“Self care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” – Psychcentral.com
Self care gets a bad wrap as being selfish, lazy, indulgent, wasteful.
And I get it, I felt that way about it too. Who has time or money for a weekly mani-pedi? And how is that meeting my personal needs anyway?
If that’s what you think too, well, let me explain. Self care isn’t about indulging in expensive pampering. It’s about taking care of yourself so you can be a fulfilled human and contributing member of society. Self care is about checking in with yourself and meeting your needs before you reach burnout. It may seem simple, but it’s easy to overlook. What does self care really look like in practice?
Self care can look like…
- daily exercise
- going to therapy
- taking your vitamins
- drinking enough water
- going to bed early
- calling a friend
- doing something creative
See…not a mani pedi. Which, as homesteaders would likely be a huge waste of money anyway.
Which brings me to the point…what does self care look like on a homestead?
Homesteaders have so much to do! Most are working outside the homestead to support it, many have young children, lots of homesteaders homeschool, run their homestead as a business, care for elderly family members, take their kids to soccer, run the family budget…all the normal things PLUS they homestead. So how on earth does self care fit in?
Well I’m going to challenge you here and ask…how can it NOT fit in?
I know of way too many homesteaders who burn themselves out because they aren’t prioritizing self care. Hello, myself included!
So how can be change that?
How do we fit in self care as homesteaders?
- Do it first thing. Set yourself up a morning routine that is just for YOU. This can be anything from 10min to a hour or 2. It’s up to you and what works for you and what makes you feel centered. What do you put in a morning routine? How about bullet proof herbal tea to get your body some adaptogens and healthy fats? 5 or 10 minutes of journaling. 5 or 10 minutes of yoga. It doesn’t need to be a long and complex thing, just pick some things that work for you.
- Fit it in throughout the day in small bursts. In other words, take some dang breaks. You will actually be MORE productive if you do this. Take 15 minutes to sit with your animals, or read and drink a big glass of water. Listen to music and sing along. Make a call to a friend.
- Do a social media fast. If you’re new to the concept of self care I encourage you to take a 7-10 day social media fast. Delete the apps off your phone during this time and see what this does for your stress levels. Homesteaders are just as prone to the social media time suck as anyone. And it’s terrible for your mental well being. When you’re done with your fast, take a good look at which accounts you follow that actually make you feel good and which ones don’t. Unfollow anyone who falls in the later category.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Meaning, don’t go try and start raising meat chickens, and layers, and get your first milking goats all at once. Don’t try and build the green house and the new chicken coop at the same time. Do one thing at a time.
- Work with the seasons to make the jobs easier. Seriously, nature doesn’t have to be an enemy. If you’re raising meat birds, plan it so that butchering is in the late fall when it will be easiest for you to tackle that big job. In the winter, put the garden to bed properly so it makes it easier for you when it’s time for spring planting.
- Ask for help. You might be surprised how many of your friends might actually enjoy working in the garden with you, or building a chicken coop with you. Homesteading is popular, it’s something a LOT of people are fascinated with but maybe aren’t ready to dive in themselves, or maybe they just enjoy a taste of it here or there. Make projects on the homestead a COMMUNITY affair when possible, to lighten your burden and fellowship with friends and neighbors.
- Take the time to do jobs that will make homesteading easier. Take the time to put in the garden watering system. I know it’s a pain, and extra money upfront, but dang it, it’s gonna save you so much time and money long term. And it will help you produce a better quality garden with less work. It’s 2019. Let’s act like it. There are many systems we can put in place to make homesteading less time consuming.
- Accept a slower pace. I am the queen of having grand homestead visions, and wanting to make it happen NOW. But it’s not realistic and when you hold on so tight to that need to have it “now”, oh boy is that a recipe for discontent. Do some journaling and meditation/prayer and work on your mindset around the timing of your homesteading dream. Take joy in the progress you DO make, and accept that for your own wellbeing, this dream is going to take time.
- Make the most of your chore time. I’ve listened to many a podcast/audiobook while weeding, cleaning a chicken coop, moving woodchips, moving, etc. Again, it’s 2019, we have so many opportunities at our disposal to maximize our time. Catch up on the news, listen to a good book, listen to a meditation podcast, all while you’re doing your homesteading chores. While you’re at it, this is a great time to fit in a workout. Do some extra shoveling, take the long way to the garden (if you’re on a large property), if you’re really ambitious, get some ankle weights to maximize the workout potential of your chores. You can take care of your mind, your body, and your chores all at once this way. Three birds, one stone.
- Plan ahead. Put selfcare in your calendar. Schedule it. Little things throughout the day to day is so vital, but make sure you’re also scheduling some larger things once a week or so. This could be going into town on your own and reading a book in your favorite coffee shop. Taking an epsom salt bath (lots of health benefits to this too!). Meeting up with a friend. Going on a date night. Getting a massage. Going to therapy. Taking yourself to the doctor or the dentist for a check up. Getting a hair cut. These things will not just happen unless you plan for it. So put it in the calendar! (if you need help with time management go read my post on that here.)
Friend, you are worth the time it takes to take care of yourself. And I hope this has given you some good ideas on how to make it more practical on your homestead.