Have you ever noticed that there are some things you just won’t/can’t do without? Things that help you thrive, and some days literally mean the difference between surviving with your sanity intact; or not. You know, the things you really struggle without; Maybe it’s hobby time, exercise, music, prayer, journaling, cooking…
I have 5 of these non-negotiables. Would love for you to share yours with me in the comments!
1. Group Quiet Time
Quiet time is one of my non-negotiables for maintaining a peaceful home. At the moment, none of my children (5 under 10 years) currently have a day sleep. This means the two little ones (2 and 4 years) are in bed by 6 pm and the three big kids are all lights out no later than 8 pm, often before.
But earlier bedtimes don’t negate the need for quiet periods during the day.
These are still absolutely crucial to the running of the home, and my own self care.
As a homeschooling mother, I am with my children most days for most of the time. Short, regular quiet periods help us all to refresh. I don’t see any point in powering through and then feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus at the end of the day. So I implement short but regular quiet times for everyone. It could be spent playing a board game, reading a book, building Lego or drawing, but it’s quiet, it’s calm and it’s peaceful.
If you’re struggling to maintain some quiet moments during the day, you might find my quiet time chart useful.
At present, we no longer need to use this chart but for a while there, I used it daily as an incentive for the littlies. Each day that they had great quiet time (appropriate resting behaviour for an hour), they got a tick and if they got all their ticks in a week, we would do something special, like walk to the park, take a family bike ride or have a friend over for a play.
2. Personal Quiet Time
Personal quiet time is another non-negotiable for me, and in order to get it, I have to rise a bit earlier than the rest of the house, or at least earlier than my kids! I usually get up when my husband does for work and we spend some time together, before I cloister myself off in a corner for some quiet time.
Whether you read, write in your journal, pray, meditate, listen to music, check in with your goals, write your MITs or just sip on a hot cuppa, I highly recommend making personal quiet a priority sometime during the first hour of your day. It’s VERY difficult to claw it back once the kids are awake.
Sleep is perhaps the simplest thing any mother can gift herself. It’s not always the easiest, but it is the simplest and more often than not, also the most effective!
You’ve probably heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again – sleep is absolutely non-negotiable. I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I need 8 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period. And I do what I have to do to secure it!
I would like to be able to thrive on less (oh, what I could do with one extra hour each day!), but at this point in my life and motherhood, I simply can’t. So I make it a priority to have 8 hours sleep each night.
This means that nightly TV binges are out of the question and that the phone is switched off or silenced by a certain time. It also means I have to be organised and have come to accept that if the washing isn’t hung out when it’s time to go to bed, it will just have to wait till morning.
There was a time I would stay up later to get stuff finished, and then sustain myself with coffee the next day. But after 10 years of motherhood, I’ve finally learned that there is no housekeeping task that takes precedence over sleep.
4. Gratitude Moments
Each night, before I retire, I take a minute (usually that’s all it takes) to think of the top few things I’m grateful for from the day. Often, I’ll share with my husband and we try to take the kids through this each night before they go to sleep. Even if it’s just one thing – one thing that they are truly thankful for from the day; it goes a long way towards helping to preserve a positive mindset and care for your mindset is a big piece of the self care puzzle.
Grab your free gratitude journal page HERE.
5. Good Food
Nutritious food is uplifting – both for the body and the mind. I’m not by any stretch a food guru or nutritious food pin-up girl, but I do notice a difference when I make an effort to eat well. Even if it’s just ensuring I drink enough water throughout the day, or switching sugar in my coffee for stevia, it’s the little things that can make a difference.
As a busy mother, I find the biggest barrier to eating well is time. So most evenings I try to cook enough food that there is leftover lunch for myself the next day. Most nights also, I make my kid’s lunches (just as if they were going to school) and so I know we’re all set for a better lunch than if I’d waited till midday and found myself madly trying to find something for hungry mouths.
Now over to you… I’d love to know what YOUR top 5 non-negotiables are for self care! Share with me in the comments.