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I remember after having my first daughter, I totally lost myself in motherhood + being a wife. I gave up all the things I loved doing — reading, working out, going out with friends, getting my nails done.
It was the WORST possible thing I could have done.
Self-care for a mom is soooooooo important. It goes back to putting your oxygen mask on first before helping your child put on theirs when you’re on an airplane. If mom isn’t breathing then nobody is.
So, Mama, put on your oxygen mask. It’s going to make you a better mom, person + wife if you take care of yourself first.
Why Self-Care for Moms Matters
You’ve probably heard the term “self-care” used a lot lately. It’s become a popular buzzword in the media + in personal development circles. However, you still may be unclear on what it means. While the concept does involve taking care of yourself, it actually goes much deeper. Read on to learn what self-care is, why it matters + how to get started doing it.
Self-care covers a lot of areas with regard to caring for yourself. It involves nurturing your body, mind + spirit. It focuses on building yourself up so that your internal resources don’t become depleted.
Essentially, self-care is being as good to yourself as you would be to someone you care about. It requires you to show yourself some compassion + encourages you to be vulnerable with others, asking for help you when you need it.
What doesn’t fall under the umbrella of self-care are self-destructive coping mechanisms such as using drugs, drinking, gambling or retail therapy. These things only make you feel good in the short-term.
The Benefits of Self-Care
There are lots of benefits to practicing self-care. Embracing this concept can be difficult for those who’ve always placed emphasis on the welfare of others. However, giving all your energy to those around you without filling your own back up leaves you depleted + empty.
That’s no way to live.
Instead, spending time + effort on yourself rejuvenates + energizes you. Taking time to indulge in your own interests demonstrates your worth, leading to improved self-esteem + a more positive outlook on the world. It teaches you a lot about yourself + provides you with insight into what you need to be the best version of yourself.
Self-care helps you better cope with stress + to prioritize what’s important to you. You’ll be better able to take care of others when you also take time to meet your own needs.
Examples of Self-Care
There are countless ways to add self-care into your routine. The key is to choose activities that are most enjoyable to you + provide you with the most benefits.
Going for a walk in nature is great for those who enjoy the outdoors. Other forms of exercise like yoga, running or going to the gym work well, too. Spending time with friends can be rejuvenating, but so can saying no.
Allowing yourself to decline invitations or favors when you’re feeling run-down is a big part of caring for yourself. Treating yourself to a favorite, affordable indulgence like a movie, manicure or ice cream cone are all good examples. As is taking a bath or meditating. These are just a few of the ways you can easily incorporate self-care into your life.
Now you know what self-care is + why it’s important. You’ve also got some ideas of how to get started, so you’re well on your way to adding this useful practice to your life.
Start + End Your Day With A Little Self-Care
Like any new habit, adding self-care into your life can seem kind of tricky. You probably wonder how you can find time to do anything extra for yourself, let alone how you can remember to do these things.
One of the best ways to get started is to build your activities into predictable parts of your day. In order to make something a habit, it has to happen regularly. Keep reading for some tricks to making self-care a routine part of your life.
Make It Personal
The first thing that can will help you in creating your self-care rituals is to choose activities that are meaningful to you + that you enjoy. This is your practice, so you want to be sure it’s customized in order to get the most out of it.
Consider making a list of things that help you to feel relaxed, peaceful, excited or happy. These activities should be able to be done in a short amount of time + easily fit into your life without special equipment or tools. At least as you begin your practice, the things you choose to do should be as simple as possible.
Fit It In
You should add your self-care rituals to the most convenient parts of your day. Choose times that are already somewhat flexible so that incorporating something new into that space is less stressful.
Many people go with morning or evening routines, right when they wake up + before going to sleep each night. Getting up fifteen minutes earlier than usual + setting aside a window during the usual night-time schedule are usually things most folks can do.
However, designating your daily lunch break as your self-care time might work better for you. Consider activities like writing a gratitude journal entry before bed, listening to music while having your morning coffee or going for a short walk over your lunch hour. It might require trying out self-care activities + times of day to find a moment to call your own.
It’s best to come up with a routine that works for you + stick to it. Committing to a particular schedule can help you create a habit + ensures that you get the self-care you need. However, try to cut yourself some slack.
Some days are more hectic than others. You may not be able to fit in your anticipated self-care activity + that’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day + you can try again. Soon, you’ll find yourself wanting to take part in these rituals, + getting back on track becomes easy.
Getting into the practice of regular self-care doesn’t have to be difficult. Making a few adjustments to your existing schedule can free up some space in your day. Choose things that refresh you + that are simple to make getting started a breeze.
Try Something New Today
While creating habits + adding activities to your calendar help increase your chances of sticking with your new routine. Another way to keep things interesting is to treat yourself to things you’ve always wanted to do.
Adding new + novel experiences to your self-care routine is like giving yourself a little gift every day. It’s a great way to stay motivated to do things to care for yourself.
Taking physical care of yourself in a pampering way makes us feel good. Pampering is a go-to for many people when it comes to their self-care routine. Think of something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
A small act of indulgence can have the same effect as an extravagant one. Maybe consider scheduling a manicure if you’ve never had one. A bubble bath with candles can be soothing if this is something you don’t do very often. If your budget allows, a spa day with a friend can rejuvenate your body + spirit.
Most of us don’t buy ourselves presents very often or even give ourselves little treats. You can change that starting now. Think of something within your budget you’ve been wanting for a while now.
Then give yourself permission to buy it. Maybe it’s that snazzy pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on or the cell phone upgrade that would make your life easier. Giving yourself one gift, no matter how small, can be a boost to your self-worth.
Enjoy the Little Things
Self-care really doesn’t have to be on a grand scale. The tiniest gestures can be the most meaningful. Indulging in small free or low-cost treats allow you to spoil yourself more often.
What are some little things you’ve never done for yourself that you can start adding to your life today? Have you ever bought yourself flowers? Give it a try.
You get a little boost every time you see that beautiful bouquet on your table or desk. Think of your favorite food item, the one you have on special occasions. Why not make one day a week a little more special by trying a new version of it? For example, commit to tasting a new truffle each week at your favorite chocolate shop. Get creative with it.
Adding new experiences to your self-care routine keeps things interesting + can also help make them more meaningful. Novelty can also expand your world + enrich your life. Plus, it’s just fun!
Make A List Of 5 Simple Self-Care Routines
Keeping a list of self-care routines as part of a self-care toolkit can make it easier for you to implement them when needed. There are some other tricks you can employ to get you through the tough times, too. Keep reading to find out more tricks you can keep up your sleeve.
Make a List
Create a list of at least five activities you can easily fit in your life during the most stressful periods. The list is a simple reminder you can keep on-hand + pull out when you need to pick a little something for some self-care.
These can include super simple reminders like go to bed early so you get enough sleep, eat nourishing food to keep your energy up or ask for help you need it because these are all things you might forget when you’ve got a ton on your plate. During times of trouble, the very basic foundations of self-care can be the most important.
Make a Care Package
Another way to focus on self-care during hard times is to prepare a care package ahead of time. This can include some of your favorite little indulgences like a good book, herbal teas, facial mask, fuzzy slippers + classical CD.
Consider it your own subscription box!
Include anything that brings you joy. Being able to reach for this package when you’re stressed can mean the world + make a huge difference to your outlook.
Enlist Your Crew
When things look bleak, you may require a bit of help to get back on track. That’s why it’s a good idea to reach out to trusted friends + family now to enlist their help for the future. Talk to your closest confidantes to ask for their encouragement with your self-care routine.
Share with them the benefits it’s provided you + tell them you’d appreciate their assistance if they see you aren’t caring for yourself as well as you should be. Sometimes those who know us best can see things we don’t. When your crew knows to look out for you in this regard, they can reinforce your self-care needs during times of stress.
Taking steps to plan now can make maintaining your self-care routine easier in the future. Always remember it’s during the hardest times that you need to nurture yourself the most.
Self-Care Doesn’t Have To Cost Anything
I’d like to change that mindset today.
Self-care is something you deserve. Everyone does. It benefits us all, along with those around us, when we put our own well-being at the forefront. You can’t take care of others when your own well-being is suffering. Let’s take a look at some free + low-cost ways you can care for yourself.
Take a Time Out
Sometimes just a little bit of alone time is all you need to feel rejuvenated. So why not give yourself a time out? Lock yourself in your room with a nice cup of tea. Listen to some quiet music. Just sit still + let your mind wander for a bit. It’s a luxury we all can afford.
Waste Some Time
We often feel pressured to be productive all the time. Being busy is a sign of worth + accomplishment. However, it really doesn’t have to be that way.
Just kicking back + doing nothing is important to recharging our batteries. Let yourself have some down time to do something frivolous like binge your favorite Netflix show, take a nap or just sit + pet your cat. You deserve it.
Do Some Writing
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, journaling can be a very therapeutic activity. Jotting down what you’re grateful for has been proven to be beneficial to well-being.
It can also be energizing to simply do a brain dump in which you write down all the things that are floating around in your head. Jotting down dreams for the future might inspire + motivate you to take action. Give it a try.
Reach Out to Someone
Socializing is a crucial part of self-care. Even introverts benefit from interpersonal connection. Humans aren’t meant to be isolated.
Pick up the phone to call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Sit down to Skype with your favorite Internet pal. Meeting up in person for a walk together or a cup of coffee is even better. Connecting to others might just provide the spark you’ve been missing.
Change Your Perspective
A change of scenery can be a wonderful source of renewal + it doesn’t have to be an expensive trip, either. Just heading out to walk in your neighborhood might help when you’re feeling stir-crazy in your home. If you’re able to afford it, a low-cost staycation to a nearby location for a day or two is a fun way to switch things up. It’s surprising what this change of perspective can do for you.
While these are just a few of the countless ways you can indulge in self-care without spending much money, perhaps they’re just the jumpstart you need to begin exploring this concept. You truly do deserve to spend time, energy + effort on your own well-being.
Don’t Feel Guilty For Practicing Self-Care
Mom guilt — it’s probably the #1 reason moms don’t indulge in some self-care now + then. Maybe you feel guilty for spending time + resources on yourself.
It’s actually good for those you love when you take care of yourself. You truly can’t fill another’s cup if your own is empty. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to emphasize why you shouldn’t feel any mom guilt for practicing self-care + encourage you to do so in every area of your life.
It’s Not Selfish
Taking time to care for yourself is not selfish in any way. It may be hard to get past the mindset that the needs of others are more important than your own, but overcoming this mindset is essential to allowing yourself to adequately meet your own needs.
Care isn’t a zero-sum concept. When you care for yourself, it doesn’t have to mean you don’t care about others.
Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It really is like the airplane air mask comparison. You have to ensure you can breathe before you can help those around you. If you’re tired, rundown + overwhelmed all the time, you absolutely cannot give your best self to your kids, your spouse, or anyone else. You also can’t offer yourself the very best. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish.
It Sets a Good Example
Investing in self-care for moms is not only good for you, but it sets a good example for your kids + for those around you. In order for a stigma to end, it has to be normalized. When more of us let the world around us know why self-care matters, they may begin to change their minds about the concept, as well.
It Demands Respect
It also sets a precedent for how you expect others to treat you. When you demonstrate that you value yourself + that you find worth in investing time in yourself, others will respond in kind. Learning to say no + set boundaries is good for your relationships. It teaches others how you expect to be treated + makes it clear that you see yourself as a priority. There’s no reason to feel guilty for that.
With practice, you can come to see the benefits of self-care and that it doesn’t have to be something that causes guilt.
Tips To Continue To Take Care Of Yourself
Self-care is a process. It requires practice + dedication if you want to make it stick. Don’t get discouraged if it takes time to make this new concept a part of your life. It’ll get easier, and you’ll probably find yourself craving your self-care activities so much you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
However, there will inevitably be times that are busier or more stressful when self-care may go by the wayside. If you find that happening, be sure to follow these tips to continue to take care of yourself going forward.
Follow Your Gut
Sometimes we get so busy that we find ourselves living on auto-pilot. That’s only natural during hectic times, but it’s critical that you make an attempt to listen to your instincts during these times to know whether you’re in need of a boost.
When you start to feel especially frazzled or fatigued, it’s your body + mind telling you that you need a break. Listen to these clues. Look for other unusual signs that things are off balance with you such as irritability, eating poorly, losing sleep or indulging in bad habits. These things are telling you to take care of yourself.
When I feel especially frazzled (usually from being with my three kiddos 24/7), my husband always tells me to go do something out of the house. Whether it’s girls night out, heading out to read a book or get a manicure + pedicure, I always come back a much better person, wife + mother.
Sometimes it is only a 10-minute or an hour break but this small time to give something to myself is priceless + it is just enough to calm me down + make me come back refreshed + ready.
I’ve also started regular self-care with:
- Book club for moms (We read a book a month but we really just meet up for dinner + drinks rather than a book discussion)
- Bunco group
- Professional mani-pedi once a quarter (paint my own in between appointments)
- Spa day once a year courtesy of my hubs
Schedule It In
A trick that helps some people to fit self-care into their schedules when life gets busy is to actually write it in their date book or calendar. Treat your self-care commitments like any other appointment or event. Write down the time your self-care “appointment starts + finishes.
Try to be specific about the activity you’re going to engage in. Doing these things increases the odds that you actually follow through. It’s easy to put yourself on the back burner when life gets crazy, but don’t forget that these are the times you need self-care the most.
One final word. Take time to assess your self-care needs regularly. This can help you stay on track. Ask yourself once a week or so if you’re giving yourself enough time + attention. Listen to your instincts. Make adjustments as necessary. Self-care is an ongoing + evolving process that requires your constant attention.