As a mother, you hardly have time to get everything done in a day so carving out time to take care of yourself seems impossible. Between balancing your family and career, looking after yourself might be a tall order.
“Almost all mothers, regardless of work status, struggle with feelings of guilt when they take time away from their children to practice self-care,” says Julie Burton, author of The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being.
She adds, “Mums often have a mile-long to-do list and by default, they often put themselves at the bottom of the list. Sometimes, they don’t even make the list at all.”
However, after studying more than 400 mums, Burton found that practicing self-care is very important for a mother. Mums who make time to look after themselves are often better able to care for their families. “We can’t pour from an empty cup,” she reiterates.
Below are some ways through which mothers can better look after themselves.
1. Have me time
Set aside time in your day to do something for yourself. You can go for a walk, call a friend, do your hair and nails, read a book, listen to a podcast, write in your journal, go for your regular check-ups, keep abreast with what is happening in your profession, etc.
This is your time to recharge, look at the direction your life is taking and see if it aligns with your goals. It’s the perfect time to set goals and map out how you are going to achieve them.
Many mums put off sleep so that they can squeeze a bit more from the day. But sleeping less than six hours a day will make you exhausted and irritable. Ensure you rest enough. Sleep the recommended hours a day and if you to do list is incomplete, leave it for the following day when you are more energised and can get things done faster and more efficiently.
3. Cook your favourite meal
Your family meals may often comprise of other people’s favourite meals. When is the last time you cooked something that you enjoy? Once in a while cook food that you enjoy. Enjoy the process of preparing it and later savour the meal.
It might seem impossible to squeeze a workout in your busy schedule but with a little bit of planning, and sacrifice you can. And you don’t need too much time. If doing a two hour workout seems outrageous, do a shorter one. The important thing is to move your body and stretch your muscles. This will help you keep fit and relax more.
5. Go for a walk
Walks will also help you relax and they are a good way to get in more exercise. You can use this time to reflect on your life or even make a new friend.
Go out and meet your friends. Have some adult conversation, food and entertainment. This will help to remind you that you also have a life besides taking care of your family.
Reconnect with your spouse. Schedule a date night when you leave your children at home and enjoy each other’s company.
7. Unplug from social media
Turn off the Wi-Fi and enjoy the day to day of your life. Spending less time online will give you more time in your day to do other things especially those that you never seem to have time for.
8. Listen to your favourite music
As a mum your music playlist will mostly consist of nursery rhymes. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Once in a while play your favourite tunes, sing and dance to them. Your kids will be happy to learn which songs you like and might even join in and dance with you.
9. Eat healthy
This is the simplest way to practice self-care as it doesn’t take you out of your usual routine. You can do this by shopping for healthier ingredients for your meals, eating healthy snacks, drinking more water and eating a meatless dish at least once a week.
When your children see you eating well they will also feel encouraged to eat healthy.
10. Be grateful
Have a gratitude journal where you scribble things you are grateful for and you will find yourself happier about your life as your focus will shift from the difficulties to the good things that happen daily.