Finding Time for Myself

In the past three weeks I reached quite a few of the goals set out by Ann Dunnewold and Diane Sanford, experts in maternal health and masterminds of the Living: The Self-Care Challenge.

  • I laughed out loud while reading the book Sh*t My Dad Says. (To clarify, they suggested watching funny online videos; the book was my choice for humor fix.)
  • I got so into the relaxing crocodile yoga pose that I fell asleep.
  • I enjoyed nature by walking barefoot in the grass while flying kites with my kids.
  • I indulged my inner child by making cookies and eating as much dough as I wanted.

But there are a few areas I still need to work on.

  • I didn't ask anyone for help on Day 16.
  • I didn't go to sleep 10 minutes early on Day 8 (though I did get seven hours of sleep all weekend -- does that count??)
  • I didn't call a friend just to chat on Day 7.

What surpised me the most is that I was already doing some of their suggestions, like talking to myself in positive language. I learned to do that after a bout of postpartum depression following my youngest son's birth four years ago. Back then, I found the book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life infinitely helpful. Had Dunnewold and Sanford's new book Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom's Postpartum Survival Guide been published at that time, I've no doubt it would have been beside my bed for daily reading as well.

If you missed the challenge, it's not too late -- the authors have announced that they're continuing the site's popular daily self-care mantras and ideas. And if you read about it here but were scared off by the time commitment, give it a try!  You may be surprised by how easy it is to work in the 10-minute-a-day practices -- and you may find you can pat yourself on the back for things you're already doing!

By Amy De La Hunt, Health Blogger for SmartParenting

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Amy De La Hunt is a journalist and editor who lives in the St. Louis metro area and works across the country as a writer, copy editor, project manager and editorial consultant on everything from fiction books to monthly magazines to blog posts. When she's not chauffeuring her teenage sons to activities, Amy is an enthusiastic amateur cook, landscaper, Latin dancer and traveler. Follow Amy on Instagram @amy_in_words

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