Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Moms are constantly pulled a million different directions, finding themselves far too busy to get done what they need to get done, let alone worrying about self-care. I know the struggle as I spent 6 years as a single mom. I was always tired, strung out, and on the edge of exploding any minute.
The busier we moms find ourselves taking care of our families, the less we find ourselves taking care of ourselves. Who has time for self-care when your being depended upon by these adorable little beings. It gets really challenging, but it's not impossible.
It’s only natural to put your kids first, but neglecting yourself completely leave you ragged. Believe it or not, one of the best gifts you can give your children is the gift of you taking care of yourself. It will help you be more energized so you can engage more fully with your children. This means you can accomplish more in your daily life as well. Taking care of yourself will leave you feeling happier and more peaceful. Kids love it when Mom is happy.
Everything starts with small baby steps. So here are a few baby step suggestions you can implement into your busy mom life.
1) Get in Activity Daily
It’s good to keep yourself active. However, depending on the age of your child you may get more than your fair share of activity. Physical activity can help your body release endorphins which can improve your mood and increase your energy.
Do whatever activity you enjoy that gets you active. You could walk around the park with your stroller, do yoga in your local studio when you can, use a workout video; do whatever will get you active each day.
For instance, as I have transition from a job being on my feet to a business run from behind a computer, my physical activity has plummeted. In an effort to change that without taking too much time away from business activities I simply walk up and won the street each time I need a get up and get away from the computer screen.
With this as a concept, you can work in activity throughout your whole day. You can park in the farthest parking space when you go grocery shopping. Take the stairs instead of elevator next time you have the option. Do squats or dance while you brush your teeth. Squeeze your abs while you do the dishes. Basically if you get creative you can work extra physical activity into tasks you are already doing.
2) Stay in Touch with Those Close to You
Unlike our younger years and days before the kiddos, we don't have time for sleepovers and mulling about over nothing with friends like we once did. However, taking time to nurture important friendships and relationships is a crucial part of your self-care.
Your friends are there to provide reprieve when you need it. They can be leaning posts of support and you can help one another through life's experiences. Friendships are important, especially when you are craving some adult time because you haven't spoken to one in weeks.
It’s not always easy to pay friends a visit, especially when they live far away, but there are other, simple ways you can still put the effort in to show them you care and keep your connection open.
You could call them for a few moments when you’re doing dishes or taking a walk once or twice a week and keep in touch. You could write them a card or letter, send them a gift, or something along those lines to let them know you’re thinking of them. Even a simple text every now and again is always a nice gesture.
3) Prioritize Sleep
It’s tempting to try to make the most out of the time your kids are asleep, but it’s important to get sleep yourself. The Director of UCLA Sleep Disorders warns mothers of the risk of limiting their sleep:
“We know from research studies that chronic lack of sleep has adverse health consequences: people who consistently sleep less than six hours experience increased appetite, which causes weight gain and increases the risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, and type two diabetes.”
Sleep is a crucial part of your mental and physical health. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night is one self-care treatment you can’t afford to miss out on.
When I first found myself in a situation where I was a single mom, I took up two jobs. Somehow I worked two full time jobs and did mom duties alone. When I think back upon that time period in my life, I am not really sure I made it. I was tired all the time from overworking and sleeping 5 hours or less every night. Just like the study states I experienced weight gain and depression. It led me down a spiral where I experienced a powerful “dark night of the soul,” and then shifted my life around. That also led me to realize how powerful and necessary self-care is to my existence and sanity.
I know it can be hard to prioritize sleep when there are so many things to do and so little time. Think of it this way though, whenever you are more rested you have the ability to be more productive during your waking hours. If you approach something with full energy you can go full speed. If you approach something with low energy you will going at half speed or slower.
4) Eat Right
Eating right is a great self-care routine to instill. You can experience both short term and long-term effects by eating healthier regularly. It’s tempting to go for the quicker, unhealthy option for yourself, but eating right is better for your body and sets a positive example for your kids. It’ll help to provide you with more energy and better overall health.
Try adding more fresh fruit or vegetables to daily meals. Snacks like an apple with peanut butter or a veggie tray with hummus a as dipping sauce are easy and healthy options to eat on the go. Also having other hady snack items such as nuts, beef jerky, or healthy protein and granola bars can help you have a more nutrient rich diet.
If you don't currently meal prep, it is something I highly recommend. You can take one day out of your wek and create several meals and refrigerate or freeze them. This means it frees up your time the other days of the week so you can focus on the other demands of life and maybe work in a few quiet moments to yourself, well maybe. Sticking to a meal plan and prepping also have the benefit of more money in your pocket, and that is always a good thing.
5) Prioritize Your Health
If I had to guess it, I would say your a good mom, you always make sure to carefully note each checkup and doctors appointment for your children, knowing the exact month to return for yearly checkups. How often do you take the time for your own appointments and checkups.
Your health is important too; take special care to make appointments for your yearly checkups and don’t miss any regular exams. A sick mom can't do much and doesn't have the energy to care for her children the way she desires. By keeping up with your own regular check ups and exams, you are practicing keeping your body in better condition so you can experience and enjoy as many magical moments with your children before the time disappears.
Also in taking care of your health are many different forms of preventative maintenance. This includes previously listed tips of eat well and move daily. Other things may include herbs and supplements, specific routines you have, oils, mental health exercises, and a wide variety of healthy practices you can adopt into your lifestyle.
As a mom, you probably struggle to find time to yourself, and I get it, I did too. You put your kids before yourself, which is commendable, but it leaves a void in your self-care routine, resulting in your neglecting yourself. Now my kiddo knows to leave me alone when I tell him I need my space which means a nicer mom.
I hope these few, simple tips will help you find a way to squeeze in some self-care time during your hectic life. You are important, and your needs deserve to be valued. You can easily improve your mental and physical health by integrating these simple self-care tips.