Pillars of summer: self-care and creativity by our own Jenn Gallucci!!
In this second installment of my Savoring Summer Series for moms I will be delving into what I see as the two pillars for a fulfilling summer (and life): self-care and creativity. (You can find the first and future posts on my blog here: www.jenngallucci.com.) I could talk for hours on the importance of self-care. It is not only important for us moms but it is hugely important for our children to witness. So please put any guilt aside. The way we teach our children to regulate themselves, have a connection to the needs of their bodies, and choose healthy habits is to show and verbally tell our children as we attend to our own self-care. There is no better time than the summer, when we are all home together, to do just that.
My children see and hear me talk about sitting in quiet meditation, doing yoga, growing, preserving, and preparing healthy food, being in nature, drinking water, taking bitters and herbal tonics, or taking a hot, scented bath. I want them to realize that caring for themselves body, mind and soul on a daily basis is something important to do for overall health and well-being.
Having a list nearby to remind you of ways to both take care of your body and feel a little indulgent is helpful when you’re developing new habits. Keep it simple so you can feel successful from the get go. Escaping for a week-long retreat isn’t always as doable as a five-minute savasana with a lavender scented eye pillow.Show your kids the importance of self care
Letting your kids know that it’s time to take care of your own needs is empowering for you and for them. It’s about presence and boundaries. One example from my life is bedtime and the constant pleas for more of me at the end of the day. They want to know why I can’t lay with them after stories or rub their back as they fall asleep. Sometimes I can. Those are usually the days where I have successfully filled my own cup first or I don’t have work I need to finish before I head off to bed myself. But, sometimes I am just done. I need my time to just be me. To do something creative, or just be. It’s important for my kids to know that I will take care of those needs. When I do I am better able to wake up to a new day ready to give them my full presence. My hope is that my kids will drink water when they need it, fill their bodies with supportive foods, rest when they need rest, move their bodies each day, use their imaginations as creative, playful human beings. Thus staying vibrant and engaged with the world around them. What 5-10 self-care ideas can you think of that are doable in your life right now? The trick is to do them so you can begin to feel their effects. Maybe it’s get to bed early one night a week to read and get a good night’s sleep. To entice you even more you could make or buy an aromatherapy spray and give your pillow a nightly spritz. Maybe it’s drink a glass of water whenever you’re at the kitchen sink. Leave a glass that you love right next to the sink to remind you. Find ways to make it fun to take care of yourself.
Don’t wait for the “perfect” moment
I believe creativity is just as important as self-care for you to stay vibrant and engaged with the world (both inside your home and out). For that matter, creativity connects you to your Soul, the world inside you, your truth, your essence. I’m a big fan of making space for your creative juices to activate and flow.
In the summer, I just do it. There’s truth in that, but no real direction.
What I mean is, I don’t wait for the perfect moment. I don’t wait until after bedtime, although I did do that for many years when my children were very little. Bedtime and naptime were my moments to sew, knit, cook, garden, and read about sustainable living. Those were my areas of creativity. Now, I find that if I don’t infuse my days with creativity, instead saving it up for later, I become frustrated and resentful.
These days, I’m like an intuitive scout on the look-out for moments with creative potential. I keep supplies within reach. When I see that the kids are engaged I can sit near them and pick up my knitting. Or, if I announce I’m heading out to the garden and invite them along, they will happily join me and then run off to play. I don’t force, I just let it happen. And, often, magically the moments open up. It’s like following little bread crumbs throughout the day.
Right now my work is much of my creative outlet. I have given space for that each morning between breakfast and lunch, because my children are old enough now to handle some time to themselves. But work can feel like work when the sun is out, so I like to have other ways that I know will enliven me, such as spending time in my big garden or making colorful things for our home. Textiles inspire and delight me.
Keep your supplies handyIf you are a singer or musician, can you have a hootenanny on your porch, with handmade instruments at the ready? If you are a fine artist, can you collect a tool kit of supplies to take to the beach or park? If you are a writer, can you keep a journal for the summer to jot down the moments, phrases, words as they come to you throughout the day? Maybe the whole family could have summer art journals to bring with them on adventures or to quiet spaces in the yard? There are many ways to weave in time for everyone to create and access their right brain each day.
Summer is the perfect time to instill new habits in yourself and for your children. When our routines change as dramatically as they do in the summer there is space to bring in new activities and rhythms.I encourage you to try something new today: either a self-care or creativity practice. Remember to start small to set yourself up for success. I would love to hear your intention or how you begin. You can send me a note or find out how to work with me here: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.jenngallucci.com.