But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, taking care of yourself is so important for your marriage and it’s good for your kids to see too. The challenge is being able to make time for it without burdening your partner and doing it without feeling guilty. Here are my tips:
1. Make a self-care night
If you’re scheduling a date night once a week or once a month (like us, if we’re lucky), then I suggest turning one of them into a “you” night, where you get a sitter and go do your own thing. As important as it is for you to do things together, it’s great to do things alone too, whether it’s just sitting quietly by yourself at the bookstore, getting a massage, or shopping at the mall.
2. Create a barter system
Because my schedule is so challenging, I like the idea of creating a barter system for time. You basically come up with a trade for time: You get two hours on one weekend, he gets two hours on another. Sure, it could be seen as a version of scorekeeping but it’s actually just a way to keep track so one person doesn’t feel put out by another person’s hobby or free time.
3. Redefine your expectations
Self-care means different things to different people. And while you might have a weekend away with the girls in mind, that might not be feasible given your time and budget. Sometimes it’s just 30 minutes of quiet reading and a cup of coffee that will allow you to re-center yourself. Other times, it’s a pedicure or a nap. I encourage you to examine how you’re defining self-care and adjust that expectation to what you can actually accomplish.
4. Adapt your schedule
If you don’t have any extra time to spare in your schedule and you don’t have money for a sitter (trust me, I have been there), then I suggest you take a hard look at your schedule to see what you can adapt or change to allow for taking care of yourself. Can you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to give yourself a hour (or 30 minutes) of quiet before the day starts? Take a peek at how you’re spending your time and adjust your schedule accordingly.