5 Ways to Give Back to Yourself

Alison Lee

It’s a well-known fact that parents give a lot of themselves – not just to their children, but to their spouses, extended family members, and the community, especially during the holiday season.

It’s a season of getting together with family and friends, planning big meals, shopping and cooking for those meals, gift buying and wrapping, donating time and presents to the community (if you can afford it). All this on top of what we already do daily: running the household, schlepping kids around, and trying to be there for everyone, all the time.

By giving yourself to everyone, you’re leaving nothing in the tank for yourself.

Here’s your challenge and my gift to you – five ways you should and must give back to yourself.

  1. Give yourself a break

Easier said than done, you declare. No, not really. Let your inner (or outer as the case may be) control freak go. Delegate tasks. Put the kids to work on household chores. Your other half can easily help with taking care of the kids, or take over dinner occasionally. Instead of cooking everything yourself for that Christmas dinner – ask your guests to bring a dish each. Instead of making wish lists, ask your children to choose a charity they want to donate to, in lieu of a gift to themselves (save yourself the shopping time!).

  1. Give yourself a makeover

You don’t need to spend a lot of money buying new clothes, getting a haircut, going to the spa and getting a manicure/ pedicure. Simply adding a belt or a necklace often gives a favorite outfit new life. Instead of paying someone to do a manicure, consider helping out a friend who’s working a home business selling those cute nail wraps, and do it yourself.

  1. Give yourself some alone time

I have four kids, two of whom are only 15 months old, and I’m a work-at-home parent. I rarely get alone time, even when I’m in the bathroom. I would be living on the edge of my sanity if it wasn’t for my solo sojourns out of the house every Sunday, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. I am aware that I’m incredibly lucky that my husband recognizes the importance of this gift. I hope that you, too, can find a way to make this work for you.

  1. Give yourself a purpose

Another of my sanity savers is the work that I do. I am thankful daily that I do what I love – write and edit – and sometimes, it even pays! Do something you love, with purpose. Don’t know what it is? Think about what gives you joy – it could be crocheting, helping someone with social media, working with animals, charity work – then go and find a way to do it, even if it’s part-time. Doing something outside of your main role as mother/caretaker is rewarding mentally and emotionally.

  1. Give yourself grace

No one can do it all, nor can we do it all perfectly. Some things will fall by the wayside. Some days, it could be just the dishes. Other days, you’ll probably feel like the worst mother/ wife/ friend in the world. Give yourself some grace and space to make mistakes. It’s what makes us human. The important thing is to pick yourself up and give it another shot tomorrow.

Give back to yourself – you’re worth it.


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5 Ways to Give Back to Yourself was written by Alison Lee exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.

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In another life, Alison Lee was a PR and marketing professional. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is the Submissions Editor at BonBon Break. Recently, Alison partnered with Megan Woolsey, a fellow multiples mom, to publish an anthology by and for parents of multiples, Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets or More, coming out in Spring 2016. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).