I was working on a bunch of projects with my nieces and as we needed to learn information I was opening new tabs in my internet browser. We had about 7-10 open when my teenage niece says to me, “that many open tabs gives me anxiety!”. I turned to her and said, “that’s what my brain feels like all the time.” I may have done a wild eyed slow turn and half whispered this at her as I was realizing this.
I feel like I have 10 tabs open at all times.
“What am I going to make for dinner?”
“I need to change the clothes to the dryer.”
“I need to fold and put away all the clothes.”
“But first the dog will need to be walked.”
“Almost lunch and nap, have to make sure I do all the lunch and nap things”
“While they nap I should probably shower. Or should I fold and put away the clothes?”
“The kitchen floor looks gross! Maybe I should vacuum and mop instead of the clothes or the shower. But when did I shower last?”
“I need to fill out the school paperwork.”
“I need to sign the little guy up for his class.”
“Oh, its August, I need to get the car inspected this month. What does my calendar look like?”
“Should I turn off the fan? I don’t remember the last time I dusted it and it’s probably just spewing dust everywhere.”
It was the perfect example of what my brain feels like at times. It feels like there are too many tabs open and maybe you can’t even see all of them anymore, you just see those little arrows that tell you there’s more hidden. But you don’t see those arrows right away, they’ve been there and then all of a sudden you see the arrows and you sorta freak out for a second when you notice them.
Luckily making lists helps me focus on what open tabs I need to focus on so that my brain can start to close some out. But even that sometimes is one of the tabs – “make list of things I need to accomplish today” – which is why it is important to focus on our mama selves. In reality it doesn’t take too long to come up with that list, even though it can feel like it will. If I take 5 minutes to do something for myself I will be better off the rest of the day.
In 5 minutes I could accomplish one of these helpful for me things:
- make a list
- shower (although, I’m not a fan of the 5 minute shower, I like the loooong hot showers of yore, okay maybe they didn’t have hot water in “yore” but you get the idea)
- pick out an intentional oil blend to put in my diffuser (Peace & Calming perhaps?)
- sit in a quiet space
- read a chapter of a book
- read one of the many open browsers on my cellphone that I’ve been meaning to read for the past 6 months
- put some lotion on my hands (especially in winter)
- do squats (maybe not good for my mind, but my bum wouldn’t mind)
Instead I tend to pick up my phone for those 5 minutes and check my email, texts, and social media, further fragmenting my mind. I find that making the choice to take care of myself is actually the biggest hurdle. It comes more naturally to choose something automatic and motion filled.
I know what I’d like my kids to do though, I know what I’d want them to choose. So I will aim to improve this habit of mine. I will choose the 5 minutes of self care to be an example for them. So strange how I have to trick myself into doing what I know is a good, but this mama brain is full and sometimes we have to trick it to work with us.
What are some 5 minute self care ideas that help you?