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The one thing that you should be doing for yourself this year (and always!)

Wellness is much more than just clean food. We take a holistic approach to restore our spaces, thoughts, bodies and hearts in a small but powerful way. Introduction to the RE: SET Challenge – A 21 Day Plan for a Healthier, Happier Person. Click here for the full list. Next, how to keep space for yourself.

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I started the new year with a clear but simple solution: To take a seat for myself. This may seem a little silly or even confusing to some, but as I welcomed my daughter into the world and celebrated my son’s fourth birthday, it became increasingly clear that I had lost a little of myself in motherhood.

Some of you may nod sympathetically: Motherhood is a roller coaster ride in which you lose yourself and find yourself again and again.

Perhaps it was the arrival of a second child in our lives that made me stop and see what I was doing for me in everyday chaos. It wasn’t much.

On a typical morning, I woke up, fed the baby, made coffee for my husband, fed the dog, made breakfast, and packed lunch for my four year old and if I had time to turn on the kettle for myself. I’m a great person for morning rituals, so this pattern set the tone for me to position myself last for the rest of the day as well. After my husband and son left the house, I drowned doing household chores, couldn’t exercise, or really prepared for the day, and frankly, it didn’t take long for resentments to develop around this morning routine.

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Most experienced parents will tell you that if you do not take care of yourself, it is next to impossible to look after those around you. And that goes for those of you who are not parents too.

Healthy relationships begin with a healthy relationship with yourself. Plain and simple.

In the middle of the vacation, I felt the unsettling discomfort something had to change. As challenging as it was to overcome this discomfort and change, I began making a plan for the New Year: by 2021, I would take a place in my own life. I explained it to my husband, friends, brother, and in-laws. I had to be held accountable. I did it that way.

I became realistic about my morning routine.

I made a list of what I wanted to achieve each day and figured out where it actually fitted on my morning. With two children and a husband also trying to establish healthy morning habits, it wouldn’t be like this when I first woke up, but that didn’t mean it was impossible. Once the boys are out the door, I can drop my daughter off for her first nap and get there. For me it’s gratitude journal, meditation, training, making breakfast and getting ready for the day. It’s about getting realistic about when it’s actually going to happen and adjusting plans for the day to make them a priority.

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I became more intentional with my time alone.

Each week my husband and I give each other a bedtime free night to regroup, relax, and do what we want. Before the New Year, I used my evening almost every week to meet friends for a drink. Which is fine at times, of course, but I had to focus on using my time alone more productively. It looks different every week – sometimes I really need an evening with friends, but most of the time I used my night to take a yoga class in a different neighborhood so I can really recharge and come back refreshed.

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I make a conscious effort to do something small for myself every day.

I’m so quick to grab a friend for a coffee or pick up a small present for my husband, but when it comes to myself there is usually a “I do not need thatMentality. Here are some things I recently did for myself to give you an idea:

  • I got my first eyebrow wax in eight years (yes, eight years.)
  • Indulged in this ten minute massage when I was getting a pedicure.
  • Took some healthy takeaway for lunch.
  • Accepted help from friends when they offered.

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Don’t be afraid to take an opportunity that is just for you.

I told myself in mid-December it was time for me to go back to work. I could feel it in my soul that it was time to get back to it. It was time to be surrounded by great food and wine, chat to adults, and have a reason to get dressed outside of a date night. Maybe it was because I allowed myself to accept that it was time, but my husband came across the perfect job a week later. It’s easily one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

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Final thoughts …

Making changes, especially as a mother when your family is so dependent on you, can be terrifying, but I haven’t felt anything like me in a long time. As much as I’ve ridden the roller coaster of the lost and found in motherhood, I really feel like the best of me and it feels good. All of these changes at once can be overwhelming, and if it feels like that to you, start small. Start with what feels most natural and go from there. It will make you a better partner, parent, friend, and person.

This post was originally published on January 28, 2020 and has been updated since then.

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