By Kat Armstrong
As we gear up for baby number 2 (or may be settling in by the time you read this post!), I’ve been trying to take stock of life, myself and keep looking for ways to feel better. I work full time, I freelance, I blog, I have a toddler, and I have a husband who, in the last year has moved into a great job….working graveyard. So, I’ve got a lot on the go. Oh, and plus, there’s the baby weight, summer swelling and discomfort and the lack of sleep.
So, instead of focusing on all this overwhelming, oh-my-god-how-will-I-survive-this stuff, I’ve been thinking about ways to feel better when you don’t feel good at all. And it’s not always easy. And not every one of these will work for every one of you. But maybe one or two will, and that will rock.
10. Get a pedicure/manicure/both
My smart, smart husband bought me a pedicure apropos of nothing a few weeks ago, and it was amazing. I’m ready for another one, actually, and may treat myself to a double bill mani-pedi if this little guy doesn’t show up first. One hour of pampering certainly goes longer than you’d think.
9. Take a warm bath, all alone
Seems so simple, but baths are one “indulgence” that I insist upon. Even in summer, at least once a week, I take a long, hot soak in the tub. Nothing fancy. Sometimes Epsom salts, sometimes, bubble bath. Mostly just hot water, a book or magazine and an hour alone.
8. Get dressed.
And I don’t mean “change out of your PJs into your yoga pants” either. I mean put on clothing. Jeans and a clean shirt. I mean that cute sun dress you don’t know when you’ll wear otherwise. And I certainly mean those sweet ballet flats that have been collecting dust – even if you’re just running errands.
7. Put on makeup (if you wear it) and fix your hair
I’m not saying that every woman needs to wear makeup. But if you are the kind of girl who likes makeup, please, take 5 minutes and put some on. Tinted moisturizer (with SPF!), mascara and lip gloss will do. If you don’t wear makeup, take the time to wash your face and put on a moisturizer with sunscreen. And fix your hair. Sure, you could wear it up, but if you’ve worn it up 4 days in a row, time to wash it and do something a bit different. Speaking of washing…
6. TAKE A DAMNED SHOWER
This seems like a no-brainer, but many of us don’t. How can we feel good about ourselves if we don’t even feel the necessity to bathe? 5 minutes under the taps will do amazing things for you.
5. Treat yourself to that coffee/latte/snack
I’m not suggesting that you pig out day in and day out and not eat healthfully, but you can’t beat yourself up if you would like to splurge that whole 3-5 bucks once in a while.
4. Make the time to spend even 15 minutes alone with someone you care about
Husband, wife, partner, best friend. Sitting out on the front porch in silence, or actually sitting down to a phone call. Reconnecting with the people we care about helps keep us invigorated.
3. Make the time to go on at least one date a month. MINIMUM
For Matt and I, this is a hard one because we are two ships in the night with our work schedules. That being said, we try, at least one night a month to go to the movies, go out to dinner or do something that would be insane with the toddler. 2 weeks ago, we went in search of new summer pants for the husband. It was successful, and we spent 3 whole hours alone, walking, talking and holding hands. It was perfection.
2. Go to sleep
I tend to do my best work first thing in the morning and right before bed. As I write this right now, it’s nearly 1030, and I’ve got to be up at 630 for work. But I’m on a roll, so I’m getting this done. Tomorrow, I will go to bed very early because I stayed up so late tonight. I know it doesn’t balance out, but knowing that I can reward myself with an early bedtime is wonderful.
1. Go Outside
Day, morning, night. It doesn’t matter. Don’t spend all day inside. And when you go outside, don’t be in such a hurry. Just go. If you have younger kids, this is much easier. I tend to take two walks a day. The first one is usually with my son and our dog. I let my son dictate where we go and the pace. Today, we went to the lake, played, and came home. Our walk was 90 minutes long. The fresh air, the fun and the exercise were all exactly what I needed to start this week off right.
So there you have it. You don’t have to do every one of these things every day, or even one of these things every day. But keep them top of mind. Some days will be rushed, stressful and tiring. We can always work at balancing out that chaos the next day with a slow walk, a coffee and a phone date with a friend.
And remind me of this in a few weeks when I’m nursing around the clock while entertaining a high-energy toddler.
Kat Armstrong is a writer, internet aficionado, feminist and mum to two young boys. She writes Celebritease for Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club and is currently building a new business focusing on web content, social media and design. You can follow Kat on twitter @kitten_arms where she muses on everything from Toronto city life, to celeb gossip and breastfeeding.