What Do You Need at a Minimum?

What are your absolute minimum requirements for self-care?

Have you even identified a minimum?

Do you have any idea what I’m talking about?

Author Jennifer Louden wrote a fantastic blog post a while back in which she perfectly illustrated why we need minimum daily requirements for self-care and what happens when we don’t get them.

First, some definitions.

  • Minimum: the least amount possible
  • Daily: every single day
  • Self-care: what we do to care for the physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual self

Minimum daily requirements for self-care aren’t goals – they’re information.

They’re information, according to Jen, “about the basic things you need to stay in touch with yourself, to have a strong foundation to meet the rather constant challenges of life, and to ease the noise in your head.”

If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t given this any thought before. You may know what you’d love to have if everything were different (nine hours of sleep every night, someone who comes and caters your life, a miraculous absence of all aches and pains). But you probably haven’t thought of self-care in terms of minimum daily requirements.

Why not?

Because starting when your first child was born, you were suddenly not #1 anymore. Your needs took a back seat to your adorable, incredibly helpless and needy baby. Tired? Hungry? In pain? Out of shape? Bored? You took a number while you made sure that the baby was fed, changed and attended to.

And then when the babies got older, you forgot to reclaim your first place in line. Or perhaps you always allowed others to cut in, possibly way before you became a mom. Either way, you’ve learned to eek out what you can when you can.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

When you neglect what you minimally need for too long, your perspective goes all wonky. You start thinking that you’re not doing it right, that there’s something wrong with you, that something “out there” (your career, your spouse, where you live) needs to change.

When all you really need is a good night’s sleep and more hugs. Or whatever your minimum daily requirements are.

Here are some of my own minimum daily requirements for self care:

  • At least seven hours of sleep
  • To break a sweat at least three times per week
  • To talk to my husband about what’s really on my mind (not just about the mundane details of our lives)
  • Three hugs

Yours might be completely different. Ask yourself now what you really need at a minimum to have a strong foundation to meet the challenges in your life.

Then listen to your answers.

And take care of yourself.

I’d love to hear: What are your minimum daily requirements for self-care?

Share in the Comments below, or over on the Mom In The Balance Community Facebook page Wall.

Flickr photo by pizzodisevo

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