Self-care for moms is more important than for most other people on the planet. Being a mom is like having 2.5 jobs, and a lot of us have jobs on top of that!
When will we take self-care for moms seriously? There are countless memes about how moms are exhausted and never sleep… because they are true.
We are physically exhausted from late nights and early mornings followed by days filled with work, whether that work is in the home or out (or both). We are emotionally and mentally exhausted from having to think about literally every.single.thing.
With so much working against us actually taking a few minutes to look after ourselves, is the idea of self-care even realistic?
The answer is, we have to make self-care for moms realistic.
Most of us *still* are not practicing real self-care. We are overworked, overtired, and our life is suffering because of it. While it might seem possible to just suck it up and keep on truckin’, the truth is that neglecting to commit to a basic self-care practice can have seriously negative impacts on your health and your relationships.
But perhaps a big reason we keep dismissing the need for self-care is because instead of feeling like a much-needed restorative process, it has become another thing to add to our to-do list. Instead of being something that makes us feel healthier and happier, self-care is more of an obligation, or even a competition.
According to this Harvard Business Review article, even though we continue to strive for self-care, we somehow are more stressed than we were a year ago. Perhaps the state of our world (lookin’ at you climate change) could be part of the reason for stresses, but could our elaborate ideas of what self-care must be, and then the guilt for ignoring self-care for moms be to blame?
Let’s just start with some basics so we are on the same page, ok? Maybe we can start peeling back this onion so we can create a more healthy view of what self-care is and how we can actually create routines and practices that are beneficial and not stressful.
What is self-care?
Psych Central says self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”
And according to this article from the National Institute of Health (NIH) self-care is generally considered “a person’s attempts to promote optimal health, prevent illness, detect symptoms at an early date, and manage chronic illness.”
Sure, you can count drinks with the girls as part of self-care, but it’s also this super practical necessity ensuring we are healthy and literally able to keep on livin’ and mommin’.
What are examples of self-care?
On a most basic level, self-care activities are things you do to ensure your body, mind, soul, etc. are functioning properly. Like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, drinking water, but also it could include reading a book or calling an old friend.
Self-care practices will vary from person to person because we all have unique needs and desires. But if you boil it down, self-care activities are those that fill us up and restore us so we can be at our best. So what are this things for you?
If you are just starting to think about self-care, think about the most basic activities you can do that make you feel whole, energized, and at peace.
They could even be the basic necessities like proper dental hygeine. For example, have you been so busy that you have been skimping on flossing, and now your gums don’t feel squeaky clean, leading to you being distracted during morning meetings or work times? (This might be a real life example for me…)
I look at self-care as my list of must-do practices in order for me to get done what I want in life, and enjoy doing them.
Don’t get me know… I looove a good bubble bath or manicure, but when it comes to ensuring that I am able to be at my absolute best, they don’t really cut it as self-care for moms in my opinion.
If anything, getting a manicure feels like a waste of the precious little alone time I have to get stuff done, and honestly I’d rather just nap. (Napping is definitely self-care.)
But when I polled a bunch of my mom friends, many of them said bubble baths and mani/pedi’s were on their must-do self-care list! So take my suggestions with a grain of salt because you need to figure out what works for you.
Why is self-care important?
Can your car run without gas? Will your lights stay on if you don’t pay the bill? Will your phone stay on and let you keep reading this blog post if you hadn’t charged it up earlier? No, of course not.
Without at least a minimal and basic self-care routine, you just can’t keep going. Life will become too much and you’ll either do a really crappy job at whatever your job is, momming or something else, or you’ll just shut down either physically or emotionally.
Self-care is not a luxury and it isn’t a competition either. It’s about knowing how you can be the best you possible so you can show up for others and yourself.
How do you create a self-care routine?
Start small and basic. Don’t try to overhaul your entire life in one massive shift. Instead, choose something actually attainable even if it is just a subtle change.
So many times self-care for moms goes off the rails because add too much too quickly.
Here is what I did to massively shift my self-care routines, but it it’s surprisingly small tweak that has lead to a cascade of self-care changes that have had a huge impact
Remember above when I said I drink that glass of water first thing in the morning? I talk more about it in this post about simple self-care, but what that small habit has done is help me start my day with a small act of self-care.
Taking that short minute to make sure my body is hydrated, I am setting myself to continue to make good decisions for my own wellbeing for the rest of the day with the notion of fulfilling my physical needs at top of mind.
The best part is that I don’t have to remember to do much. All I have to do is remember to drink a glass of water, which is the perfect thing to do while I wait for my coffee to be ready! When I get into the kitchen in the morning I fill up my tea kettle for my french press, and as soon as it’s on the stove I pull out a water glass, fill it up, take my vitamin and chug the whole thing.
So keep it simple. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Pick one thing and stick with it until it becomes a habit, then move onto something else.
Self-care for moms is essential. This job is so hard. So worth it, but so hard. I’ve started thinking about moms like a super athlete, and athletes make sure their body and mind are well prepared for game day. It’s just as moms… every day is game day.
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