With the ever-increasing busy-ness of life, it’s no wonder self-care for moms is such an important topic. Never-ending streams of information bombard us all day, not to mention the demands of work and family. Our society is quickly becoming accustomed to the instant gratification that seems to be offered everywhere, from having information available at the click of a button to free 2-hour grocery delivery (which, let’s be honest, is the best thing ever). When you add kids to the mix, the idea of self-care for moms becomes even more important.
But, with all this instant gratification, we can easily fall prey to a trap of rushing, rushing, rushing without even stopping to take care of ourselves. Add to that the constant demands of mom life, and it’s no wonder we feel stressed, have trouble sleeping, or look like a hot mess all the time.
Self-Care for Moms | Why You Should Do It
Self-care has always been a topic of passion for me. Maybe it’s because time and time again, I realize how much more effective and pleasant I am if my personal “tank” is full. I find that I’m more inspired, patient, and giving when I’m filled. (Whereas if I’m stressed, I can be short, angry, rude, and selfish.)
Now that I have kids, I find that it’s even more important for me to practice self-care (even if there’s less time to do it). If I don’t, I won’t have the fuel I need to be my best for them.
Self-Care for Moms | How to Know You Need It
Is the state of your home bothering you? Do you feel like your kids or spouse have been bothering you more lately? How do YOU feel right now? Energized, light, and clean? Or weighed-down, heavy, and dull? Pay close attention to yourself for a moment and take stock. If you are sensing a need to regroup, you probably need to incorporate ways to practice self-care into your daily rhythm.
Self-Care for Moms | How to Stay Balanced
While it’s highly important to practice self-care and make sure your needs are met, it’s also just as important to not get too greedy. You might love how it feels when you take a moment to yourself, but if you don’t stop to consider those around you, you can easily take it too far and become selfish. Nobody wants that. So, while it’s easy to always look for ways to feed your own tank, it’s also important to stop and appreciate where you are, find humor in your challenges, and stop holding yourself to impossible standards.
Remember: The purpose of self-care is to fill ourselves up so we can keep pouring life and love into our kiddos.
Self-Care for Moms | 21 Easy Ideas
1. Shower. I know, for some of us mamas, this is easier said than done. 😉 Take your shower up a notch with a couple drops of invigorating orange oil in your body wash.
2. Exercise. You know that workout you enjoy? (I can hear some of you already saying, “No…?” — Ha!) Whether it’s walking, dancing, playing soccer or even climbing the jungle gym with your kids, DO IT. You’ll feel better afterward. I know it can be tricky to exercise with kids. Start with what you have and do what you can. What’s been working for me lately is taking the kids to the park in the morning, and fitting my exercise in while they play. (Keyword: lately. I’m sure I’ll need to adjust my routine again in a few months, and that’s OK.)
3. Blow-dry your hair. For me, I feel much better if I blow-dried my hair. I don’t do it as often as I should, but when I do… I’m a whole new woman!
4. Allow yourself a moment to stop and enjoy the beautiful moments. It’s easy to get into the mode of “to-do”, but if you stop for a few minutes, you just might realize just how good you have it. You might even stop to look back at photos of your kids from a year ago, just to remind yourself of how quickly they grow.
5. Build a happy playlist. One of the easiest and most effective ways of incorporating self-care for moms. Add only the songs that you can’t help but dance, sing to. When you’re in need of a boost, play it.
6. Prioritize inspiration in your activities. If you are inspired by fashion or textiles, take up knitting. If you love art, invest in one of those adult coloring books and some richly-pigmented colored pencils, and commit to doing 5 minutes each day. If you love to cook, allow yourself to follow your inspiration in the kitchen by buying ingredients that inspire you (for me, these tend to be things like dried lavender and blood oranges, or fresh lemongrass and coconut cream).
7. Make a to-done list. At the end of the day, instead of sitting in the perpetual mire of everything you need to do, stop and jot down everything you accomplished. It’s a good way to “close to the loop” and remind yourself how productive you really are. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for keeping the kids alive — that’s job #1. 😉
8. Prioritize inspiration in your space. While having everything organized is somewhat of a unicorn we moms may never fully capture, you might be surprised at how much lighter you feel when you at least see something inspiring around you. For example, I store my favorite hat on a hook right by my closet door. I see that hat beside my favorite floral scarf, and immediately feel lifted and inspired.
9. Read a book. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
10. Hang a bird feeder. And sit back and watch them congregate.
11. Get yourself flowers. Treat yourself to a gorgeous plant or bouquet next time you’re shopping. In my experience, Trader Joe’s and Costco have the best selection.
12. Paint your nails. As a mom, I don’t have time (or money) to go get my nails done, get spray tanned, or get my eyelashes done. I hate how superficial it sounds, but I do feel better when I’m “spruced up” a bit. With a few helpful tools, it can be easy to give yourself the spa treatment after the kids go to bed.
13. Get perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in trivial things. When I sense this in myself, I like to stop and consider how many people go without running water… or how many people have children with chronic (or terminal) health conditions. We regularly donate to …, so I often go back to that. It reminds me to be thankful for the life I have, and it also reminds me of the good I can do with the resources I’ve been given.
14. Express gratitude (or, if you’re Christian, worship). It is the true antidote to depression and will refresh your soul.
15. Prepare your lunches ahead of time. So you don’t have to eat your kids’ leftover mac and cheese. I like mason jar salads.
16. Declutter your kitchen. You spend enough time in it. Make it a space of delight for you.
17. Declutter your closet. Pare down your items to only those that you actually feel good wearing. You’ll have less, but will be surprised by how much more it seems.
18. Reserve a day in your calendar with zero plans. And spend it all on whatever strikes your fancy that day. Family beach day? Sure! Trip to the beach by yourself? Go for it. If you need to invest in a babysitter (or arrange a childcare swap with a friend), do it. Your mental health is a priority.
19. Get your car washed. I am seriously amazed at how much lighter I feel when my car is clean and tidy. I usually just clean it out myself, vacuum it, and drive through a wash with the kids in tow. Yes, it can devolve back into chaos after about a day, but that day of order is totally worth it.
20. Put the phone down. Yes, I know sometimes it feels like the only retreat we have. But does it ever really fill you up? It doesn’t for me. It’s the equivalent of eating chips for dinner. Indulgent and enjoyable, but never leaves me feeling satisfied or energized.
21. Stretch to some relaxing or inspiring music. Five minutes before bedtime will leave your body and mind feeling completely balanced.
How do you plan on practicing self-care for yourself this week? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
Also, if you’re interested in practicing self-care in your relationships, check out Well and Good’s article on What does it mean to practice self-care in a relationship?