find a Podcast One of the most difficult things for me about this whole work-life balance dance that happens every day is the lack of time to myself (and this coming from a very confirmed, very strong extrovert) and lack of time for my non-essential interests. I started listening to podcasts in carline and on the short (15 min.) drive to the courthouse last year, and it made a monumental difference in my mood. Because I am doing this for moi none of the podcasts in my feed are about law or parenting. There are so many great podcasts available depending on your interests! My current favorites? Happier with Gretchen Rubin, What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel and Pantsuit Politics.
- Cold Brew Coffee The greatest injustice of my morning is the part of my day when I come downstairs from the shower and start the coffee, knowing it won’t be ready until after I am back upstairs doing my makeup. #firstworldproblems #suburbiaproblems Enter cold brew coffee. 4 oz. Chameleon Cold Brew + 4 oz. Califa Farms Almond Milk immediately from the fridge while I’m still measuring grounds into the coffee filter, and I am transformed into a superhero! All before anyone else in my house is awake! (P.S. You can also make your own cold brew. I, however, am not that ambitious.)
- Make-Ahead Breakfast I can tell you it’s the most important meal of the day. And I can boast that since becoming Paleo I’ve incorporated veggies into my daily A.M. routine. And then I will sheepishly admit that this year’s school schedule kicked me in the teeth and left me eating a bar in the car every day the first week. For me, the solution is a make-ahead breakfast. I’ve made sure to include a multi-serving breakfast in my weekly meal prep so I can either reheat and eat at the kitchen counter or grab and warm up at the office. (P.S. I’ll have a make-ahead breakfast hash recipe for you next Tuesday if you’re looking for a satisfying, nutrient-dense and quick breakfast that won’t hijack your Sunday afternoon.)
- Sandwich Meditation Confession: I’m type-A and a professional worrier. That means it’s pretty easy for me to work myself into a mental frenzy of to-do lists and “what ifs” before I even finish my Cold Brew. I’d been meaning to try a morning meditation but I couldn’t find a way to be consistent until I realized that, while maybe not ideal, I could do it while I did something else. Like packing the kids’ lunch. (I know, DUH!) My current favorite is a no-frills, 4 minute meditation entitled “Good Morning, Sunshine” from My Meditation Station. It is uplifting and, importantly for me, addresses all those worries I seem to wake up with. (With thanks to Mel Joulwan for turning me on to My Meditation Station!)
WorkoutsMovement Pre-kids, I worked out 60+ minutes a day. Most times these days, 30 minutes is now my realistic goal. But sometimes even that doesn’t happen. Not only does my metabolism suffer, so does my mindset. I’m trying to remember to give myself a break and take a few minutes where- and whenever I can find them, be it a walk around the block with the kids, or some light sculpting while dinner is in the oven. I’m a huge fan of barre3 and 10-minute gems like their Kitchen Cardio Strength and Park Bench Yoga Sculpt perk me up and make me feel like the day is not a total fitness loss. (It’s as if barre3 knew I planned to post about this today – check out the Four barre3 Workouts You Can Do at a Park Bench that they just published!)
If you have any favorite ways to sneak in self-care when there doesn’t seem to be another second to squeeze out of your day, I’d love to hear them!