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Confessions of a College Park Mom: Realistic self-care for regular people

As we usher in a new school year, and our minivan becomes the after-school activi-taxi, we start getting a whole lot of unsolicited advice about the importance of self-care. Some of the typical suggestions just don’t line up with my personality or schedule. So advice like this usually leaves me feeling more stress:

  • “Read a book.” This one makes me laugh — until it slowly transitions into a sob. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to focus on a book while your kids play Roblox online with their friends, screaming “DUDE!” and “NOOB!” but it adds a whole new exciting layer of regret. I have a growing pile of books in the living room just waiting for summer 2023 to roll around.
  • “Get your hair done.” Last I checked, I couldn’t see my own hair. Therefore, getting our hair done is for other people. This is other-people care.
  • “Go to the beach.” This sounds relaxing, and I would love nothing more than to spend a day with my family frolicking on the beach, but this isn’t how our beach days go. Our beach days leave us with sunburns and a month of residual sand in the washing machine. We’re extremely fair. Also, we don’t frolic.
  • “Get a pedicure.” At my last pedicure, between running and jiujitsu, my feet looked like they’d been beaten with a baseball bat and exfoliated with a cheese grater. I spent the entire time apologizing. Not relaxing.

So, while I know self-care is important, it’s different for everyone. If you’re looking for alternatives, I would love to share some things I do to preserve my mental and physical health. These tips are not only realistic but awesome, and you can probably do them right away.

  • Detours. I can’t enjoy a whole day by myself — I’m a people person — but I love a good detour. The easiest errand to take a detour on is a pet store run. For some reason, nobody ever wants to come with me when I buy worms and crickets for our bearded dragon and leopard gecko (awesome pets, disgusting diets). It’s the perfect cover. If I say, “I’m running out for crickets,” you’d better believe I’ll be stopping into Hobby Lobby to huff their jar candles or hitting the Taco Bell drive-thru for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Serenity now.
  • Going for a long solo run. My whole family runs and races together — but the best kind of run is through a scenic neighborhood by yourself listening to songs you can’t play with children in the room. I’ll see you Sunday, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • Escaping through reality TV. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must, but there’s something about live-tweeting “The Bachelorette” that’s good for your soul. You think you’re stressed out with work and kids and activities and bills? Try dating 25 model-actors on national TV in search of lasting love. Really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
  • Treat yourself to a seasonal coffee. Nothing melts away the stress like a cup of coffee that tastes like the weather. Unless it’s a pumpkin spice latte, which tastes less like the season and more like hot vomit.

Follow me for more (almost) medical advice! What do you do for a quick restoration? Whether it’s the beach or a rerun of “Friends,” I hope you have a beautiful and relaxing transition into the fall! I’ll see you at the Taco Bell drive-thru.

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