Day 1: Create a 5-minute self-care ritual.

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Welcome to Beyond Baby Boot Camp!

I am beyond excited to introduce the first daily activity, but first, I want to share a little story.

This is a picture of me earlier this morning. I’d meant to be showered, made up, and camera-ready early so I could officially launch the program right after my kids went off to school.

As it turned out, I wound up caring for a sick child last night, and she’s home with me today. So showering, styling my hair and applying makeup haven’t happened yet. And the early morning launch didn’t happen at all.

But one thing did happen: my morning tea. Because it’s become such an ingrained part of my day that it’s unthinkable that I wouldn’t sit, sip, and savor even when everything else was falling apart a little.

And as it turns out, that’s a perfect introduction to today’s challenge: create a flexible, portable, five-minute self-care ritual. 

Because five minutes, right? Anyone can find or steal five minutes out of the day. Get up five minutes earlier. Stay up five minutes later. Take five minutes out of your lunch break. Let the kids play on the Wii five minutes longer.

You might be asking yourself whether you can really accomplish a lot of self-care in five minutes. Well, no, not really. But the point is to start creating a consistent habit of doing something for yourself every day.

Sounds easy, right? And it is. But there is one catch…your five-minute ritual must follow these three rules:  

  • It must be portable. As shown by my story above, motherhood is unpredictable no matter what your kids’ ages are. Your five-minute ritual needs to be something you could do away from home if you had to, because sooner or later, you will probably have to.
  • It must be flexible. Make sure your five-minute ritual is something you can do anywhere or at any time. For instance, it’s fine to do gentle neck stretches rather than sun salutations if you find yourself sitting in the pediatrician’s office all morning. Or you can wait until you’re home. But if your ritual requires you to be in a very specific place at a specific time of day, you might end up frustrated when you can’t always follow through.
  • It must be non-negotiable. This is not like that fitness class or book club you go to “if it works out” but ditch the minute a child has a conflict (yes, I see you looking around guiltily.) The great thing about five minutes is, unless you are incapacitated in some way, there’s no reason you can’t do it every single day, even on those days that life throws you a curve ball. Remember, we’re building habits here. So, like brushing your teeth, your five-minute ritual isn’t just a “nice to do,” it’s a “gonna do, no matter what.”

Ideally, your five-minute ritual will help fill a need that’s unique to you.

So before you create yours, think a little about some things your life seems to be missing right now. Do you need more peace and serenity in your life? More physical activity? More time to dream? Do you feel the itch to pursue a hobby?

Think on your needs and goals for this program before you get started to make sure you’re creating a ritual that will be really helpful and valuable to you. (Note: sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is the easiest thing, but not necessarily what you need the most. Challenge yourself a little!)

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Make a cup of tea, cocoa or coffee and enjoy it with some music in the background
  • Sit down with your journal and write or draw for five minutes.
  • Add five minutes to your bathroom routine: take the time to shave, deep-condition your hair, use a scented body scrub, use a mask, moisturize, experiment with makeup, etc.
  • Get a pair of binoculars and watch the birds in your backyard
  • Work your way through a short yoga routine
  • Meditate or listen to a guided visualization
  • Read an essay or devotional
  • Flip through a magazine and tear out the pages that speak to you. (When you have a big stack, collage ‘em like you did in high school.)

These are just jumping-off points to get you thinking. Remember, choose a ritual that appeals to you and meets a need you aren’t currently filling. Decide when and where you’ll carry out this ritual (most days, again, I know sometimes life happens and you will have to modify it.) Create a plan to work it into your day. And then commit to show up for yourself, five minutes per day, every day for the next thirty days.

My hope for you: by the time you get to the end of Boot Camp, this five-minute ritual will be so ingrained in your daily routine that it will stick for good – and even expand as you grow into your Beyond Baby life.

Feeling inspired? Help to inspire others! I’d love for you to share your five-minute ritual with us in the comments below. If you haven’t already, you can also sign up to get these activities via email AND get access to our private Facebook community.

Let’s hit the ground running, mama! Tell us all about your five-minute ritual (and then go and do it!)

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