Before my maternity leave pay ran out, I had enjoyed a decade and a half of financial security. I often treated myself to little (and sometimes large) indulgences. Nowadays money is harder to come by, and without a regular income, money is mostly directed to paying bills or meeting the needs of the children. I have found out the hard way that pouring love into family (or work) without taking the time to top up my own tank, can be draining and even detrimental to my health.
The biggest obstacles to overcome were realising a) I did deserve some guilt-free 'me' time
and b) This could be achieved without over-spending.
For me, the secret was finding little treats I could enjoy which make me feel relaxed, valuable or attractive. Am I correct in thinking that there are others out there that feel the same? When your day is spent thinking about the needs of others isn't it these three qualities that are hit hardest?
So here I offer my eight top tips on feeling good:
Can't afford a babysitter or Friday night drinks out with friends?
I like to freeze the uneaten fruit which is returned home in lunch boxes or the fruit found in the fridge that doesn't look as desirable anymore, and transform it something beautiful. Lately I have also included fresh kale, nuts, honey and cinnamon. This extra large martini glass was purchased from a charity shop for the bargain price of $3 and the recyclable stainless steel straw makes me feel good about my impact on the environment.
I like to enjoy my Friday night drink when the children are asleep. Sipping from this pretty glass relaxes me and I swear it makes it taste better!
Can't afford an expensive gym membership?
We have all heard that exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, the body's natural feel good chemical, but getting into the habit of exercise can be tricky.
Personally, I can find any excuse under the sun not to exercise and I have struggled to find something that I can do (without falling on my face) that I can really enjoy. When I do find the time and self discipline, this is my exercise of choice.
Everyday a unique and memorising canvas in the sky is on display for the whole world to see, but very few of us take the time to look up. Strolling through the park, watching the clouds and colours change in patterns never to be repeated...
Finding something that makes me feel pretty.
Needless to say I am not thrilled by my post baby body and furthermore not being able to afford new fashionable clothes has taken a toll on my self-confidence. I once enjoyed dressing up for work and wearing make-up. Now it has not been a priority. However, whenever I do make an effort I do feel better about myself.
I can't afford the gorgeous professional eye lash extensions I'd love to get but I can afford to glue them on myself.
Making an ordinary meal into an occasion.
I am often on my own at night and it can be a bit dreary ... Sometimes, I like to light a candle while I am eating. Somehow, it changes the atmosphere in the room. I may not be able to dine in the finest restaurants anymore or even cook the most spectacular dishes, but my little candle helps me feel fortunate and blessed.
Massaging cream into my feet at night and wearing socks to bed does wonders to my dry soles. Reflexology is well regarded for its health benefits and worth a google search. Personally, I find a foot massage really soothing and I enjoy it even more when a significant other can lavish me with some attention! If you're interested in organic products, check out Natural Moisturising Bees Wax Kream, offered by a small Queensland business
Recently, I spent a weekend away with one of my dearest friends. We both have children who benefited from time with Dad, while we indulged in a weekend of doing all the things we can't usually do ... Sleeping-in was top of my list! Can't tell you how full my love tank was after a short break away.
Is there anything more luxurious than curling up in a corner chair and escaping to a place only found in-between the pages of a good book? Call me old fashioned, but I find reading ebooks straining on my eyes and I much prefer reading from a paper page.
Buying novels in Australia is an expensive exercise, however there are alternatives. Borrowing from the library is completely free or if you have a favourite you know you'd like to re-read why not try your local second-hand bookshop?
Soaking in a warm relaxing bath can have additional health benefits too, if you add Epsom Salts*. This naturally occurring mineral only costs a few dollars and can easily be absorbed through the skin. It is known to relieve stress by promoting the production of serotonin, reducing the effects of adrenaline, alleviate tension headaches and muscle inflammation. Why not add your favourite essential oil also for some aromatherapy advantages?
* Not recommended during pregnancy or for those with medical conditions.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips on how to spoil yourself. What things make you feel relaxed, valuable or attractive? I would love to hear your ideas.