November 2021

Christy Shults

Do you put those sweet little notes in your kids’ lunch boxes telling them how amazing they are and that you love them? You go into their classroom, and the walls are covered in posters with positive messages. Well, you deserve those too. Take one minute every morning to write yourself a love note. It could say, “You’re doing fantastic,” or “That dinner was delicious last night!” Sometimes all you need is an “I love you.” Stick it in your phone notes, write it on a post-it, even write it on the back of that receipt floating around in your purse. Just get it out there in the universe that you believe in yourself!

 Take the long way home
It can be hard to get a moment to ourselves. Why not take that backroad and blast your favorite song? Sing at the top of your lungs! Maybe it’s been a hard day. Let those tears flow, and it’s okay. It’s good to release it. Stick your hand out the window and let the wind wipidy doo your arm into a wave. Feel the fresh air and breathe. 
Ask for help
You don’t have to do it all, and it all doesn’t have to be done right now! Ask your partner and your children to take on a task that eases your load. It could be something as simple as making sure the dishwasher is unloaded when you get home. Have them write out a list of meals they love so you can easily meal plan and satisfy all of the hungry bellies in your home. By asking for help, you are freeing yourself from constantly serving everyone and teaching them to help in the future without being asked.
Say thank you
Thank yourself every day. It doesn’t matter what it is for; show yourself gratitude. Say thank you to your family when they make you laugh or when they do their laundry. The more you acknowledge how much they are helping you, the more they will recognize how much you do for them.
Our bodies seem to always be in some curled over sitting position for too much of the day. Set aside time to stretch it out. You only need 10 minutes to feel the effects. Lay on the ground reach your arms far above your head while stretching your toes, lengthening your body as much as possible. Look for an extended version of stretches in a future Baker’s Dozen article. 
Tea/coffee/water ritual 
Most mornings start with a cup of coffee or tea. Are you simply pushing a button and carrying on multi-tasking? Make your morning drink with love! Set your intentions as you carefully scoop your coffee/tea/lemon into your mug. Watch the water swirl around your morning potion, ready to nourish your waking body. Let the steam rise through your nose with a deep breath and savor that first hot sip, because who knows if you’ll get the chance to finish it before its cold.
Am/pm make time for you
Which is your favorite, a sunrise or a sunset? Different people favor the dark of the early morning or the black of night. Figure out which one suits you best and set time aside for yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the day. Find your sweet spot and dedicate moments to yourself before everyone wakes up or after they fall asleep.
Breathing exercises 
You’re holding your breath; why? Your plate is full, and there are 20 things to do and not nearly enough time. The anxiety creeps in, and all of your breaths become shallow. We can go for hours like this, tense and frustrated as it worsens. Stop. Take a deep breath through your nose, count to 4, breath out your mouth until there is no air, and then breath out some more. Now take that deep breath back in through your mouth. Repeat. Repeat until you start to feel your arms and hands unclench. We need to remind ourselves to fill our lungs completely, or we have minuscule breaths to release. 
Take a step towards goal
“I’m going to make time for myself this week, and I’m going to go for a 5-mile walk.” Then life happens. “Shoot, this is a bummer. I feel like a failure.” You’re not, and you can reach your goals. Start with baby steps. Take a walk after dinner, even if it’s for 10 minutes. The dishes will still be there when you get back. You deserve this. You deserve to accomplish your goals, and it is okay to chip away a little bit at a time. 
Really, who doesn’t love a good checklist? You’ve made it this far in the article, haven’t you? Make it before you go to bed so that your mind doesn’t keep you up all night. Prioritize, and make sure you are a priority! Now, set a realistic timeline and prioritize again. When you check off those bubbles or boxes, maybe cross off that item, thank yourself. 
Slow down
Hurry it up, Herbie is an idiom that may be as rare as you taking your time and escaping the rush of American life. Mistakes happen; you breathe too shallow, and life isn’t that fun when everything is set at hare speed. Embrace your inner tortoise, and notice the little things, even if it’s for a short period of the day.
Don’t commit right away
How often do you say yes without much thought then feel guilty when you don’t want to do it. Unless it’s something that makes your bucket overflow with joy, take a moment to decide. You can even take a day or two or a week! Make sure that it is right for you. 
Bonus Cookie
Be gentle to yourself. 

Christy was a single working mother for 14 years, and now, in addition, she is a stepmom and a wife. Her favorite way to fill her bucket is to spend a day crafting with her best craft chicks.

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