Wash the dishes, do the laundry, take the kids to school, make dinner, shop for groceries, pick up the kids, repeat. Sound familiar? Often moms are so busy taking care of other people that they forget to take care of themselves — and when they do take time for self-care, moms feel guilty or selfish. It’s time to normalize and prioritize self-care for moms.
As a busy mom, you may not think your schedule permits lengthy self-care routines, but the good news is that any form of self-care, big or small, is better than nothing. Experts say neglecting your needs can lead to increased stress, exhaustion, burnout and even a higher susceptibility to illness. And if you’re unwell, what does that mean for your family?
6 ways to fit self-care into your busy schedule
Self-care for moms doesn’t have to include a long, drawn-out routine, and you may think it's nearly impossible if you're quarantining at home with your children during coronavirus. Self-care can be as simple as meditating in a quiet spot for 10 minutes, reading a chapter in your book or enjoying a walk around the block alone. Regardless, it’s important to establish some sort of self-care routine to help you stay happy, focused and in the moment with your family.
Here are six ways to squeeze self-care into your schedule.
Prioritize your health
Self-care for moms starts with maternal health. You spend a lot of time taking care of your children’s health, but when was the last time you had a full check-up? Carve time out of your schedule for visits with your primary care doctor, dentist and vision specialist.
Additionally, be mindful of the foods you eat. When you’re stressed and rushing out the door, it can be easy to grab a quick snack that will leave you unfulfilled and hungry again soon. To make sure you're getting the nourishment you need, keep a bag of almonds or a few granola bars in your car or purse, or pre-make some balanced options with a mix of carbs, protein, and fat to keep you full longer. Load up on whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and other nutritious foods that will sustain you throughout the day.
And most importantly, don’t forget to hydrate!
Keep your body moving
Any movement is better than no movement. Plus, exercising releases endorphins that help regulate your moods and boost your overall sense of well-being. Choose an exercise you know you can stick to — consistency is key. Even if it’s just a 10-minute dance party in the living room with your kids, you’ll still feel the benefits.
If you’re not the dancing type, try stretching. There are many benefits to stretching, including feeling more invigorated, experiencing less pain as you move and even increased stability. This is even something your kids can do with you.
Make sleep a priority
We’ve all heard it before: A good night’s sleep is the key to a better you. That’s easier said than done when you have a newborn or toddler who wakes up several times throughout the night or a teenager who sneaks in after curfew. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including poor performance at work, diabetes and heart disease.
Prioritize sleep by going to bed earlier, even if you still have tasks you’d like to accomplish before bed. If your schedule permits, take naps during the day — the best time is your child’s nap time! Try establishing a bedtime routine for yourself. You have a routine for your child, so it only makes sense for you, too! Here are some tips.
Practice self-care in spurts throughout the day
Take a minute when you can grab one to focus on you, whether it’s journaling a few sentences about how you’re feeling, calling a friend for a quick chat, reading a book, or giving you and your kids quick manicures while you catch up on their day. Something is better than nothing.
Go off the grid
This is as simple as putting your phone down and going for a walk. Browsing social media for too long can make us feel either a major sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) or like we’re inadequate compared to other families or other women. There is no one else out there like you — be true to yourself, disconnect from the world and reconnect with you. Set some rules where you power down for an hour before bedtime or during meals. That way you can be fully invested in whatever is happening in those moments.
Connect with nature
You don’t need to wander deep into the woods to connect with nature. Consider adding more indoor plants to your home decor. Choose air-purifying plants such as orchids, chrysanthemums, bromeliads and peace lilies. These plants also help remove bacteria from the air, and it’s no secret that kids tend to bring lots of it home from school or daycare.
Self-care is not selfish
Self-care for moms doesn’t have to be a big production each day. In the spaces between soccer practice and ballet recital, you can find time for you. Let’s face it, every day is mother’s day. You’re a superhero, and even superheroes need a little TLC.