One early spring weekend, we were fortunate to have the chance to stay at a friend’s house on the Cape. Leading up to our trip, I dreamed of beach life, sunshine, and a respite from city life. But alas, traveling with a toddler meant new and unexpected adventures for a little one, complete with the obvious breakdown of routines.
Through it all, I noticed the breakdown was much easier to deal with when I took small moments to care for myself. So when your toddler won’t nap, when you want some alone time, when deadlines still exist, and when the balancing act is a tightrope wound up, well, tight, try some of these self-care tips you can do anytime, anywhere.
I know, I know. That’s an obvious one, you say! Personally, though, I’m surprised at how often I hold my breath. When I begin to become aware of myself again, I take a deep belly breath. I do this with some sort of counting up or down, and I attempt to connect with my own rhythm. In order to achieve this connection, it’s best to practice deep breaths when said toddler is not screaming. This way you’re better equipped to take deep breaths when your toddler is screaming. (You know, when you’re trapped indoors to avoid the torrentially rainy day. Or at 1 a.m. and then again at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. The child’s preference, of course, and timing. Not yours.)
This. This is both possible and necessary. (And not only to balance the first few coffees of the day, important after the late night/early morning screaming mentioned above.) With all the forms of reusable water bottles these days, it’s paramount to have them at the ready. Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor, too. Refill that Brita before it hits empty, and refill it often. You will thank yourself, as will your hosts and housemates. It’s also the kind thing to do for your body.
Just move, however you like. I’m apt for a morning stretch and some moments of yoga, which are restorative and grounding. I also highly recommend running after a toddler as she soars toward the frigid open waters with lightning speed, wading into the water in her winter boots. In our case, this meant reenacting all moments of Moana as you hear — and sing — “How far I’ll goooooo.”
4. “Above all, sleep!”
My daughter’s dad reminded me of this as I rattled off tips number 1, 2, and 3. Oh, funny I missed that one — isn’t it ironic? (Dontcha think? It’s like rain, on your vacation days. A free bag of candy, when you’ve already paid. Hopefully, this is some advice, that you just can take. But, who would’ve thought? It figures!)
5. Humor. Don’t forget humor.
If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.