We moms often put ourselves last on the priority list. Small self-care for moms is a simple way to invest in ourselves and, in turn, our loved ones.
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I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go on a hike around the lake with my family. That’s all–just one simple decision. But I honestly had no clue what to choose.
It was one of those days. The baby was fussy and would not take his nap. Every little thing was upsetting me more than it should. My brain was wrapped in a fog and I wanted to cry. It would probably do me some good to be outside and spend quality time with my family, I reasoned. But what if the baby never settles? That certainly would make for a miserable trip, I thought. Plus I’ll have to pack a lunch for everyone. The inner debate raged on.
And still, I could not decide. My sweet husband kept asking me what I wanted to do. He even packed the lunch. But as the baby continued to cry, I too was on the verge of a meltdown. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I make simple decisions? Why am I getting so frustrated with every little thing?”
In his wisdom, my husband gently suggested that I take some time to myself. He would handle everything with the kids so that I could do what I wanted or needed to do. By giving me permission to take even just a couple of hours to recharge and take care of myself, he was offering me one of the greatest gifts.
I’m learning that self-care is not optional. At this point in my life, it is an absolute necessity. But let’s be honest–sometimes we moms are notoriously horrible at prioritizing ourselves. We spend so much time and energy tending to the needs of others that we often neglect our own. And sometimes, even if we want to prioritize ourselves, the logistics of making that happen can be really difficult.
One of my goals is to be more intentional in finding small ways to implement self-care into my day. By doing this, days can be more enjoyable and we moms can be better equipped to care for our loved ones or fulfill our responsibilities. Even small self-care can do wonders for us! Here’s what I’m learning, and what I hope will be helpful to you as you incorporate more self-care into your routine.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
As much as I like to believe that I am superwoman and that I can do anything and everything, I know that’s just not true. The reality is, none of us can do it all. As moms, we are constantly pouring into the lives of others. Our spouses, children, friends, jobs, churches, and so on.
It’s not uncommon for moms to feel exhaustion and overwhelm from juggling so many responsibilities. There is an endless list of things to do and people to care for. We work so hard to to love our family well that it’s easy to think that we don’t have time for self-care.
What I’m finding is that if I find even small chunks of time to take care of myself, I’m much more patient and attentive. I enjoy my responsibilities more. And honestly, I can get more done because my mind is clearer.
Pouring into the lives of others is one of the noblest pursuits, but it’s only possible if we are filling ourselves up.
Self-care doesn’t have to be grandiose, expensive, or time-consuming.
Most moms know we need to take care of ourselves, but making it happen is another story. I mean, luxurious spa days or fancy getaways are awesome. But they just aren’t realistic for a lot of moms.
That’s why we need to find ways to incorporate small self-care into our daily routine. Ask yourself, “What are the little things that fill me up? What do I enjoy? What relaxes me or recharges me?”
The following are some suggestions to get you started. These are all things that take anywhere from 5 minutes to a couple of hours, so they should be easy to fit somewhere in your week.
- Wake up early for some quiet time to yourself.
- Sleep in for a little extra shut-eye.
- Get out of the house for 2 hours. Do whatever you want, even if it’s just going to Target or a coffee shop.
- Take a walk outside. Enjoy nature.
- Listen to music.
- Color in an adult coloring book.
- Practice hand lettering.
- Exercise– Complete a 10-minute (or longer, if time allows) exercise video segment, do some stretching, yoga, etc. Or go to the gym if that’s an option for you.
- Perform breathing and relaxation exercises.
- Take a bath.
- Write in a journal.
- Go get a manicure or pedicure.
- Read or write affirmations.
- Have lunch with a friend or give them a call to catch up.
- Have a date with your husband.
- Cook something, just for fun.
- Work on a DIY project or other hobby project.
- Read a book or magazine.
- Watch a favorite TV show or movie.
Self-care DOES need to happen regularly.
This is the biggest challenge for most of us. We know it’s good for us and even have some ideas of what we would like to do, but implementing it is just plain hard sometimes.
Whenever possible, schedule small self-care into your day. For instance, I choose to wake up before my kids do. I do this every single morning. Starting my day off with some “me time” has been a game changer. It’s just one change that equals a little bit of small self-care for myself. I’ve started listening to music when I take my shower. More small self-care. I plan time to read every week, even if it’s only 15-30 minutes. Everyday, I read affirmations to improve my mindset. I do at least 10 minutes of exercise almost every day.
Once every week or two, my husband watches the kids while I get a couple of hours to myself. These times are golden, friends. And while I have a long way to go toward making self-care the priority that it should be, I’m doing so much better, and I can feel the change it’s making in my life.
If possible, enlist the help of your spouse, family, and friends to make self-care a priority. Swap childcare or other services with friends if possible. Let your spouse know that you would like to make some small changes so you can take better care of yourself. Be specific and tell him ways that he can support you in that endeavor.
I’m learning that one of the best ways we can take care of our families is by taking care of ourselves. Sometimes that doesn’t happen easily. But by finding a few small self-care habits, prioritizing myself is more doable. I no longer feel guilty about taking care of myself. Self-care doesn’t mean I’m selfish or trying to dodge my responsibilities. It means I value myself and my relationships with others. And that, my friends, is one of the greatest gifts I can give myself and my loved ones.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate self-care into your life?
Recommended Resources for Prioritizing Self-Care:
- The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You– This book by Jessica Turner was the first time I felt like someone was giving me permission to take care of myself. And really, not just giving permission, but imploring me to do it. As a working mom and blogger, Jessica has a lot of practical suggestions and wisdom.
- Brilliant Life Planner– I use this planner to write out my goals for the week and to time-block my days. I actually write self-care practices on my weekly to-do list and then put them into my daily time block schedule. By being intentional and planning what I want to accomplish, I’m much more likely to do it. Having it in writing is a good reminder so that it doesn’t get buried under the neverending list of other things that need to be done. Bonus, it’s also a gorgeous planner that I actually WANT to use!
- Komae– This is a new babysitting co-op app that I just recently learned about and have begun exploring! I haven’t starting using it yet, but it looks like a FABULOUS way to have access to free childcare. You essentially have your friends join your Komae “village,” and then you earn points by babysitting each others’ kids and spend points to have them babysit yours. Sounds like a great way for your kids to have play dates with other kids and for you to not have to pay money for a babysitter. Because the app handles all of the logistics, it eliminates a lot of the possible social tension associated with traditional babysitting co-ops. Check it out here!