Not Your Traditional Self-Care

baking self-care

Yep, I’m another person that’s going to talk about the coveted self-care. It does get a little tiring, I know. We all know we need give ourselves a little bit of “me time”. Is that all self-care is though? When I read a recent post on self care, it said how “Self-care isn’t just bubble baths and massages (I mean it can be), but it can be something as simple as ten minutes of quiet each day. What makes you feel relaxed, or refreshed or gives you that mental/emotional/physical boost that you need?

This got me thinking. What is that thing that makes me feel relaxed and refreshed? The typical suggestions are good…for some people. But I am apparently strange in this realm. I don’t enjoy the spa (gasp!). Massages just make me uncomfortable. Yoga? It’s good for my physical health, yes, but the meditation and quietness doesn’t actually quiet me. Journaling, taking baths, the extra 10 minutes in the bathroom? Those are things that I end up feeling as wasted time (and there’s no way I can have extra time in the bathroom. One of my five kids is bursting in whether dad is fully available or not).

Spending time with friends sounds lovely, but we all have so many things going on that it’s hard to make getting together a priority. I end up stressed out trying to figure out how to balance it all. I have an annual friend get-together with girls from my Bible School years, but annually is not enough time to be considered regular self-care.

So what works for my self-care? Baking!

Baking as Self-Care

I know that a lot of people find time in the kitchen to just be more work. It takes a good bit of actual time. You need some amount of skill to be good at it. It requires precision for good results. There’s cleaning involved after the fact… and the list goes on.

How can baking be self-care if it has so much going against it?

Just Follow the Steps

It makes me feel relaxed and refreshed. Following a recipe helps me be grounded. My kids can be underfoot, asking a thousand questions and having arguments, and I can handle it all because there’s a recipe to follow. I can look away to handle someone’s “owie” or fight and know what’s next, because I have it written down. Just follow the recipe and get results.

Use Your Mind

I get to use my brain. Sometimes I have to think on my feet when I’m baking. Maybe I didn’t realize I was missing an ingredient. Out of eggs? Sub some flax or applesauce. Forgot to get buttermilk? Sour cream or soured milk can work. I also get to do a little math (my math professor hubby always appreciates this). It’s not the calculus I took in college, but that bit of algebra goes a long way in doubling or halving recipe!

Eat Your Rewards

There are delicious results. Who can argue with the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies around, freshly baked, crusty, sesame sourdough bread? Or a gorgeous stacked lemon birthday cake? Nobody in my house can! Which brings me to the last, and in my opinion, most important piece for me:

Makes Everyone Happy

It’s not just about me. The phrase “self-care” has always come across as very self-centered to me. We DO need to take care of ourselves, especially as moms. So often we put ourselves last, building up our kids, spouses, careers, and home to the detriment of our own physical, emotional, and mental health. We obviously can’t do that. We run out of anything positive we may have. Things become too hard, too ugly, or too much.

Yet, who here is doing “self-care” only for themselves? If you’re reading this, it’s pretty likely that you’re caring for someone else. When I make the things I do only about myself, the results are never what they could or should be. Pouring myself into baking fills me up. It fills the bellies of my little loves, my hubby, my neighbors, and friends. Ask my kids what the special ingredient in my bread is. The five-year-old may laugh and say “mom’s spit!” as only a five-year-old can, but in truth, my kiddos know that it’s love. Genuinely.

Self-Care Can Be Anything You Want!

I am so refreshed when I have used my brain and hands to do something; something that I’m good at and feel confident in. Something that brings joy to others and not just myself. For me, self-care is more self-less than self-centered.

If you’re energized, built-up, and refreshed by time alone, journaling, girls night outs, yoga, or exercise, then do those things. But, it doesn’t mean those are the only things. Find the thing that fills you up, allowing you to pour over the good, the bright, the lovely onto others that you’re caring for, too.

What do you do to care for yourself? Maybe another mom out there needs to know that her way of caring for herself isn’t wrong. Maybe it’s unusual or out of the norm. Maybe it’s “boring.” Maybe it isn’t different at all and is one of the beautiful suggestions we’ve heard before.

If it builds you up, it’s right for you!

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Dani Tanner (not THAT Danny Tanner) is a Twin Cities native who has lived in South Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota again and now Moorhead. She married her husband Greg in 2009. Dani received her bachelor's degree in Consumer Affairs in 2013. She has chosen to stay home while supporting her husband through graduate school (and now as a professor!) and chasing their five kiddos! She has a few hobbies - cooking, baking, sewing, reading, crafting... though they never seem to be fully realized. Not while there are still kids at home anyway! She enjoys all things in the kitchen and loves trying new recipes and techniques. The current new thing? Cake decorating! Various craft endeavors take some other time, as well as reading when she takes the time. Oh, and coffee. All the coffee. If you want to find her, she's likely that mom pushing a double stroller with three kids on it trying to get wherever she's going before someone freaks out. She's so glad to be able to share some of her fun experiences with you!


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