2017 is going to be about me.
It sounds selfish, I know, but it’s not. I had to learn this the hard way in 2016, when The Universe sent me some loud and clear messages about slowing down and looking after myself. Simple truths, really – I either do it, or I’ll find myself frazzled, stressed, exhausted, burnt out and (quite literally) broken. Sounds familiar, anyone? Well, I can now tell you from experience that I wasn’t much use to my family in that state.
When you become a mum, you’re told to make sure you have ‘me-time’. And to be honest, for a long long time I must have thought I was above everyone else, as it seemed to me that I was doing just fine being a full-time mum to one, then two, then three little boys.
And you could hear me say things like:
“Well, I work outside the home, don’t I? So that’s me-time – when I’m not with the children…”
“What’s me-time anyway? A soak in the bath? I do that sometimes, so I must be fine”.
I wish they told you that there is so much more to be done. So much more that needs our attention. Me-time is self-care. Self-care means looking after your body, mind and soul.
Self-care is not optional. Self-care is mandatory. Like your car’s MOT if you want to keep driving it. And if you want to keep functioning, you need to prioritise your self-care.
So 2017 is about me. I’ve not been very good at this before, so things need to change. And because we’ve already established that change is hard, I’m going to be very realistic and specific with my goals.
If I only focus on these 7 things, by the end of 2017 I should hopefully be way ahead of where I was only a few months ago, and I’d invite you to ask yourself whether you are regularly looking after your body, mind and soul and reflect on these 7 aspects too.
1.Exercise, exercise, exercise
I’m one who never really stuck with any form of exercise, but now is the time to really take this seriously. Recovering from a nasty tibial fracture (complete with all the metalwork that goes with it) and still with diastasis recti following my 3 pregnancies (my abs haven’t returned to their original position), I really need to work on getting my body stronger and start working on my core muscles.
And where are you on the exercise front? Are you exercising regularly? Do you think you could start or improve your exercise routine? Where are you on your fitness and weight goals? Do you have any? And do you have a plan to tackle them?
2. Drink more and stay hydrated, always
During the years I was breastfeeding my children I used to be quite good and carried around a bottle with me to measure how much I was drinking. Lately, and since I stopped working, I’ve been awful at this. Did you know that dehydration (amongst other nasty effects) can even shrink the size of your brain? Now, no one needs that, do they? So I don’t know about you, but I’m going back to my old tricks ad carrying a bottle with me to make sure I drink enough.
3. Slow down and have a break from all the ‘doing’ with mindful meditation
If you’ve happened to read anything on my blog, it’s no secret that I spent most of 2016 being unsettled and overwhelmed. I was compared to a pin-ball machine, rushing from one thing to the next, and if I’m honest, that was a fair description. But it wasn’t healthy, and I was desperately in need for a way to slow it all down and… breathe.
This is where practicing mindful meditation with apps like Calm or Headspace has come in, and it’s helped me enormously to live more in the now, rather than constantly worrying about the next thing on the to-do list, and it’s definitely been paying off in the way I feel about life. More of this in 2017!
4. Spend more time outdoors
Do you remember the days as a child when you used to spend so much time running around outdoors? Well, now we spend too much time indoors, and that’s not great for our health at all. According the organisation Mind, which provides information and support on mental health, spending more time outside doesn’t just improve your physical health, but can actually boost your creativity and focus, as well as improving your mood and self-esteem. All of this can impact your mental health in a positive way. So how about making more of a point of taking a quick walk during your lunch break, or going for a jog or cycle through a green space? This definitely goes on my list of daily habits.
5. Get rid of the clutter
Do you ever feel that your mind is way too cluttered, and if you add one more thing it’s going to explode? I feel like that all the time – there’s just too much to remember and to do. There is no easy answer to this, except that if you think you have too much going on in your life you should give some serious thoughts to trying to do less. And if you can’t, being organised with to-do lists and delegating to others are also options.
For me, 2017 is about sifting through the ‘longer-term’ things on my to-do lists – you know, those things that take ages to do and that you dread so much that you actually never do them? Like filing or shredding the admin and paperwork (anyone else?) or going through old baby clothes that are just piling up? This is all clutter. Physical clutter creates mental clutter too. So 2017 is about tackling some of these projects.
6. Make it less digital and more ‘real’
Can you think of anything better for your soul than spending a good afternoon with a great friend catching up about life? You can? Well, then that’s what you need to do more of. For me 2017 has to be about making the effort to have more face-to-face, or (as I call them) ‘real’ interactions.
With your partner. With friends. With family. With people who ‘get you’ and make you happy.
The ones who support you, stick by you, never judge you, are always on your side (even when they have to tell you you’re doing it all wrong) and are simply good for your soul. 2017 is about making more of an effort to put the phone down and get together more.
7. Just make time to recharge
I don’t know what recharges you. If for you it’s a soak in the bath, then that’s your thing. If not, just think about whatever it is that makes you feel really good about yourself. Something that makes you smile and gives you a boost of positivity and energy. Something that makes you feel refreshed and ‘new’. And once you find it, just make sure you dedicate some time to it every week (if not daily) and do something that you genuinely just enjoy – something that’s just for you.
All this (and more) is me-time.
So what are YOU going to do to make yourself your top priority in 2017?