Make yourself a priority by Erin Pennings for Hike it Baby

“I’ll take care of myself tomorrow” shouldn’t be a lie we tell ourselves, but we’ve all said it. And we’ll continue to do so. But how can more of us start putting self-care into action?? We all want to make ourselves a priority, but the kids need to eat (at least 3 times a day if you can believe that!). The dishes need washing. The laundry is piling up.

Somewhere in there, beneath the mud and suds, we slowly lose sight of ourselves as a priority. But more than that, we somehow feel guilty when taking any time for ourselves. A pedicure. A haircut. A nice walk in the woods.

How many of us have gone more than six months saying we just need a trim, but never managed to get to a salon? (I’m raising my hand, too.) How many of us live within striking distance of one or more great trails, but never seem to get to them? (Yep, me too. Again.)

Self-care shouldn’t take a backseat the rest of your life

There will always be work to do – whether in an office or in the home. And for Pete’s sake, we’re wearing tomorrow’s laundry. However, today is in limited supply. So make today count for your sanity and self-care. But how? That’s where the 10K Women Trail Project and Hike it Baby really shine. Both put the power of self-care back in our hands – and our feet.

It’s important to note that self-care doesn’t have to mean finding a sitter. It can mean getting outside together, reconnecting with fresh air, sunshine and trees, and coming away feeling truly refreshed. Then again, if you have a toddler screaming bloody murder or refusing to walk or be carried, that’s not relaxing. So a solo or adults-only trip can be super refreshing too. It’s OK to drop your kid off at a friend’s house; don’t feel guilty about this.

5 Guilt-free ways to practice self-care

With that said, there are some really great options to start making yourself a priority, regardless where you live.

  1. Take a hike. You probably saw that one coming, but it’s one of the best ways to give yourself a break.
  2. Enjoy a solo walk. You may have somewhere in mind or not, but regardless, let your mind wander with your feet.
  3. Meet your friends for an adventure and gabfest. You might work out your problems out loud or in your head from the change of scenery alone.
  4. Explore somewhere new with your family. There’s something about seeing the world anew through your children’s eyes that refreshes your perspective.
  5. Get your sweat on. Whenever, however, wherever. Those endorphins are powerful.

Yes, I know these self-care ideas focus on getting outside. But that’s how I reconnect. You can read more about my story here. Maybe your ideas are different (please share your favorite self-care solutions in the comments!).

Making yourself a priority by Erin Pennings for Hike it Baby

Make a date with yourself

Set a goal for yourself to take at least 30 minutes every day for you. If you say you’ll do it, schedule time for yourself and you’ll be more likely to actually do it. For more accountability, maybe you might think about joining an support group or challenge. The bottom line is that you should never feel guilty for needing to take care of yourself – whatever that means for you. You deserve it. More than that you owe it to yourself. And you owe it to your family to be that better person.

And, it’s not limited to moms. We’re all overwhelmed by life, because life is hard. Taking a conscious step away can help us refocus and see our to-do lists from the mile-high perspective instead of getting bogged down by the ins and outs.

It’s a lesson we all need to learn – and some of us more than once. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean putting everything else last. In fact, by putting yourself first, you can start regaining your sanity and that fierce woman who was hiding in the laundry basket. And maybe you’ll remember that the mud you find on trail is the solution instead of the problem. After all, that’s why we have laundry detergent.

Photos courtesy of Diane Main and Jessica Human.

Read more

Anyone can register for the Project, whether they are part of Hike it Baby or not. Simply go to www.10KWomenTrailProject.org and sign up. Once you log hikes, you will be entered to win cool prizes every month. It’s that easy! Think about friends you can invite to register and get hiking. The project goes through September 1, 2018.

 

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