Being a mom to three active kids requires a lot of my attention and effort. If I'm not careful, I can easily become overwhelmed by all the demands that parenting requires. My daughter can't find a clean leo for practice today (I swear, I just washed 4 of them) and oh, a check for a not-so-small amount or she won't be able to compete in her meet. My son needs new reeds for his baritone sax because he put them in a sealed container and they grew some rather impressive mold (turns out fuzzy, green reeds don't produce a very "soulful" sound). My youngest has become very interested in cooking and has been experimenting in the kitchen lately. She inevitably wants to make a recipe which requires 3 extra trips to the store and extra cleaning to go along with it. The dog needs to be groomed because he's dirty from our family hike this weekend, probably has hidden burrs in his hair that need to be dug out. I haven't yet scratched the surface but, ok, ok, you get the picture.
After we moved to California and I started my business, life got even more complicated. I say complicated in the best possible way, because we are really happy here and my coaching practice has become a great source of joy for me. I knew going into all these changes, however, that I was going to need some sort of self-care structure to keep me from getting totally overwhelmed and neglecting my health and well-being.
I started by thinking about the activities that I do that are sometimes selfish, yet life-affirming, and positive; activities and practices that keep me functioning well and feeling great. I came up with three things that I wanted to do every day.
Exercise is number one. Whether it's 20 minutes of yoga, 1 hour of surfing, or 2 hours of walking, exercise gives me the stamina to make the most of my days, plus it almost always puts me in a positive mood.
Meditate is number two. Just 20 minutes a day has helped me to be able to access my calm self more quickly and it has built up my awareness of and ability to stop and redirect my 'monkey mind.'
Create is number three. If I could do at least one thing every day that has some sort of creativity involved, then I am a happy camper. This could be anything from writing a blog, to designing some promotional materials, entertaining my kids in a wacky way, or (my favorite) using creative skills in coaching my clients. As long as it is stress free and creative, it counts!
At the bottom of each day on my planner I write the letters E M C (exercise, meditate, and
create), with boxes underneath them. I check them off every night before bed. This serves two purposes; first, it brings me a feeling of accomplishment and great satisfaction to check boxes    and second, it cues me to reflect on my day in a positive way instead of thinking of all the things I never got to and disappearing down that negative rabbit hole right before I go to bed. This has become a positive habit and I find that it is a nice way to end my day and set me up for a good night of sleep.
If I don't get to all three, I don't beat myself up, I just tell myself that tomorrow is another chance to check all the boxes.
Do you have a method for holding yourself accountable when it comes to self-care?
What would your three boxes be?