On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve I was pretending to be productive during my son’s nap, while actually reading food blogs and scrolling through Instagram. I was reading Joy the Baker’s weekly Let It Be Sunday, when I came across a list of New Year’s Eve Reflection Questions. I don’t always set New Year’s Resolutions, but for some reason this list jumped out at me. I read the question, “What was the single most challenging thing that happened” last year, and knew my answer instantly:
At the beginning of 2017, my family and I moved to San Francisco for my husband’s new job. Even though we both knew the move was the right thing for our family, it was so heartbreaking to leave Austin, a city we had grown to love and that felt like home. Moving to a new city with a six month old is a whole separate post, but despite how hard it was and how cheesy this sounds, the move taught me so much about myself.
One of the final questions on the list asked about the most significant thing I learned over the past year, and this answer came to me easily, as well:
I learned that as a mother, self- care is everything. After our move I realized that in order to find joy amidst change (and to maintain my sanity), I had to make myself a priority. I’ve found that for me, self-care means doing small things that make me feel happy and grounded. Sometimes this meant carving out alone time for myself, and sometimes it meant planning fun experiences to do together as a family to explore our new city.
My intention for this year is to take the lessons I learned last year from my crash course in self- care, and use them to be my best self. I know I will be more successful at taking care of myself this year, if I start carving out some “mama time” and adding some new experiences to our family calendar now. I thought it’d be fun, while I’m at it, to share some of my (local) self-care ideas with you…
- Wander the halls of a museum and soak in the peace and quiet. I’m dying to see the Rodin and Klimt Exhibition before it’s gone, as well as the Robert Rauschenberg Exhibition.
- I love to go see movies alone- is that weird? Head to Alamo Drafthouse and order a cocktail during the film.
- Meet a girlfriend at Craftsman and Wolves or your favorite neighborhood cafe and order a glass of bubbles and a pastry (or two) to share.
- Hike the Creeks to Peaks Trail with your family. The stunning views at the top make the climb worth it, and you’ll finish this hike with your heart rate pumping and a sense of accomplishment. Our family did some great hikes last year with this handy book as our guide. A new hike I’d like to do this year: Batteries to Bluffs Trail.
- Go to the Korean Spa and detox in the sauna and steam room before getting a full body scrub and massage. My mom and I went here for my birthday in November, and it was unlike any spa experience we’d shared before!
- Sneak out to stretch and sweat at a yoga class, or do a quick YogaGlo video while your little one is napping. This year I’d like to challenge myself and take a class I’ve never tried before, like Aerial or Acroyoga.
- Get lost in the Botanical Gardens. There is something magical about this place that transports me and lifts my spirits when I need a temporary escape from city life to clear my head. Added bonus: there are a myriad of sticks and leaves to explore, so my son loves it as much as I do.
- Escape into the pages of a good book after your little one(s) is asleep. Two of my favorite reads last year were Exit West and The Mothers. On the top of my current list is Sing, Unburied, Sing.
I could go on, but instead of reading more of my self-care ideas, you should start brainstorming your own! Some of these experiences helped me feel more present and relaxed last year, and some are new things I’m excited to try this year. If you have any favorite ways to unwind and take care of yourself I’d love to hear them! Happy New Year, mamas. We’ve got this!