We live in a very busy world. There’s always so much to do, and if your to-do list is anything like mine, it never gets any shorter. I cross one thing off and then add something new to my never-ending task list.
As women, we are caretakers. We care for our families, our homes, our friends, and it’s so, so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and neglect to take care of ourselves.
When was the last time you did something just for you? I’ll bet it’s been a while.
But it’s true what they say: you can’t pour from an empty cup. So if you want to continue to care for everything that’s important in your life, you’re going to need to stop for a moment and take care of yourself.
Today I’m sharing 20 self-care tips for busy dog moms, but these tips really apply to all women, whether you live with a dog or not.
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20 Self-Care Tips for Busy Dog Moms
1. Get plenty of sleep.
Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard this a million times but it’s hard to get 7 or 8 hours of good sleep each night when there’s so much work to be done. Well, ya know what? When you’re well-rested, you’re more productive than when you’re running on too little sleep. So when you allow yourself plenty of time for a good night’s rest, you’ll feel better and get more done the next day.
Looking for some tips to turn your bedroom into a sanctuary where you can relax and unwind? Click here.
2. Eat right.
Your body needs the fuel that comes from good foods. Too much sugar and caffeine will hype you up for a few minutes but leave you crashing later. Junk food is empty calories that have no nutritional value for your body. Treat yourself to healthy food to keep your body running at its fullest potential.
I’m not suggesting that you join a gym and work out 3 times a week, although it would be great if you did. I’m saying that if you just remind yourself to move, you’ll feel better.
Take your dog for a walk. Ride your bike around the block. Park your car as far away from the door as possible and get in those steps. I love having a FitBit to help me monitor my activity each day; it’s a great reminder to keep moving.
Dogs make great work-out partners! Learn more here!
4. Build friendships.
I’m kind of a solitary person. I enjoy my own company a lot, and it’s easy for me to shut myself off from the world.
But the truth is, it’s not healthy to live this way all the time. We need people. We need community. You don’t need a huge group to hang out with, but a small circle of trusted friends will enrich your life and help you feel connected to something outside of yourself. Plus, it’s always nice to chat with a friend over a glass of wine.
5. Be thankful.
There’s always something to be thankful for, and living with a heart full of gratitude is so much better than the alternative. Appreciate all the blessings in your life, little and big, and just watch how your perspective changes.
Try recording your thankfulness in a gratitude journal to see what a difference being thankful can make in your life.
One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to read. I’ve always loved to read, and I love the way that a good book can transport me to another place and time. Reading for just a few minutes a day is a great way to relax and stimulate your brain.
There are so many great books about dogs. What’s on your reading list?
7. Learn to say no.
As caretakers, we’re often people-pleasers as well. People ask a lot of us, and far too often we say yes even when we really should say no. Being helpful is great, but not when it comes at the expense of your own peace of mind or well-being. If you can’t (or don’t want to) take on a project or help a friend, don’t be afraid to say no. And don’t feel like you have to give an explanation.
8. Accept your limitations.
News flash: you’re human and you can’t do it all. Stop beating yourself up when you can’t get it all done today; there’s always tomorrow. You’re not a super hero and sometimes it’s okay to let things go.
9. Live in the moment.
No one is promised tomorrow, so don’t put off your life until then. Live for today and recognize those moments of true happiness and joy. Tomorrow will take care of itself; focus on what’s happening right now.
You know that electronic leash that keeps you tied to your phone, your tablet, your computer, and your TV? Let go of it now and then. Give yourself “no screens” hours each day, a designated time when you’re not allowed to peruse Facebook or Instagram, channel surf, or play games. Instead, take a quick nap or read a book. It’s okay to turn off the world for a few minutes of peace and quiet.
11. Pamper yourself.
Give yourself a pedicure or take a nice bubble bath. Put on some comfy pajamas and drink a cup of hot tea or cocoa. Allow yourself an evening to binge watch your favorite show.
Whatever makes you feel special, do that. You deserve it every now and then.
12. Appreciate the little things.
Along with living in the moment, appreciating the little things in life can have such a big impact. Notice a beautiful sunset. Say “thank you” when a stranger holds a door for you. Recognize that there was no line, for once, when you went into Starbuck’s for your favorite drink. There are tiny miracles happening in our lives every day. Don’t blink or you might miss them.
13. Get rid of negativity.
Whether online or in real life, stay away from negative, hateful people. They’re miserable in their own lives and they want to bring you down as well. Don’t allow them to do that. If there are people in your life who don’t “fill your cup”, get rid of them. Seriously, you don’t need that.
14. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparison is the thief of joy, y’all. When you compare your life to someone else’s, it’s easy to start feeling down.
But here’s the thing: no one’s life is perfect. Most people only put their best face to the world, so while every Facebook post is happy and upbeat, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Focus on yourself and what you can do to make your life awesome.
15. Forgive others.
I cannot express to you what a burden unforgiveness is on a person’s life. When you refuse to forgive someone, you’re really hurting yourself more than them.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean that you’re no longer going to be burdened by anger or disappointment in another person. Why let someone have that kind of control over you?
16. Create habits that bring you joy.
There are things I do on a regular basis that bring me joy. Walking my dogs, riding my bike (I just got a new one that I LOVE), going with my husband to get an ice cream cone are little habits that make me very happy. I look forward to these rituals and they add pleasure to my life.
17. Dance with your dog.
Seriously. My dogs love when a spontaneous dance party breaks out in my kitchen. They bark and jump around, and I move my body in weird middle-aged lady ways that I would never do in public, but it’s so fun. When I laugh, I always feel so much better. Don’t you?
Check out this cute video of a girl dancing with her dog, then go put on your boogie shoes!
Did you know that living in a cluttered, messy environment is stressful? It’s true, which is why you should spend a few minutes each week getting rid of stuff you no longer need.
Set a goal to get rid of 5 items every week. Take them to Goodwill, give them to a friend, even throw them in the trash if you want. Just get rid of the junk.
If you have not read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, be sure to check it out. It will change your life.
19. Get a hobby.
Find something that you love and then do it, just for you. A hobby can feed your soul, relax you, and allow you to put those creative energies to use.
20. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
A lot can go wrong in a single day, but you don’t have to go with it. Don’t let the little frustrations and inconveniences of life get you down. See the “bigger picture” and focus on the good instead of the bad.
When we take care of ourselves, we’re so much more equipped to take care of the people, pets, and things that we love. It’s okay to prioritize yourself; in fact, I insist that you start doing it right away.
What’s your favorite self-care tip?
I’d love for you to share it with me in a comment below, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there.