One of the most important messages I hope to communicate is that the best self care is the everyday kind. The kind you integrate into your regular life. It's the small, regular practices that can keep you sane, give you energy, and help you not want to run away from your life.
A prayer time in the shower? Yes.
Wednesday morning yoga with a friend? Yes.
Reminding yourself it's okay to be human? Yes.
Eating a real lunch, not just kids' leftovers? Yes.
Heading to bed with enough energy to brush and floss? Yes.
But there are other experiences that that go beyond the day-to-day. And I want to encourage you to invest in what brings you JOY this year.
Invest in JOY
One of my coaching clients observed how one of her "passion points" is being outside. She saw how good a trip to the Oregon coast was for her - in the moment, but also how it had "a lasting impact" on her well-being. The investment of time, money, and energy it took for her family to travel there was well worth it for the joy it brought her.
Reframing what's "okay" to spend money on
I've heard my fair share of moms tell me how hard it is to spend money on themselves, particularly if it's something just for them. Whether they don't feel they contribute to the household income "enough" to have a say in how it's spent, feel guilty about spending money on intangibles (like a housecleaning service, movie tickets, or a class), or are simply a "saver" by nature, it is a real challenge for most of us moms to think about money.
But what if you could re-frame what it's "okay" to spend money on?
It's so very easy to impulse-buy this or that, particularly when our moods are low. We might not even be aware that we're feeling bored, isolated, or in need of a pick-me-up. "I deserve this," we might think, adding a few drugstore lip colors to our shopping baskets, impulsively clicking "Add to Cart" on Amazon, or grabbing a few items from the Target endcap display. (#treatyoself, anyone?)
And yet, psychological studies show we're happier when we spend money on experiences, not things.
Clockwise from top left: Carl Malamud / NeONBRAND / Takahiro Sakamoto / Jazmin Quaynor
What if, instead of impulsively splurging, you invested in what brings you joy?
As I've shared before, one of the great joys of my life is friendship. Cultivating deep relationships with my friends is a great source of enjoyment, love, and comfort.
That's why, when I heard that my friend from Australia would be in L.A. for a week, I jumped at the chance to see her and some of the dear, old friends we still have in the area.
I am so glad I had the privilege of saying YES to this life-giving trip.
Here are some photos, if you'd like to see (or scroll to the end for your "Invest in Joy" Action Plan!).
THEN: My wedding in 2007! Lexie's directly behind me.
NOW (11 years later): visiting our old apartment in Claremont, CA
NOW: Reconnecting with our old housemate, Maite, and her adorable daughter
Lexie and Maite were my first housemates out of college. It was my first time seeing Maite as a mom(!), which was a total delight. (And she's been telling her co-workers about my podcast interview - thank you, friend!)
THEN: My brilliant college roomie Stacey in 2012, after the birth of our 2nd son
NOW: Is she only becoming more beautiful with time? Um, yes. Yes, she is.
This woman has been a cheerleader in my life since we were sophomores in college! Not only is she incredibly ambitious (hello, realizing her dream of working at the Oprah Winfrey Network), she has a beautiful heart and sees sides of me others may not.
Okay, last ones of the friends I stayed with, my husband's college besties and their two awesome daughters...Love you guys!
THEN: 2011 with our oldest || NOW: 7 years later with little sis!
THEN: babyfaced at our 2007 wedding || NOW: best hosts and framily
I've come back to Seattle feeling like I've made a valuable investment in my own joy, and in the lives of my friends. Win/win!
Your "Invest in Joy" Action Plan:
What brings YOU joy?
What is ONE way you can make an investment in JOY this year?
- I will hire a babysitter on the first Saturday of the month so I can have coffee with a close friend.
- I will start a special savings fund now to take an art class this spring.
- I will finally replace my jacket and get insoles for my boots so I can get outside more easily.
What needs to shift to be able to do that?
- I will stop spending money on _______ to be able to invest in ________.
- I will take 10 minutes to journal about everything that keeps me from spending money on myself (even when I see that it's making me feel sorry for myself!).
- I will ask a friend to keep me accountable to finally _________ (planning that trip, taking that class, signing up for that activity).
As my friend Katrina writes, "Part of self-care is saying, 'Even though I could go without this, I am going to allow myself this life-giving moment.' For weary moms, I can't stress enough the importance of this. Not only do we need to model self-care to our kids, we are better able to serve and give of ourselves when we are whole and taken care of. "
Expert help at your fingertips
Confession: I'm torn every time I write a post like this, because what I really want is to talk to each and every one of you about it! I'm certain that the questions above can help you, but sometimes you need a real, live person on the other end of the conversation to help you invest in what matters most.
That's why I make time every month to talk to women just like you about what brings them joy and what practical steps they can take to find more of it.
If you'd like a compassionate partner in sorting out how to invest in JOY this year, I hope you'll reach out! Just fill out the contact form, and I'll email you back ASAP to find a time to talk.
Whether you're figuring out what brings you joy, scratching your head about how to have more of that in your life, or feeling stuck in actually making the investment, I'd love to be of service.
Happy New Year, Brave Self Care community! As we turn the page on a new year, I took a look at the most popular blog posts from 2017. These are the posts that got read, shared, and 'liked' - THANK YOU for your support! Here they are in case you missed them.
How to Avoid Your Monster Self (part 1 // part 2 // part 3)
For those of you having more bad days than you'd like, learning how to pay attention to yourself and make adjustments will help keep your Monster Self at bay.
Preschool Drop-Off in 17 Easy Steps
You want to drop my son off at preschool? It's easy! Just follow these 17 simple steps. (With pictures!)
9 Things I've Said 'No' to This Christmas
From the comments section: "I've been kicking myself for not doing Advent readings/devotionals regularly so I was pleasantly shocked that they were on your list. Thanks for reminding me that NO is an OK response sometimes."
Celebrating One Year
How making my first best friend in kindergarten led me to where I am today.
6 Ways to Figure Out What You Want
"We are experts at knowing what our kids want and amateurs at knowing what we want." Learn six strategies that I use with my clients to help figure out what YOU want.
What's the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling? - Charissa's Pick
This post answers one of the most commonly asked questions I get asked - what's the difference between working with a coach and getting counseling? Read on to find out which is a better fit for you.
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