Practical Self-Care: Stay-Cations, Easy on the Budget, Good for the Mind
Join me as I dive into self-care and talk about different, practical ways we can practice it.
Sometimes, life gets away from us, but I probably didn’t need to tell you that. You probably already know that when life gets away from us, it leads to stress, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, and sometimes anger and/or anxiety. I can be so pinpoint specific about it, because that is the exact sequence of events that happens to me. Its rough- on my mind, body, and those around me. What you may not know yet is what to do about it. (I know I didn’t, until I forced myself to figure it out!) And that is what I want to share with you today. You see right now, as I type this, I am on a “stay-cation.” Actually, this is day THREE! Let me tell you why this needs to be added into your self-care toolbox!
Wait a second… you may be saying, if you are on a stay-cation, why are you working? Good question you Observant Ophelia! I am totally going to address that; I knew I liked you! 😉
You see, life was taking me for a ride! It had been since the moment The Hubs got on a plane to go back to work, overseas… I figured I had it under control, since this was the second go-around.
I thought the kids and I would just go right back into our flow and things would be as great as they were the last month he was there before coming home for a bit.
Truth is, I was struggling just like I had when it was a fresh, new thing. I was struggling like I had when I was first trying to figure things out.
That’s the thing about life. You get into a groove, and the universe decides to remind you to never settle with being complacent. It reminds you to always be present and open to new experiences, even experiences that challenge us and force us to grow.
Coming back to my stay-cation story, I was struggling. That caused me to be stressed, then I got frustrated that I was stressed. Then it turned into being fully overwhelmed, which 100% turned into anxiety and anger…
Lots of anxiety and anger.
I know how this can spiral down and get out of control, and I knew I didn’t want that! I had been preaching to my students the importance of self-care and self-love, and not piling more onto your plate than you can handle, and slowing down when your body tells you to. I just wasn’t taking my own advice.
I decided it was time to do something big. For myself. (I know, right! You probably totally *gasp*ed at that!) But I wasn’t able to serve my family and friends the way I knew I needed (and wanted) to, so it was time to take a small amount of time for myself, so I could give as much as I wanted to those I love: to my family, my friends, my students. To be able to love them as fully as I wanted to, I had to first love myself, fully!
So I decided I was taking a stay-cation. 3 full days of no schedules, no to-do lists, no needs, only wants. (I told you it was big.) My Wednesday evening group yoga class has no regular students, so I felt comfortable not having one, and since I don’t teach Tuesday and Thursday I knew those were the days I could take with the least amount of impact to my life after my stay-cation (because let’s be honest we do have to eventually get back to “regular” life).
Let’s take a second to break this down. Because I really want to address how I decided what would constitute a restful stay-cation. I wanted a stay-cation that allowed me a chance to emerge recharged and ready to get back in control and able to fully serve others from a full vessel, and also in hopes of not letting things get so out of control next time! This was a stay-cation fully devoted to self-care and self-discovery.
So here were my criteria to make my stay-cation different and special (especially since my kiddos were stay-cationing with me):
Special Amount of Time
I knew I needed an amount of time that my mind and body would recognize as being different than normal. Now, with my husband being gone, weekdays and weekends do kind of run into each other, but since I teach yoga every other weekday, I knew 3 days in a row would be perfect! It wasn’t so long that important things go unaddressed and get out of control, but long enough that it was different and special.
For most people I feel like this amount of time would work. Most people get super excited about 3 day weekends because they feel like it’s something different and special, normally its for a holiday, so it feels like a mini vacation sometimes.
Different Daily Activities
This did not mean going out sight-seeing like a tourist and jampacking my schedule with activities just because they weren’t things we do on a regular basis. I needed to totally change how I was going to go about my day-to-day. I also kept in mind that the invention of this stay-cation was self-care and rest and reset. So I thought about what my ideal day would look like. Not an ideal special occasion day, but if I would live every single day in my ideal way, what would that look like. This had a few different aspects for me.
- No to-do list. I hate that I have a never ending to-do list now that I’m playing Mom AND Dad. There is never enough time for all of the things that need to get done that normally two people can do easily. So if I wanted to do any chores, I would pick whatever I wanted to do in the moment. No stressing about whether the dishes needed to be done sooner than the laundry, or that really I should pick up the living room before I do anything else. I would decide in the moment. There was nothing set for me to-do.
- No schedules. Part of the reason I feel like I’m always rushing around like a hot-mess Mama, is because I am. I am always rushing around with my kids to the yoga studio, then playdates, then grocery shopping, then to a new store to look at new stuff, then to a park, then to here then to there. And there are 3 of them (Little Missy is about to be 6, the Little Princess is 4, and my Little Man is 2) That’s 3 kiddos to clip in and un-clip to get out, after they take 10 minutes to even get into their car seats. Then there’s wanting snacks and drinks that they think just appear from under the seat, so they didn’t grab anything like that at the house, where the food and drinks live… Oh and don’t forget all the fighting because all 3 are crammed next to each other like chubby little sardines who all try to talk over each other… Oh sorry, do I keep getting side-tracked by my life. My bad. You can see why I needed this stay-cation so badly. I needed time to rest.
Now this is not to say we sat around and did nothing. I did have a private session first thing Tuesday morning, so they got to play with an older friend who watched them during my session in town. The girls also went and played at the neighbor’s house across the street. We went to Target at one point. But we had no set time scheduled. I had no reason to rush around from one thing to the next. We had all the time in the world.
- No needs, only wants. I know what you’re thinking, this sounds selfish. Yeah, it is. And guess what… hold on let me get on my soap-box and make sure I really project this to the people in the back, ITS OK TO BE SELFISH SOMETIMES. Ok, now a disclaimer, we cannot be selfish and let the ego take over. It’s ok to be selfish, sometimes, when we are doing it with love and intention to learn. I didn’t want to be selfish and deprive my kids of things they need, like proper meals and playing, just so I could suit my wants. But I did choose what games I wanted to play with them, and how many extra meals I was going to be willing to make when they changed their minds. I also chose what playdates I was going to get them to and which ones I was not going to worry myself to make it to.
I also chose my own wants over all of the never ending to-do list of things that needed to be done. Now, I am not a heathen. Well… totally. So I didn’t let my house turn into an episode of hoarders. I do want to live in a nice, clean house. But I wanted to wait to do major chores until I had two full days to reset. I also knew I wanted to still do yoga everyday, even though I wasn’t teaching. But since I didn’t need to create a new sequence for my Wednesday class (I wasn’t having one since I was on stay-cay), so instead of focusing on inspiring a new class for my students, I focused on Yin, a new style that I had been wanting to try, but felt I didn’t “have time”, because life.
Are you seeing what I’m going for here?
Today, however, I want to work on a new sequence, so that’s what I’m going to do for my personal practice today. I am going to physically work out this asana sequence for a new YouTube video. Because guess what, sometimes I want to do work: like work on my business, and writing a blog post, and creating a new sequence, and editing videos. So I do. I do that instead of worrying about anything else that needs to be done. Because the dishes will still be there when that work is done, and then more will be there later, and again and again. So if we don’t take time to stop and be selfish, we will never get to do the things that our soul wants us to do, because we will always be doing the things our brain says we need to do.
Can you feel how empowering this has been for me? And I still have the rest of today to get through!
So, what was the point of writing all this?
The point of writing about this experience is to give you permission to love yourself. Self-care isn’t always pedicures and spa days, sometimes self-care is loving yourself enough to rest and reset when your body tells you to. Sometimes self-care is allowing yourself to admit that you need a little time to be selfish.
It’s ok, I’m giving you permission. And I bet if you asked your spouse or parents if you had their permission to love yourself and care for yourself to avoid a full-on burn-out, they would totally give it to you (and if not, you send them my number to chat about the importance of support).
I’m not saying take a stay-cation every couple days or weeks. But I want this idea to be in your head for the next time you get overwhelmed with the struggles of life. This idea is so easy, and so impactful!
Tomorrow when I go back to “regular” life, I have a feeling I will feel much more motivated and inspired. That will translate to better experiences with my kids, even just the everyday ones. It will translate to better, more impactful classes for my yoga students, which will ripple to better experiences for them with their family. I also feel like I have more bite-sized tools to utilize on a more regular basis to help keep myself better balanced and hopefully the next need for a stay-cation won’t be for a long time. Even though I can totally take one just because I want!
All because I took 3 days to rest and love myself.
If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is!
Want more magic: Check out 18 Easy Things You Can Do to Be Happier Everyday
P.s. Did this post make you think my stay-cation was nothing but sunshine and rainbows and good vibes for 3 whole days? On day 2, My oldest woke up vomiting. Not at all what I had in mind for a relaxing stay-cation. But I didn’t let it get me down. I turned the negative to positive by thinking about how lucky we were to not have anything on our schedule already, no play-dates to cancel, no appointments to miss, nothing but a chance to cuddle and rest until she felt better! I just didn’t want you to think your stay-cation would be picture perfect just because you tell it to be. Things will still happen, but we have to choose to make it positive or negative!