By Abigail Epperson
I am not good at taking care of myself. Let’s go ahead and get that out there. I’m a work in progress, and while I would like to think I’ve improved since we started traveling, I’m very aware there is a lot of room for growth. I bet my family is aware of that too. Ha!
So, just know, if you’re having a hard time caring for yourself on the road, or in your sticks n’ bricks, you are not alone. It’s a pretty common parent thing to do, and we should make like Uncle Joey and “cut-it-out.”
But what exactly does my personal self-care on the road look like? Well, it’s a lot of mentally focused care and doing activities that help bring me peace. I live every day with PTSD (brought on by the birth of my third son)
hypothyroidism and depression. It’s taken me almost seven years to figure out what self-care looks like and how it works into my daily routine. I won’t go into the medication side of this equation, as that is an incredibly personal decision between you and your healthcare provider, plus what works for me will not work for you. However, please talk to your doctor about your options, and don’t be ashamed. There is no shame in the medication game if it brings you a better quality of life.
Now, let’s talk self-care.
Do it. It’s one of those amazing things I can do anywhere, anytime in any location. All I need is my yoga mat. I won’t say you’ll see me outside in my campsite doing yoga, but you will find me sneaking in a short yoga routine inside the trailer when time allows. At one point, I was a morning yoga person, up before the family, and starting my day with yoga. Now, I’m a late afternoon or evening person ending my day with some peaceful meditation focused yoga. Wondering where I get my yoga routines from? YouTube (isn’t that the answer to everything now?).
I’ve tried a few channels, but at the end of the day, SarahBethYoga is my absolute favorite. I’m not fond of a lot of chit-chat or detailed explanations on moves. Having a ballet background I’m pretty fluent in the terms, and what I should be feeling in my body, so I like to get right into the routine even with the beginner level videos. However, you may want a channel that breaks moves down, and if that’s the case, I’d recommend Yoga with Adriene.
Here’s one of my favorite SarahBethYoga routines:
Yeah, I said, walking, not running. I’m not a runner. I’ve tried. My right hip will not cooperate, and hips don’t lie, right? I wish I was a runner and cool, but I’m just not. Here’s the thing about walking (or running), though, it’s so peaceful. I do it just as much for my physical health as for my mental health. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and I don’t check my phone at all. I don’t answer texts or calls, I do nothing but walk, enjoy the scenery, and listen to people speaking words. It’s also a great way to build your stamina so you can conquer those trails as you travel around and enjoy the outdoors.
If you haven’t joined audible, give it a try. I was pretty resistant at first and was going to stay strictly to my Libby app and grab audiobooks from my library, but if you are a digital library user, then you know, the struggle is real real. I’ve waited weeks, even months for popular books or audiobooks, and so having an audible subscription at $14.95 a month was my way of splitting the difference. Plus, there are just some things I really want to own (like the Harry Potter series), and audible allows us to do that at a fraction of the cost. If you’re interested in giving audible a try, click here to learn more.
What I’m currently listening to:
Doing Things That are Just for Me:
This would seem like a no-brainer, but any parent will tell you that doing something “just for me” is not something that we are programmed to do, but we should. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on changing my mindset and recognizing that when I do something for me, I’m taking care of me, and that allows me to take care of my family.
I start every morning with a cup of coffee. Before I help a single person with breakfast before I open my laptop for work before I do anything, I make a cup of coffee. Coffee is a 100% me thing. Jason doesn’t like coffee, so the art of making coffee is one that all mine. The same when we are out and exploring. I get coffee. No one else wants a coffee, but I do, and so we make time for me to get one.
I walk Target for no reason other than to walk Target. This is such a cliche thing to say, but I do. I get a Starbucks, and I walk around Target. No one talks to me, I just stroll around. It’s quiet, and that clears my head.
I watch shows that no one else in my family likes, also known as period pieces, most British TV, and The Bachelor. I snuggle up in my bed and watch them on my phone. I plugin with headphones and zone out.
What I’m currently watching:
So there it is. These are the things I do daily to bring self-care into my life. It’s a struggle every day to get these things done, and I often feel guilty for doing them. Yoda would tell you the parent guilt is strong with this one, but I keep doing it. I tell myself I am allowed to take a break, to talk a walk, to have some coffee, and to chill-out. We all do.
How do you bring self-care into your life? What are your thoughts on this list or self-care in general? Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear what you think.