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Redefining Self-Care

By Jen Wittes

venting to friendsWhen Midwife Kate spoke with me about caregiver burnout, she shared some thoughts about the notion of “self-care.”

As midwives and doulas and doctors and friends, we tell the new mama to take care of herself–to put on that oxygen mask before tending the the needs of her little one.  But what does that mean?  Who has the time for pampering when you’re running to the store for…well…Pampers?

Kate suggested that we redefine self-care to go beyond a pedicure, latte, or long nap.  Some of these things sap both time and money and essentially lead to more stress.  While pretty much no one on earth deserves a hot stone massage more than a new mama, reserving the hour and dollars for such an event can be difficult.

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  • Cheap fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s; relaxing as you rearrange them in a favorite vase.
  • Make a semi-healthy, semi indulgent afternoon shake.  Think orange sherbet and pineapple chunks OR vanilla frozen greek yogurt with peanut butter and banana.
  • Home services:  instead of spending on a spa day, buy a few shifts with a housekeeper.  Zen your space rather than seeking it elsewhere.
  • On that note, 15 minute meditation.  Nothing fancy.  Just breathe and be you, as you are.
  • Make muffins.  There you go.  Breakfast for the week.  Done.  No more skipping the most important meal!
  • Walk with a friend.  And laugh.  And vent.

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  • Triple the chili batch...creating frozen and fridge-ready meals for the nights when you’re too tired and haven’t been to the grocery store.
  • On that note, order groceries online…in your PJs while watching a favorite TV show.  The small delivery charge is well worth the time and stress saved.
  • Go to bed.  Schedule a handful of early bedtimes for yourself and STICK TO THEM.  Doesn’t have to be every night…just 4 (or whatever number you choose).  Refresh, reset, relax.

And don’t think we’re knocking the spa, the salon, or the yoga studio if that’s your thing…simply saying that you don’t necessarily have to go big to stay well.


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