By Carole Van Holbeck, MSAN Mental Health Contributor
When you hear the word “luxury,” what images come into your mind? High-end clothes or jewelry, expensive homes, fast cars, or lavish lifestyles? Those things are far removed from the average military spouse. For them, luxury may look simply like indulging in quiet time stolen from a busy day. Let’s talk a little bit about the importance of allowing yourself little luxuries, especially as you ramp up for a busy holiday season.
Self-care is all about loving yourself. The self-care I am talking about goes beyond diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important and can be challenging for a military spouse. Our partners work long hours. They may have to leave at a moment’s notice. They may be physically gone for months. They may return to us with a different set of challenges. All these things create a unique burden on military spouses. And it’s hard to find the balance; but we NEED to because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
So what is a little luxury? It is a gift that we give to ourselves. It is selfish. It is not those things typically advocated for in self-care like diet and exercise. It is a sweet break from routine. It is the precious gift of time.
Let’s take a little luxuries quiz.
Which of these is considered a little luxury?
- Catching up on episodes of Downtown Abbey while folding three loads of laundry.
- Surfing online to find the best price on flannel lounge pants.
- Taking a hot bath after the children go to bed.
- Making a list of tomorrow’s chores.
Okay…I admit this is an easy one. The obvious is answer is taking a hot bath after the children go to bed. Make that bath a little more luxurious with soothing music and some essential oils.
You’ve had one crazy day. It’s your bedtime in an hour. You:
- Call you sister.
- Brew a cup of chamomile tea and sit in your favorite chair quietly for 15 minutes.
- Promise to make some time for yourself tomorrow because the kids’ lunches need to be packed for school.
- Watch the local news.
Remember the definition of a little luxury – something selfish you do just for yourself. While watching the local news and calling your sister may seem to be relaxing activity, having that cup of tea is the best answer. It involves no one but you.
If you could choose one thing to do today for yourself, what would it be?
- Paint my toenails.
- Read a chapter of a new book.
- Create something.
- Take a nap.
If you chose any of these answers, you are correct! Little luxuries don’t need to cost much more than the time you give yourself to enjoy them. Tap into the little luxury that speaks to your heart. Give yourself permission to take the gift of time each day and enjoy. You deserve it!
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott
Resources for you:
40 Ways to Relax in 15 Minutes or Less
Little Luxuries: How to Create the Perfect Bath Bomb
Six “Gifts” You Should be Giving to Yourself