Practicing self-care is absolutely important for moms.
BUT, WHAT IS SELF-CARE? AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
I would like to consider self-care as any activity that you do for your own well-being and happiness.
As a mom, it is difficult to get a stretch of uninterrupted time for yourself. It can happen when your kids are old enough to go to school. But even when they are in school, you have other duties to manage.
So carving out some time for yourself is difficult. Since I know I can’t take hours at a stretch for self-care, I manage to sneak in a few minutes here and there for myself.
Self-care is important for everyone because it is an act of self-love. As mothers, we need to shower love and patience, a lot of it, on our kids. If you don’t take the time to love and pamper yourself, your cup becomes empty. And as you know, how can you pour from an empty cup?
And especially if you believe in gentle parenting, you need to exercise lots of patience. Mom burnouts are real. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed and exhausted to the point that you feel you are done “mommying”.
But hang on, mama!
We all go through it and it passes. And that’s why self-care should be given priority in a mom’s life. Free yourself from the chaos when you feel like it and come back refreshed.
Self-care can help you become your best self as a person and a mother. It helps to take care of our health and wellness along with that of our family.
Usually, mothers are known to put everything in the back burner for the sake of the family. Mothers are glorified for the ultimate sacrifices they make that many people think, mothers are meant to put others before themselves.
It’s true that there are sacrifices involved if you are a parent. But you should give due importance to your life and your desires other than as a parent.
When you are an empty nester, you should be able to identify the person left behind. Don’t ever fail to hold onto your self-identity, apart from as a wife or a mother.
Self-care will help you to be in touch with yourself and improve your self-esteem.
I hope you get why self-care is important. But how do we practice self-care as a busy mom?
SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR MOMS
1. GET MOVING
As a mother, the hardest thing to get done is a workout, and so is the easiest thing to procrastinate.
But the energy that a workout gives is immense and it can change your day. You have better energy to take care of the family and do all the chores.
I understand that you might not have the time for an hour-long workout. But everyone can squeeze in a 10-min warm-up or a 20-min workout in your schedule. Or just take a walk around the block.
You think you don’t have time to invest in a workout. In fact, it is counterproductive. The time you invest in a workout will increase your productivity, energy, and focus and you end up gaining more time in your day. Don’t believe me? Try and see…
I prefer to do my workout in the morning because the energy levels are high in the morning. Sweating for a few minutes in the morning can make a huge difference in your day. But it’s up to you “when” you do the workout because it’s a personal preference and is based on the availability of time.
2. WAKE UP EARLIER THAN YOUR KIDS
Waking up with kids has always been stressful for me. Because as soon as you wake up you have to start asking them to go about their daily routines. Or if you are lucky you can start playing referee as soon as you get up because nobody wanted to go to the bathroom at first. But now everyone wants to go first.
Starting your day on a stressful note does not feel good at all. Try to wake up earlier than kids and you will feel the difference that makes in your mood. Have some time for yourself by grabbing a coffee or doing self-care activity #1 (ahem…).
My early morning routine consists of journaling, affirmations, exercise, and visualization. I am usually energized after this routine and ready to take on the day.
3. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness, or being present in the moment, decreases your worries. Being present means you are not thinking about the to-do list. Being present means seizing the moment you have right now.
You feel the warmth of your sleeping baby’s fists and watch his tummy rising up and down slowly while he sleeps. Or you are just watching the freshly bloomed flower in your garden relishing its beauty.
You can practice mindfulness anywhere and at any time. It takes away the stress of your daily life and makes you happier. What is stress anyway? You are thinking about how things could go wrong in the future and worrying about it now. It has not even happened and most of the things we worry about don’t happen anyway.
We have only the present moment with us now and nothing else is in our reach, because even the next second is not promised to us. Mindfulness reminds you of the beauty of the present moment. Whenever I am consumed with anxiety I try to practice mindfulness. It helps to calm my mind and become happy.
4. INDULGE IN CHEAP LUXURY
Is there something called “cheap luxury”? I don’t know. I just made the word up.
But having a bubble bath by adding your favorite essential oil for aroma and bath salts for detox can seem like a luxury for moms, right?
What’s even better is you can do it at home while the kids are asleep.
- Put on a face mask and read a few pages of the book that you have been wanting to read forever
- Do a home-spa treatment
- Diffuse essential oils and play your favorite song
- Do a mani/ pedi at home
5. HAVE A CHIT CHAT WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE
Once in a while, call up the people whom you love and have a hearty conversation with them. Have a date with your girlfriends once in a month by dropping your child at grandmothers’ or by arranging a play date with other moms.
6. TAKE A NAP OR SLEEP IN
Sleep is another luxury when you are a mom. Take a nap whenever you get 20 minutes. Even a power nap can be so restorative and brings fresh energy without making you crash at midday.
And have alarm free days on the weekends to sleep in. I let go of my morning routine when I am sleep deprived and choose to sleep in on a Sunday or any other holiday if I have a sleep debt.
Listen to your body and never hold sleep back. It makes you a tired and grumpy mom and it ain’t fun for anybody.
Related: How to control anger with your kids and be a calm mom
7. BINGE-WATCH NETFLIX
Binge-watching your favorite shows is another way of showing some self-care. It is a way of escaping from the stress of daily life to another world from your living room.
But be careful to schedule time for it. Do it on days when you can sleep in. Binge-watching until to the late hours and waking up like a zombie can lead to an unproductive day.
8. SCHEDULE KIDS-FREE TIME
If your kids are older, you get kids-free time when they go to school. But if your kids are younger, it is hard to take time off.
But as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. It can’t be more true. Make someone you trust to be in charge of your kids when you take time off for yourself.
Even asking your spouse to look after your child so that you can get some alone time in the other room will do you good.
9. INVEST TIME IN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
I have a favorite hour in the morning and it is the absolute best part of my day. In the morning I invest 30-45 minutes (depending upon time availability) or less for my morning routine.
My morning routine consists of daily planning, visualization, revisiting my goals, setting intentions for the day, a light workout, affirmation, habit tracking, meditation, etc.
I might not do every activity every day but depending upon the time I have I do at least some of the routines. Habit tracking helps me on track with my goals and reminds me of the time I have to invest for myself. It helps me to not forget “me” among all the chaos of mommy life.
When I am overwhelmed or worried and tearful about something, I do a journaling session (it is usually at the end of the day). It helps me to “put it all on paper” and my mind becomes clearer. Journaling is therapeutic and it helps in relaxing your mind.
Another thing I do for my personal development is reading books and taking courses. I try to spend 15-30 minutes for learning new things and improving myself.
It also helps you as a mother because you can understand your child better and can impart your new knowledge to them too. You can teach them what you didn’t know when growing up.
So, never stop learning and evolving and always invest in yourself.
10. LEARN NEW SKILLS OR PRACTICE OLD HOBBIES
Now that you are a mother, are you letting your old crochet needles and yarn pick up dust? I know, I know that you have barely time to sit. Taking up a new crochet project may not be anywhere in your mind.
The thing about hobbies is you can’t sit for an hour at a place like you used to. But use the 15 minutes you get here and there because becoming a mother doesn’t mean losing yourself.
If it matters to you, you need to prioritize self-care and schedule it in your day.
Not only old hobbies, try to invest time for learning new skills too. Have always wanted to learn photography? Take up a new online course and learn it in your spare time.
In this age of instant communication, our lives are easier and much better. What makes it better for us moms is, we don’t have to leave our home to learn anything. It saves a lot of time for us.
11. WATCH YOUR DIET
You want your kids to eat broccoli and blueberries, but whatever healthy food you prepare for them, make it in excess so that you can have it too.
One reason that moms struggle to lose weight is because of the habit of eating leftovers on kids’ plates. Or you reheat the one slice of sandwich prepared four days ago because you don’t want to waste food.
Such mindless eating habits make you unhealthy and sick in the long run. Teach your kids to eat what they have on their plate and give them only what they can eat.
Related: The absolute beginner’s guide to meal planning (for busy moms)
I used to feel tired a lot before. I blamed it on being anemic, but later I realized it was because I was not drinking enough water. Not drinking sufficient water can make you exhausted.
I put it on my habit tracker to drink at least two liters of water daily. Since then, I make it a point to drink sufficient water. And I don’t feel tired anymore.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, make it a point to drink a glass of water every time you feed your baby.
12. GET OUT AND SOAK IN SOME SUNSHINE
Getting out in nature has many benefits including reducing stress and improving your health and happiness.
Nature always has something to offer you. Just watching the skies or walking on the grass, or observing the mama bird flying with food to feed the little ones can uplift your mood.
Doing exercise outdoors can help beat the monotony and boost your energy levels. It also helps to get vitamin-D which is otherwise hard to get from food.
Although self-care is usually that you do for yourself, I like to spend some fun time with kids outdoors. It benefits us all and makes everyone happy.
14. CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR BETTER HALF
Like my morning routine, I look forward to the end of the day for a nice heart-to-heart conversation with my hubby.
It could be sharing how your day went, the funny things that your kids said, discussing your future plans or sharing your worries.
Sharing helps you to unwind and also helps to increase the connection between you two.
15. DO NOTHING
Who said self-care is only about “doing things”? As moms, we are always on the go to accomplish the next item on your list.
But you know what I crave sometimes? To throw away the list and do nothing!
Um…though I don’t throw away the list, I sometimes ignore the list and choose to spend some time in solitude.
Forget everything else, just you and your thoughts. Just be.
Since I became a mom and the time on my hands started running short, I always feel panicked when I didn’t fill any gap of time by doing something. I always feel guilty about “wasting time”.
But recently I started telling myself it is ok if I don’t do something every minute of my day. Just taking the time to breathe and being grateful about your existence in this world is so rewarding!
“Let Go” is a mantra I seem to be using a lot lately when I am parenting or just spending time with myself.
When that Lego piece goes missing, I say Let Go……
When I am doing nothing and feel worried about not doing anything, I say Let Go….
When my child wants to wear the same dress for the third time in the week, I say Let Go….
Not every battle is worth fighting for and let silly matters be….silly. Anxious minds can feel what I say.
What are some of your favorite self-care tips? What do you do to keep your cool in the chaos of mom life? Please comment below and let all moms know!
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