Truth be told, I really stink at self-care. So maybe I am not the most qualified mama to pen this type of post. However, I feel like this is a great way to hold myself accountable while encouraging other mothers to take a time out to focus on themselves. I am going to talk about a few of the easier things I do. I am not going to offer up unrealistic advice like, “Spend the day at the spa!” or “Take a vacation with your girls!” Most of us can’t afford to unwind that way.
It is hard. I mean HARD. Mothers are so underappreciated in our society. We even constantly pick at each other. Especially online. It is easy to say, “Oh, just unplug!” But for some of us, social media is our only contact with the outside world and other adults for days at a time. Even weeks at a time! I once went two whole weeks without seeing an adult other than my husband. It takes a toll.
so my first piece of advice is actually…
- PLUG IN!
Find a Facebook group or another online community of like-minded mamas. Even better if they are local! Finding your tribe and a solid support system is so crucial! If you cannot find a group like this, start one! Put the word out in other mommy groups. Chances are you are going to find at least a couple other people who are looking for the same kind of thing you are. That is what I did, and now i interact with 84 amazing local mamas every single day and co-facilitate a local Goddess Circle with one of them!
- Work Out Away From Home.
It may be cheaper to reach for those DVDs than to join a gym or a fitness class, but your work out will be interrupted by diaper changes and requests for snacks, and you will be constantly tripping over toys and tiny humans. Make your work out about you and get out of the house! This doesn’t mean you have to stop staying active as a family. I love going for family walks and hikes, but getting out of the house alone gives you some time to enjoy a silent walk, bike ride, or car ride to your favorite gym or yoga class, and being away from home really lets you focus on your body and your breath. If you cannot afford to go to a gym, commit to taking one yoga class per month. You deserve at least one day. Look for donation classes in your area if you are strapped for cash!
- Meditate in the Shower.
If we are lucky enough to take a shower without a toddler attached to our legs, showers are often the only quiet time mamas get. Take advantage of this time to center and set your intentions for the week. I like to take three big, deep breaths with hands in prayer at heart center and recite the five principles of Reiki outloud. 1. For today I will not be angry. 2. For today I will not worry. 3. For today I will make my way honestly. 4. For today I will count my many blessings. 5. For today I will show love and compassion to all beings.
- Fuel Your Body.
This is the one thing I suck at the most. I am a notorious meal skipper. If you are overwhelmed and strapped for time, splurge on a quality protein shake. I have been blending up a vegan chocolate protein shake with a little spinach, some unsweetened almond milk, ice, and a splash of peppermint extract for breakfast. It is like Christmas at Starbucks, only it is good for you! I am still not consistent with eating throughout the day, but at least I kick it off with something nutrient dense!
- Take Yourself on Dates and Go on Dates with Other Moms.
Sometimes a date is going to Target by yourself to buy toilet paper. Sometimes going on a date means doing the grocery shopping by yourself. Recently I met a girlfriend at a big baby retailer where we picked out new car seats for our children. We spent the entire time spending money on our kids and talking about our kids and husbands, but we were able to do so freely with another adult! And their happened to be a coffee shop in the same plaza, which means we got to sit down for 20 minutes to sip on delicious, icy cold, caffeinated goodness. 20 minutes to sit quietly with someone whose company you enjoy is a great way to wind down when you are exhausted at home.
- Get the Kids Involved.
When you just cannot get away, get the kids involved. I try to have a “mindful minute” every day with my kids. My daughter is still a bit too young, but my four year old son and I practice mindful breathing and repeat a mantra. It has become such a part of our rhythm that if I skip it, my son actually asks to do it! He also loves to do yoga and will ask if we can do some “warrior posing” together.
- Ask For and Accept Help.
If you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. And if someone offers to help you, do not be to proud to say, “Yes! Yes, please!” I think a lot of women worry about putting people out. Let me tell you right now… If your friends did not want to help you, they would not offer. So say YES!
A lot of this stuff may seem like common sense, but sometimes a reminder really helps. Sometimes having someone give you permission to do something for yourself is all you need to light the fire under your bum. If you feel like you need permission, I am giving it to you right now. I am giving myself permission.
Fill your cups, mamas! And a special shout out to EMotD for encouraging me to keep my cup full.