[Ever wonder what all the self care hype is all about? Why is self care important? Find out what self care really is and discover why making it a priority is important for all moms.]
What does self care really look like for moms?
“I really needed this today” I said to my girlfriend as we configured the massage settings on our chairs and dipped our toes into the bubbling warm water at our feet. I could feel my worries wash away even if just for a few moments as my girlfriend and I chatted about anything and everything.
Taking time away to pamper yourself with a pedicure is a beautiful way to step away from your responsibilities for a while and relax.
But, taking hours off your day to go to the spa isn't always realistic as a mom. And the good news is – you don't have to take a lot of time or spend a lot of money to practice self care and nourish yourself in meaningful ways.
Even though I enjoyed my afternoon of luxury, if felt fleeting since days like this are few and far between.
I wanted to think that there could be a better way. A way to fill my cup so I could approach motherhood calm, confident, and refreshed.
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Motherhood is not an easy job.
As a mom you take care of everyone around you. You kiss boo boos (physical and emotional) you help feed, bathe, and clothe your little ones. You take older kids to school and transport them to birthday parties, sports, and other activities. It can feel exhausting.
Maybe you occasionally feel calm and even playful with your kids and surprisingly find pockets of time to do things you love. But, you wish you could more consistently bring more of those moments into your days.
Or maybe it has been months, years even since you felt beautiful and care-free. You can't remember the last time you put on a fresh shirt that didn't get spit-up, baby food, or some other unidentifiable mush on it within 15 minutes.
There is hope mama.
The key to going from exhausted to refreshed and energized as a mom is prioritizing your self care.
There is a way to step out of this seemingly endless cycle of all that needs to get done and make space for yourself in your life as a mom.
The Power of Self Care for Moms
You are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even on vacation, you are still a mom. And you wouldn't have it any other way. But in order to be the calm and playful mama you long to be, you need to take care of you.
Why is Self Care Important?
Before a flight, the flight attendant goes over the safety regulations. One of the instructions she gives is – if oxygen masks are needed you must put your mask on first before assisting anyone else, including your children. This goes against all of our motherly instincts.
But if you think about it, if you were to help everyone else first you would run out of life-giving oxygen and not be able to help anyone else, including yourself.
This holds true for motherhood as well. When we take care of ourselves first we are able to approach motherhood from a place of abundance and love rather than living in survival mode always on the edge of burn out.
Ditch the Guilt
Okay, so now that you know just how important self care is for moms – take a deep breath – and as you breathe out, let all of the guilt that you have been holding onto around self care drift away.
Taking care of yourself is the greatest gift you can give to your children. It gives them more joyful experiences with a mom that was able to be present and playful. And all because you took the time to nurture and love yourself.
Not only that, it helps set a priceless example for your kids. Taking care of you guides your kids in learning and embodying taking care of and loving themselves as well.
As much as we want to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” our kids are watching and learning from the examples we set.
By bringing self care and self love into your life on a daily and moment to moment basis you are showing your kids how to do this for themselves as well. What could be a greater legacy than that?!
Yes, this exactly what I want! Where do I start?
Let's start by tackling the misconceptions around self care.
What Self Care is Not
Although self care can include days at the spa and lunches with girlfriends, that is not the true essence of self care.
Okay, so what exactly is self care then?
True self care is…
True self care is taking care of the whole you. body. mind. and soul.
Self care is something you can bring into every moment of everyday.
The simple act of mindfully pausing to ask yourself what you need in any given moment is an act of self care.
Often the seemingly insignificant act of asking what you need can feel dignifying and help you to feel loved and cherished.
The Little Things
When you pause to notice what you need, take time to give those things to yourself.
Many times what you need is something that can be done right then and there.
For example, maybe you have been rushing around all day and you just need to pause (close your eyes, if that feels good to you) and take some slow deep breaths.Or maybe you need to rehydrate with a cool glass of water.
Or you are really hydrated and you just haven't stopped chasing the kids long enough to use the restroom.
All of these things can be done right in the moment you notice you need them.
What about the bigger things?
When you notice you need something that can't be taken care of right in the moment. Make a tentative plan. You don't need to work out all of the details right then and there, but take the first step.
So if you have been up three nights in a row with sick kids, and you are barely functioning due to sheer exhaustion. Pick up the phone and call your spouse, your mom, or your babysitter and see when they can help out, so that you can take nap and recharge.
You may be thinking – How exactly am I going to fit self care into my busy days?
My hope is that you are starting to see that you don't always need a lot of extra time for self care. It is lovely when you can block out time for yourself care, but depending on the season of life that you are in, how old your children are, and what your other obligations are, taking big blocks of time is not always possible.
Here are some more ways you can make time for self care as a busy mom.
The Social Media Time Trap
You intended to just jump on social media to respond to your best friend's most recent post about her newborn baby, but forty-five minutes later you are lost in your feed and forgot why you logged in in the first place.
Noticing where you are spending your time is a great way to start shifting your habits to create more time for things that will truly bring you joy.
You can't and don't have to do it alone.
Have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village?”. Well, it is true. Moms are superheroes, but that doesn't mean we have to do everything alone.
Asking for and accepting help from others can go a long way in helping us to make space for self care in our lives.
Keeping Self Care Simple
Self care can be woven throughout your day. It can be a part of every thing you do. Yes, even washing the dishes.
Using Your Senses
You can bring self care into every aspect of your day by bringing your senses into play.
For example when you are washing the dishes, feel the warmth of the water and the light airy bubbles as you plunge your hands into the sink.
When you go for a walk notice the sights and smells around you. Is there a breeze? Can you hear any birds or crickets chirping? What does the ground feel like under your feet?
No matter what you are doing you can always bring your awareness back to your breath.
Meditation for Self Care
Bringing your focus back to your breath several times throughout the day is a wonderful way to help settle any anxious thoughts and bring you back to equilibrium.
Choose a guided meditation to listen to at least once a day to help you deepen your self care practice. Here is a free library of guided meditations for you to choose from.
4 Types of Self Care
Let's dive a little deeper into the different 4 types of self care. When you take care yourself in of all four of these aspects of your being you will feel truly nourished and find more balance in your life as well.
1. Physical Self Care
- Our bodies are meant to move. Just the simple act of going for a walk, stretching, or doing some gentle yoga can be an excellent way to bring movement and physical self care to your day.
- Being a mom can bring aches and pains. We carry children while we are pregnant and for years afterward not to mention all of the other activities we do as moms. Being intentional about how you move your body can make a huge difference in how your body feels.
- Being intentional about the foods that we eat and drink is another important way to take care of yourself.
2. Mental Self Care
Mental self care is an important part of your overall self care. Here are some ideas to help you incorporate mental self care into your self care practice:
- Meditation can be a great way to help to settle your thoughts and calm any anxiety.
- Taking time to shift habits that are no longer serving you mentally is an act of self love. It can also help you to free up time in your day to incorporate more of what you love into your newly found free time.
- Reading books or articles or taking courses that help you to grow personally or learning a new skill is a great way to spend your mental energy in a positive way.
3. Emotional Self Care
Emotional self care can often be overlooked, but is key to finding your calm as a mom. Our feelings and emotions have messages for us. Taking time to allow yourself to tune into your emotions and listen to the messages they have for you will allow you to address your needs and allow the emotion to be released, so you can live more fully.
- Meditation is an excellent tool to use to help you find stillness and tune into your emotions and intuition.
- Read books that will help you shift your perspectives and further your emotional and spiritual growth.
- Invest in your growth as a woman and a mom, through coaching. Talking with someone in a judgment-free safe space that allows you to go deeper and heal so that you can go forward with joy and be the calm confident mom you have always dreamed of being.
4. Spiritual Self Care
Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, taking time daily to acknowledge the source of life and the connectedness of all beings is a great way to bring more awe and wonder into your daily life.
- Take time daily to connect with nature. Going for a walk or gardening are great ways to enjoy the beauty of nature. Even if it just means going outside for a few minutes to feel the warmth of the sunshine on your skin.
- Grounding is a beautiful practice that you may like to incorporate into your self care practice. There are several benefits associated with grounding or earthing.
- If it is challenging to spend quality time outside every day, you may consider bringing nature to you, by choosing some succulents or other plants to place around your home.
- Make meditation a part of your self care so that you can truly tune into yourself at a deeper level.
- Find things to be grateful daily. There is always something to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude can immediately shift your mood and help you to feel like a happier mom.
- Connecting with others is another great way to remember the miracle that is your life and feel the love and presence of another being.
You Can Multitask
Many of the activities you practice as a part of your self care can encompass multiple types of self care. You can even find ways to incorporate a spiritual and emotional aspect to self care activities that you love so that you aren't necessarily adding more things you need to do to your to-do list.For example:
- You may enjoy taking walks with or without your kids, use that time to connect with nature, and after your walk take a minute or two to write about your experience in your journal. Note any thoughts or feelings that came up for you. Note the beauty that you experienced on your outing and anything else you are grateful for.
- Or you may need a way to move your body indoors. Doing yoga can be a great physical and mental practice. And you can also spend a few minutes in meditation at the end of your physical practice to bring balance to your practice. Here some yoga videos to help you practice self care in the comfort of your home.
Need some inspiration?
Wondering what to do now that you have cleared time in your schedule to prioritize your self care?
Create a Self Care Sanctuary
It can be helpful to have a special space in your home with things that bring you joy and enhance your self care.
Creating this special self care space can make it easier for you to incorporate time for self care in your day.
The Most Stressful Times of Day
For most moms the mornings and evenings can often be the most stressful times of day. Having a plan and practicing self care at those times of day can often help you navigate those busy times with more calm and ease.
If evenings are when you feel the most frustrated, make sure to set your self up for success with a self care evening routine. This will help you keep your cool while making dinner and helping kids with their homework, with a baby on your hip.
Enhance Your Self Care with Essential Oils
Using Essential Oils as a way to enhance and support your self care practice and bring more elements of calm and joy to your motherhood journey.
Intentionally choosing essential oils for self care can help you feel peaceful or energized can immediately shift your mood and help you to stay more calm with your kids.
Show Up for Yourself Daily.
Just as you take care of your kids every day. Mothering and caring for yourself will become a normal and special part of your life.
Take time to notice what you need moment-to-moment and do your best to lovingly care for yourself every day.
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