Intentions

September is Self-Care Awareness Month and we have a special line up for you! Each Monday, our writers will share what self-care looks like for them. We hope to inspire you to dust off your journal, book that trip, make that spa appointment, or try that new class that caught your eye. You deserve to be living your best life!

I’ve been going to hot yoga again. It’s something my body craves, the heat, the flows, the balance, the flexibility. After a busy, yoga-less week, I snatched up a spot in the last class on Friday evening: Candlelight Yoga. That sounds nice, I thought. I knew it wasn’t held in the hot yoga room, but I pictured candles, soft music, an easy flow followed by a quiet savasana, done, check, I’d be ready for our routine of Friday-night takeout and to take on the rest of our weekend without even breaking a sweat.

That’s not what it was. No flows, no poses, just lots of stretches. Lots of holding and holding and holding stretches. Hamstrings and hip flexors and the IT band (whatever that is). Both excruciating and a bit boring all at the same time.

But as the teacher started her class, she asked us to set intentions for our weekend. Not too surprising. This happens in yoga classes all the time. But the specificity of her intentions was what caught my attention.

“Think about one thing you are going to do for your body this weekend,” she said, softly, “It could just be drinking an extra glass of water. It could be going for a walk. This is your physical intention.”

She continued, “Now think of one thing you are going to do for yourself this weekend. One thing to take care of your mind. It could be reading a book. It could be taking a long bath. One thing to center yourself. This is your emotional intention.”

There was more, “Now for your relationships. Which relationship are you going to cultivate this weekend? Someone in your family? A good friend? What can you do for your relational health? It could be making a phone call. It could be putting your phone away. This is your relational intention.”

Her words struck me. A few intentions to take care of yourself over the entire weekend. It didn’t sound too hard. It didn’t have to be hard. Intentions can be as simple as drinking an extra glass of water.

We know, as moms, how difficult it is to take care of ourselves. There’s a reason “me-time” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary earlier this year. Me-time and self-care have become buzzwords for an entire generation, especially for the sections of the internet I tend to frequent. What if it doesn’t have to be so difficult?

Can I set these intentions each morning? Heck, we don’t even need to get that crazy up in here. Can I set these intentions for myself every week?

Physical. Take the kids for a walk. Eat when my body says it’s hungry and stop when it’s full. Carry my water bottle with me.

Emotional. Head to the coffee shop to write. Catch up on a favorite show. Finish the novel I’ve been reading. Get a pedicure. Take time to finish a podcast. Buy some fresh flowers from the farmer’s market.

Relational. Plan a date night. Text a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Schedule a playdate. Talk to the cashier beyond the basic pleasantries of “hello” and “thank you”. Invite a group over for dinner or drinks.

Intentional is a word I tend to shy away from. It reminds me of flowery language, somewhat church-y, a word someone may toss out there to try to impress, and just what does it really mean anyway?

But if I can think of it in such specific terms of taking time, of recharging, of taking basic care of myself, my kids, and others by executing definitive actions, well, then maybe “intention” isn’t so bad after all.

I leaned into the stretches during class that night, and though it wasn’t quite what I had expected, my mind was busy thinking of what I could do to catch up on taking care of myself. Take a break from making dinner. Go on a walk as a family. Read a book during the middle of the day just because I want to. Those things all sound pretty wonderful. I just need to remember to be intentional with them.

What’s a way you can be intentional today or this week, whether physically, emotionally, or relationally?

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