You’ve seen all the articles posted on Facebook about the importance of self-care. It’s all the rage these days, but it’s much more than the bubble baths, Netflix, and smoothie bowls you see on social media.
True self-care is knowing your needs and prioritizing them, which, in theory, allows you to be the best version of yourself for you and those around you. It’s about setting boundaries and finding clarity on how you want to spend your time. Add being a busy mom in charge of little people on top of that, and it’s even more crucial for a well-rounded, happy self.
So here we are, shouting it from the rooftops (or really, our laptops on the couch), but self-care is not something you should feel guilty about making time for. It’s a necessity that makes you a better mother, partner, and person. Read on for ten easy ways to take care of you every day.
1. Think of your future self
Carve out routines that will consistently make each week easier. Little things, like spending an hour meal prepping on Sunday or creating a routine for laundry add up. The best way to create these routines is to take stock of the biggest pain points in your day and tackling them one by one. Does your toddler fight getting dressed every morning only to fight again when it’s time to put shoes on and head out the door? The simple habit of laying out clothes and shoes together the night before will decrease your daily stress. Creating routines and taking stock often will allow you to move through the seasons of parenting with ease.
2. Learn to say no
We’ll admit it, most of us are people pleasers. While the gratification you get from pleasing others can feel good in the short term, over time it can wear on you. As a mom, we’re constantly pulled in several directions and it can be easy to say yes to everything. But we are here to remind you that no is a complete sentence. Learn to trust your gut and if something is not a complete yes, say no! This will allow you to free up time for your true priorities.
3. Protect those days (or hours) with nothing to do
Now that you are in the practice of saying no, look at your calendar. It’s likely that there are commitments that you have stuck with simply because you have always done them. Guess what? It’s time to say no to them! Once you’ve finished this exercise, look at what is left on your calendar. Do your days seem overwhelming? Is there enough white space in your calendar to allow for making memories with your family? If not, return to step two and say no to something else. Repeat until your calendar is aligned with your priorities with enough space for life to take shape. That’s where the magic truly happens.
4. Get moving for your mental health
Making time for exercise is a work in progress for all of us. Gone are the days of long, grueling workouts and hour-long spin classes with girlfriends (followed by brunch!) on the weekends. For us, the effort it takes to do a quick naptime workout or a 20-minute walk on your lunch break is worth it. Reframe exercise to be an activity that gives you the energy and mental clarity you need to get through long days with your kiddos. And for us, the mental benefits are just as important as the physical!
5. Give yourself a *major* break
Being a mom is 2018 is a hard job. In addition to the expectations that we put on ourselves, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the highlight reel of strangers on the internet. (And, let’s not even talk about mom shaming) Well, ladies, it’s time to break free of the self-imposed comparison trap we’ve put ourselves in. It’s time to accept that good enough is truly good enough and know that we are doing what is best for our families. In the end, that’s all that matters, so lower the bar slightly and know that you are doing a great job.
6. Take a look at your screen time
Managing screen time for our littles is something that is on all of our radars, but what about managing screen time for ourselves? Spend some time thinking about your social media usage and set healthy boundaries. Considering using a time tracking app to be realistic with how much time you are spending on Instagram. Ruthlessly unfollow or mute anyone who’s feed does not make you feel good or provide value to your life.
7. Outsource that one task you really hate
Managing your stress level is self-care and automating tasks can help. If going to the grocery store with your infant causes you to break out into hives, order groceries online to save yourself the stress. If you feel like you are spending your entire weekend cleaning your house, schedule a deep clean once a month to make life easier.
8. Learn the art of multi-tasking self-care
We all have weeks where literally every time slot of the day is filled. That’s when you know it is time to be creative. Slather on a face mask while you give your kiddos a bath. Listen to a podcast that you enjoy on your commute to work. Little tweaks to tasks you’ll already be doing can make them feel more special.
9. Let go of stress and have some fun
Create a family bucket list every season to give your family things to look forward to. Life as a busy parent can feel like Groundhog Day, and it does not have to feel that way! Set an intention to have some fun every week and knock things off the list with those you love.
10. Give it up…and ask for help
No one ever said you had to do it all yourself, so do not hesitate to ask for help early and often. The phrase “it takes a village” reigns true when it comes to self-care. We’re all in this together and that means that none of us are alone.