As busy mamas it can be such a challenge to find even a small bit of me-time, to breathe, much less for self-care.
If you want to get back to yourself and spend a little time for YOU again, it doesn’t have to be hard or involve drastic changes all at once.
Through small steps, you can get the self-care you need to feel good, to feel like your truest self again. You can get back to you.
Small Steps Lead to Results
Often it is easiest and most effective to start with very small steps to make change. Choose just one to three areas to focus on this week.
Choose Small Steps
What small steps can you take to bring your self-care to where you want it to be?
Make them tiny, so that they feel almost effortless. This idea was brought home to me a few years ago when I learned the Tiny Habits Method of habit formation.
Here are some examples of applying tiny habits to our self-care practice:
1. Leave a glass of water on the kitchen counter. Take a sip every time you walk into the kitchen.
2. Do anything on your yoga mat for 5 minutes a day.
Use Anchor Habits
This strategy really has the power to make actions into habits.
Notice in the first example that going into the kitchen is the anchor, and it’s the trigger for the new habit of taking a sip of water.
And in the second example, I can make it easier by choosing an anchor. It should be something I do every day that is already a habit that I do automatically.
For example, I could try making my anchor the moment I come in the door from dropping off my daughter at school. The only drawback is that it’s not something I do every day.
Ideally it’s good to choose an anchor you do every day to help you solidify your new small step into a habit.
Set the Stage
Another helpful strategy for making our small steps even easier is to do what we can to set the stage, or alter the environment in ways that make it easy for us to follow through.
In the first example, make it easy by leaving the glass on the counter in the kitchen near the water filter.
For the second example, set the stage by putting out the yoga mat the night before and leave it right in front of the door so that you can see it when you walk in and out.
It’s a wonderful (and needful!) practice to celebrate our successes in life, big and small.
It’s also a powerful way to create habits.
This is how it works to change small steps into habits that become an effortless part of our lives (the definition of habits!):
Right after or even while you are doing your small step, consciously choose to feel great and say encouraging, celebratory words to yourself. You can do this aloud (if you don’t mind the people around you thinking you’re a little bit off your rocker) or you can do it in your mind.
What I do is usually think, “Woohoo! Yay, I did it!” If you want you can add a hand motion to it, such as raising your arms in victory, jazz fingers, or a fist pump, the moonwalk (yes!) or whatever feels good.
Every time you do your small step, you do the celebration. This really helps make the step into a habit more quickly.
For bonus points, kick off your habit formation practice by doing your desired habits on purpose, several times in a row. Basically, act it out. Do it. Over and over… Fun, right!? And silly! But it works… :)
Be Gentle with Yourself
Just try. If you forget, or if it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, just try again.
Notice your thoughts, bring awareness to your feelings, and let it all go. Cultivate positive thoughts and the attitude of loving yourself no matter what.
It takes work to create new habits. Our brains want to keep on doing things as they’ve been doing.
So one of the keys is to keep on. We try again. And we celebrate the successes while letting go of negative feelings such as shame or inadequacy.
One of my favorite maxims is to “Just Show Up.”
Just keep on showing up for yourself as you cultivate your self-care habits.
You can do this!
Every little bit counts, and you are enough, no matter what.