Looking after YOU…
Being a mother is a full-time job, there are no days off—even when we are sick. As caretakers, we have a tendency to make everyone else a priority except ourselves. The common theme that I hear from other moms is about the guilt felt if we dare think about carving out time for ourselves. And it doesn’t help that some people, especially in the current age of social media, become judgmental and shame mothers if we do something kind for ourselves! Even when we can sneak and borrow some ‘alone’ time, we’re always on call.
I’m here to say that the most important person on your list of loved ones is you. Think about it. How can you expect to care for anyone properly if you can’t properly look after yourself? And what a great life lesson you are promoting to your children or partner by showing them how important self-love and care is.
You can take some time and get great health and wellness benefits without spending hours at an expensive spa. The best ideas are simple, no-fuss ways to take care of yourself to help keep you mentally and physically healthy.
Here are my top 10 self-care ideas:
- Call one of your mommy friends and plan to meet each other and go for a walk after you drop your children at school. There is nothing better than meeting another mom to socialize with and get some exercise at the same time. Research shows that people feel happier when they do so.
- We put everything into our calendars, from doctor’s appointments to playdates for the kids, to date nights with our significant others. Include your workouts in that calendar! I search my favorite fitness classes that are happening at my local gym and I put them into my calendar each week. That way, I’m able to build the rest of my schedule around it, and never have to miss a class. Going to the gym helped with my mommy “ brain fog” and it boosted my energy level. When you have more energy, it makes it easier to tackle daily chores, work, and caregiving.
- Once the kids are in bed, take a nice long shower or bath. It’s a great way to wash off the stress of the day. Since you’re winding down, you won’t feel rushed and can take your time. Exfoliate and pamper yourself, something that you might find difficult to do during the daily rush! Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite easy to make body scrubs .
- Once the kids are at school or in bed, choose to devote time to your favorite hobby. Whether it’s reading, puzzles or needlepoint, it’s so refreshing to focus on something that you used to love doing that was part of who you were prior to having kids. Hobbies help to relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy.
- Download a meditation app on your phone—like Headspace or Omvana. Take 5 to 10 mins to sit quietly to get yourself centered. Meditation can help you deal with stress and negative emotions.
- We pack snacks for our children all the time—don’t forget snacks for yourself as well. Making sure you eat well during the day will keep your blood sugar levels even. Hunger can lead to dips and spikes in blood sugar that can cause dizziness, irritability, and weakness. I love using these reusable bags from Bumkin for my kid’s lunches, I also use them for my “mommy snacks”, which could be a protein energy bar to nuts and some carrots.
- Keeping my water intake high has always proven to be a difficult task for me. To help, I always carry around my 24-ounce bottle of water with me wherever I go. There are great water bottles now where you can infuse your water with fruit or veggies to jazz it up. Keeping ourselves hydrated means better skin (which is my #1 beauty secret) and allows our bodies to flush out toxins. Another tip is keeping a water bottle next to the bed so first thing in the morning you can start the day by drinking water. Drinking 16 oz of water first thing in the morning fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even help with cravings.
- I’m a believer in taking my vitamins. But remembering to take them is not always easy. Every Sunday I sit down and put my vitamins into a vitamin organizer case for the week. So, it’s always in front of me for easy access during the week.
- My children wake up by 6:45 am, so I set my alarm to wake up no later than 6 am. Not having to slam into the morning has been a game changer, especially in regards to my mood. I can take that time in the morning to get myself together and to plan out my day without feeling rushed, which would otherwise elevate my stress level.
- Stop people-pleasing and learn to say no. Over-extending ourselves probably was easier prior to having a family but now with the lists that are long and endless, know that it is OK to say no to invitations. You must start trying to free up your time versus adding more tasks to it.
I’m here to say that the most important person on your list of loved ones is you...
Self-care is all about finding your own personal ways to stay healthy and happy and that will nourish your soul.
Still not convinced? Check out five reasons why you should treat yourself to some “me” time ASAP.
You’ll be healthier.
Stress and sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your health, causing things like weight gain, a weakened immune system and higher blood pressure. If you’re sick, you won’t be able to care for your family as well as you can when you’re feeling your best. Start thinking of “me time” as being as important to your health as exercise and a good diet.
You’ll be more productive.
If you’ve got too much on your plate, you won’t be able to give each task the attention it deserves. If you focus on just a few important tasks, they’ll all get done — and get it done well. If you try to juggle making school lunches and dinner, running kids to and from their extracurricular activities, helping with homework, cleaning the house and all the countless items on your daily to-do list, some tasks are bound to fall by the wayside. There’s no shame in asking your significant other to pitch in to ensure everything gets done right. There’s no shame in asking for help from family and friends either.
Your bad mood can negatively affect the family.
When you’re in a bad mood — which often happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed — everyone suffers. You might think you’re hiding it well, but your kids and significant other know you well and will be able to pick up on your stress, anger or whatever negative emotions you’re feeling. They might end up feeling guilty or act out as a way to cope.
Your kids will learn to be more independent.
If you start sharing your responsibilities with others — for example, have your kids help out with simple chores like dishes and laundry — not only will you feel less overwhelmed, but they’ll start to learn to be more responsible and independent. There’s nothing wrong with implementing chores at an early age.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
You’ve probably tried to teach your kids the importance of treating others the way they want to be treated, so set a good example for them and do the same for yourself. You want your kids to take care of and be kind to themselves, so you should do the same for yourself. If you want your kids to know it’s OK to ask for help when they need it, you should let them see you do it from time to time.
photo credit: Belathée Photography
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