Self care starts long before your houseguests arrive. It pays off in big ways, but it isn’t complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. It even makes you a better host and helps create a better experience for your visitors. Sound good? Read on to see how you can take care of yourself while also taking care of your guests.
Focus on reducing the sources of stress that you have control over. It’s not hard, it just takes a little bit of thought and an awareness of ourselves in the process. Hosting overnight guests comes with its own challenges, so there’s no need for us to add more. These ideas will help you avoid putting yourself under too much pressure.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. Time can go so fast, and unexpected things pop up along the way. Keep a few ideas in your back-pocket that can be extra surprises, but won’t be missed if you don’t get to them.
- Avoid a last-minute rush before guests arrive. If you’ve ever experienced a last-minute, whirlwind, company-is-coming cleaning frenzy, you know what I mean! Start early (I’m talking days, if you can) and pace your preparation.
- Avoid the perfection trap. Your guests are not going to notice (or care about!) nearly as many details as you think they will. Get the basics done well. Then focus on making your visitors feel welcome. That’s what they’ll remember.
- Delegate where you can. Every task that you don’t have to do will reduce your stress even that tiny little bit. Also, this is a great opportunity to teach your kids about hospitality by involving them in the process.
- Know your limits and work within them. We all have them! Even your guests do. You may have an idea of what you’d ‘like’ to do, but remember to temper that with what you reasonably ‘can’ do.
Make As Many Decisions As You Can Beforehand
The fewer decisions (big and small) you have to make while your company is visiting the better. It really does free up your mind and help you feel more relaxed. Even if you’re a spur-of-the-moment type, you can at least narrow the options to choose from. These will be different for everyone, but you get the idea.
- Sleeping arrangements
- What you’re going to wear
Help Your Visitors Be Good Houseguests
This is important for everyone involved, and actually goes a long way toward making your guests feel welcome. Most people don’t want to impose on their host any more than they have to. They want to know what’s expected and how they fit in. Don’t make them ask. Communicate well and help them help themselves.
- Be clear up front about the arrangements (sleeping, bathroom, laundry, etc.)
- Provide self-serve snacks and drinks, especially coffee and tea.
- Make essentials (such as towels, toilet paper, chargers for electronics, personal care items, etc.) available and easy to access.
- Let them know the schedule (even a loose one) so they know what to expect
- Communicate any limits you have that will affect their visit
Plan Your Self-Care Activities
How are you going to build some intentional self-care activities into your time as a host? Thinking ahead is key. What type of care will you be most in need of? These don’t, and probably shouldn’t be, full-blown activities, like going to get a massage. But try to find mini-activites that will have some of the same benefit and plan for them.
- Saying goodnight in time to get a full night’s sleep.
- Retreat to a quiet space by yourself for a mini-refresh.
- Saying a simple no, or at least coming to a compromise, when needed.
- Get some exercise
- Pay a little extra attention to something that will make you feel good, like a quick manicure
Self Care Goals
When your guests leave, you don’t want to feel like you’ve taken a huge setback personally. Keep the big picture in mind while you’re in the midst of hosting. Be flexible enough to enjoy yourself and your company, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ll have to face the music after they leave.
- Don’t throw your physical health under the bus. Of course, you’re probably going to eat some things you wouldn’t normally, or stay up late, or skip a workout. But think moderation.
- Get regular downtime to recharge and maintain an even emotional state. Everybody needs space .. both you and your guests. Even when you love them dearly, this is still important. Take advantage of opportunities to sneak a little down time, and allow your guests those opportunities as well.
- Give yourself grace. Something will not go the way you planned. Or you’ll feel that you missed something. Or your visitors will be just plain difficult and hard to please! It’s not a contest, so don’t beat yourself up or take responsibility for other people’s behavior.
I hope you’re seeing how simple it can be to take good care of yourself when you have houseguests. And hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas that you’ve never thought of before. It’s not all about candles and relaxing music, although we love those things. It’s about knowing yourself and putting good self care strategies into action.