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Congratulations! You walked down that isle and brought yourself home a husband. Now you have a built-in partner in crime. Someone you can talk to, spend time with, bounce ideas off of, and more. This is an excitedly wonderful time in your life. There will be lots of learning together and growing together and maybe even creating together. Your life will become a whirlwind of couple time, family time, and maybe eventually even time growing your own family. In all this time there is one thing you MUST do, make sure you take time for YOU! Here is how to make sure you practice self-care when your married.
Create Your Own Space
Sharing a living space can be fun. My husband and I had a great time decorating and organizing our space to suit our style. We didn’t agree on everything, but still had a great time figuring it all out. One thing we knew was important to us, was creating our own spaces that were only ours. Everyone’s space is different, so you will have to create your space with what you have. We have a small house, but I was able to set-up a home office/craft area/yoga studio in a spare bedroom. My husband made himself a man-cave in a small area of the basement. Most importantly, we generally stay out of each other’s area. It isn’t that we can’t share the space, its that we know how important it is for each of us to be able to spend a few minutes away.
Your space may be different than ours. It might be a chair on the deck, a desk in the corner of room, or even the bathroom (all my make-up junkies out there). It doesn’t matter where your space, its that you have one. Remember though, your space isn’t an escape. Its an area for you to utilize for self-care and then return to sharing space with your significant other. Be careful not to take it too far and use your space as a complete get-a-way. Shared time is just as important as self-care time!
Your mental health is so important and often overlooked in our marriages. We often concentrate on making our significant other’s feel mentally secure, but we put our own metal health on the back burner. Don’t be one of those people! Practicing mental self-care is so important.
When you picture mental self-care, do you picture yourself sitting quietly, meditating in a dim room? Meditation is a great way to practice mental self-care, but don’t get caught up thinking it is the only way. There are multiple ways to practice mental self-care that might appeal to you. Check out these to find what might be right for you:
- Meditate (if its your thing). When left to my own devices, I fail at this. A guided meditation from an app like Headspace, Pacifica, or CureStress work wonders for me. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day and take your mental break.
- Journal. Keeping a diary or journal is a tradition as old as time, and there is a good reason for it. Journaling allows us to express ourselves in a way where we feel safe and protected. You can start in a blank journal of your choosing or try a guided journal. Some people also like to incorporate journaling into their planners (if you like this idea, try the Happy Planner, my favorite!).
- Find you “Why”. Not to get all Simon Sinek on you, but it IS important that your life has a purpose. What is your own personal mission statement? Your reason for living? Put it into words, study it, and love by it. Need help getting started? Check our Simon’s book Start With Why. It focuses on the why in leadership, but also has some great advice for why in your personal life.
- Get some extra shut eye! It can be easy to get caught up in our husband’s sleep schedules, even if ours don’t naturally match. Marriage experts generally agree that going to bed together is the best for couples. However, if it interferes or distracts from your own sleep schedule, it can leave you feeling exhausted. Get creative with your scheduling and get yourself a solid eight hours a night.
- Read a book. There is nothing that gives me a mental refresh like a good novel. Although spending ALL day on the couch reading is generally no longer an option, stealing an hour every day during the week is completely possible. I tend to read when hubby is camped in the man cave. Excellent “alone” time for both of us. The best part is that you can download a lot of great novels for FREE through iBooks and Kindle.
- Watch the sunrise (or set). I have this daily habit where I plan my entire morning routine around eating breakfast at the exact time everyday. I take my morning coffee, bowl of cereal, and cell phone to my bay window overlooking the sunrise where I eat, drink, and then meditate all while watching the most beautiful display of nature.
- Develop your self. Self development is not only a great use of your time, it is great for your mental well being. Books, Webinars, and Ted talks are a great way to start. Try reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to start! It will be most helpful in making the changes needed for self-care.
Some people classify emotional self-care in the same bucket as mental self-care. I however like to put them in two separate categories. Emotions can be changed from day to day and moment to moment. When we talk emotional self-care, our directive should be to strive for what makes us happy, content, and positive. Think of the things that make your feel this way and make a list. First, cross your husband off, we already know about him. Now how much time do you devote to these other items daily? Weekly? Monthly? If your answer is less than daily, then you are not taking care of your own emotional needs. Take a look at these idea for some inspiration:
- Spend time on your hobbies. My hobby makes me more than happy. It brings me great joy and gives me something to look forward to. Although everyone has different hobbies, the joy your hobby brings you will help take care of your emotional needs.
- Enjoy some comedy. Laughter is good for the soul! And for your emotional well being. You can find some great comedy on TV or Netflix. Even YouTube has some worthwhile comedy. Find some you like and take the time to get a good laugh in. If you have a smart phone or tablet device, you can even take your comedy around with you while you do house chores.
- Spend time with family and friends. A huge key to many people’s emotional health is time to work on relationships with family and close friends. Your husband is one of these people, but there are likely many others in your life. Take time to enjoy these people, and not just in group settings. Make a quick call to your grandmother, FaceTime with your best friend, meet a co-worker for Sunday morning coffee. You will be surprised how you feel after each of these events.
- Enjoy things you consider beautiful. This may sound silly but there is scientific evidence that simply looking at beautiful things can change your emotions in a positive way. Take a walk in nature on a sunny day, visit a gallery or museum, watch videos of puppies! Whatever you consider beautiful, find it, take a few minutes to enjoy it, and soak up that emotional positivity.
- Volunteer for a great cause. This is one of my favorite activities for my emotional well being. There are a lot of great organizations that will allow you to volunteer on a part time basis. Knowing that your are helping people or animals will boost your soul!
- Listen to your favorite music. Music, also good for the soul (ya know, after laughter). Make yourself a playlist of all the music that brings thoughts of happiness and joy. Play it whenever you need an emotional pick me up!
In addition to your mental and emotional self-care, physical self-care completes the trifecta. Most people think diet and exercise when they think of physical self-care. While these are two big aspects of it, there are so many more! And we all know that staying physically healthy will help us in our marriages (in more ways than one, right ladies?). Here are some of my favorite ways to practice physical self-care:
- Eat Healthy. This goes for both eating with the hubby and without him. Dieting is a thing of the past. Diets fail. Instead, plan healthy meals and snacks based on what your body needs. Plan your meals ahead of time, a week or two in advance. Not only will this help with your grocery shopping and budget, but you will be less likely to make last minute unhealthy meals. Need some help with dinner? Try Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or similar meal service. They deliver the ingredients you need to make complete meals for two. We enjoy using Blue Apron time to time when ideas for meals are running low and getting boring. Sign-up and get your first 3 meals for free.
- Drink your H2O. You would be amazed at the changes your body will have when you go from dehydrated to plenty hydrated. I gave up my daily soda intake (a ridiculous three 24oz bottles a day) and traded it for water. More energy, better sleep, and glowing skin all greeted me. I felt great! You will too. Need some help, try this app to help motivate your water drinking.
- Get your sweat on. You don’t need a gym membership to burn some serious calories. Try some at home workouts where all you need is a tv, tablet, or smartphone. I lost 35 pounds working out at home. Try some of my favorites: Beachbody on Demand, Barre3 Online, and my all time favorite (and best every yoga app) Downdog Yoga App.
- Get some sun. But get it safely in small amounts. Sun is good for the body and soul. So get out there and help convert yourself some Vitamin D.
- Take care of your skin. Ok maybe this is just a really good excuse to give yourself a facial and purchase a quality moisturizer, but hey its worth it. You want your skin to look good. Make sure you are using spf when going outside. Moisturize twice a day. Keep it clean and rejuvenated. I love giving myself at home facials. First I cleanse with a Clarisonic Brush, then follow with a good quality retinol scrub. Finally, massage in some moisturizer and voila!
- Dance. And dance. Dance some more. And who cares if you can’t dance because no one will be watching you. Dancing releases an amazing amount of endorphins. So put on your favorite tunes, some comfy clothing, and move your body. You will feel incredible after.
- Consider your health. We get busy in our daily lives, who has time for the doctor. However routine check-ups, dental cleanings, and eye exams are all important for your health.
Make the Time
Some of the items listed above might seem trivial, or only for spare time. Don’t let them be. Taking care of these areas in your life will make you feel more fulfilled as a person and lead to an even better relationship with your spouse. Give him some extra time in the mancave and get your self-care on girl. You deserve it! Still having trouble finding the time? Check out my post on creating a morning routine for some tips and tricks on making your mornings productive.
What is your favorite self-care habit?