Self-care is a really hot topic these days. I’m thankful that people, especially women, understand how critical taking care of ourselves is to wellness. I wasn’t an easy convert. When self-care first became a top of mind subject, it felt like a buzzword type of thing. It was really a bandwagon that everyone was jumping on. I mean being able to drink my coffee hot always felt like a self-care win to me!
But..women who truly understand the practice of self-care started educating the masses on the deeper implication of focusing on our whole being. They opened up the definition and clarified that self-care would look different for everyone. I watched experts in optimal health give examples of how healing and growth comes from intentionally taking care of our mental, physical, and spiritual health. That’s when I started to get it.
And as my daughter gets older, I want to make sure she has some tools for self-care to be able to make sure she’s okay for herself. We don’t have to wait until a girl grows up to have a body filled with anxiety and stress to teach her about self-care. This is a life skill, a critical life skill, that we have to start teaching early on.
1. VERBAL CHECK-IN
Every day, have an intentional check-in about how she’s feeling and also about how you’re doing. These conversations should be pointed and direct, simply, “Checking in—how do you feel today?” Don’t let her get away with just saying fine. Teach her to express different emotions, from being content to feeling stressed out.
2. SCHEDULE DOWN DAYS
If your daughter has a schedule like mine, you’re likely on the go all the time. Between all of her activities, there is rarely time to take a breath! Schedule time in your schedule for “down days” or periods of time when you don’t do anything. You can lay in bed and watch movies all day, or choose to spend your day window shopping. Whatever you do, it happens at your leisure. These days give the two of you time to reset, and stop you from being overwhelmed.
3. EAT GOOD FOOD
My daughter knows we follow a pretty healthy routine in our home, so she knows the power of good nutrition. She knows that the right meal can give us energy, help us think more clearly, and be in a better mood overall. I’ve taught her that picking a pear over a bag of candy can be an act of self-care because I’m choosing to have an afternoon where I’m energetic and happy, rather than tired from a sugar crash.
4. TAKE TIME TO BREAK DOWN PERSONAL HYGIENE
Whether it’s hair day where we’re deep conditioning and detangling, or we’re trying out a new deodorant or face mask, personal hygiene is absolutely a form of self-care. When you’re teaching your daughter how to care for her body, talk to her about different lotions and soaps and how the skin reacts to them. Tell her why certain shampoos and conditioners make her hair soft while others make her scalp flaky. A lot of girls go years of doing the best they can with personal hygiene, but struggle with issues like eczema and dandruff because no one talked to them about how to really take care of that part of themselves.
5. FIND GOOD TIMES TOGETHER
Focusing on self-care with your daughter is wonderful because you have a built-in accountability partner. You are building a closer bond with her. Go out of your way to find fun with your daughter. It could be that you’re at home watching a funny movie and cracking up together, or you’re splashing each other at the local pool. Show her that self-care is also doing things that make her feel happy.
Raising a child who is mindful and content is self-care for me. When she thrives, my mama heart is at peace. I wish I knew about self-care and had put it into practice when I was younger. It certainly would have made for a more pleasant young adult experience. But, I know now. And I can teach my daughter.