What is Self-care and Why you Need it as a Mom: Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms
Have you ever heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”?
Well, it’s true. Have you ever seen a toddler get super angry because their sippy cup is gone and they can’t understand why it doesn’t refill by simply thinking it should!
We can’t expect to give and give and say yes and yes all the time and not expect to run out of fuel.
A big part of our happiness comes from taking care of ourselves in all aspects. That includes our physical, emotional, and mental well being. In order to create our own happiness, we must make time for our self-care.
For the longest time, I felt guilty for taking any “me time”. I felt like I should be able to just give and give to my little girl and that THAT should fulfill me! And if it didn’t, I was doing something wrong, or I wasn’t loving her enough.
This gave me anxiety and then I started to resent her for it. It was an endless cycle.
This is healthy for NO ONE!
Usually, if I don’t take time for me, my anxiety builds and builds until I lash out or become depressed.
It took me a while to realize that It’s okay to take “me time”. And that didn’t mean I loved my little girl any less.
And here’s why:
It increases your productivity. Studies have shown that when you’re able to take time for you and just relax, that you are able to actually give more later on.
Improves your immune system. You are more prone to sickness when your exhausted and aren’t taking care of yourself. Taking proper steps to take care of yourself reduces your chances of sickness.
Increases self-awareness. “me time” is a good time to reflect on yourself. Think about goals you want to accomplish, how you can be a better person, and work on how you can improve your positive thinking.
You can give more. If your bucket is filled, you can fill other’s buckets. This especially includes your children. Don’t give them the exhausted and grumpy mom, give them the energized mom.
Improves your self-esteem. When we take care of ourselves, we feel good about ourselves. There is a total difference in my attitude when I’m dressed like a slob than when I get myself ready for the day.
DO NOT feel guilty when you want or need to take some “me time”. It’s healthy and it’s not just for you. It’s also for your kids. You’re a better mom when you’re able to give yourself the time YOU need.
Plus, Self-care doesn’t count if you’re just feeling guilty the whole time.
What is self-care?
Wikipedia defines self-care as any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.
Self care can be anything from showering to nourishing your soul.
There is a difference between self-care and selfishness. A lot of the time you may not want to take time for yourself because you think you’re being selfish. I know this was one of my reasons. Maybe if you know the difference, it can help you come to terms with your own self-care.
You can tell the difference between the two by the characteristic and result of the act.
The results of Selfishness include:
-Selfishness can be out of an attitude of taking away from others to improve yourself.
-Selfishness brings out your worst qualities.
-Selfishness is a ME ONLY attitude.
-Selfishness is also the attitude of give me, give me, give me, and never being satisfied, or never having enough.
The results of Self-Care Include:
-Self care is replenishing yourself so you can give to your kids or others.
-Self care brings out the BEST in you.
-Self Care is about balance, and finding the right time to do it while taking your children and others into consideration. (You ain’t going to leave your kids hanging).
-Self-care is about loving yourself and taking the time to improve yourself.
For Example: A big part of self-care is taking the time to shower, which can be difficult as a mom. But are you selfish for taking a shower? No! It benefits your well being as well as the people around you! :).
It’s the same with self-care. It’s necessary to become the best you for your kids!
Basically, self-care is doing something that can nourish your body, brighten your mood, and is something you enjoy doing for the benefit of your own personal growth and for the people around you.
You’d be crazy NOT to do it!
How do I make time for self-care?
Make self-care a part of your daily routine. Schedule it just like you have to schedule everything else. And if you aren’t okay with every day, then make it a weekly thing.
Talk about your need for self-care with your significant other. Sometimes they don’t understand where you are coming from. Make sure you’re both on the same page, so it’s easier to schedule it in. And trade off. Make sure he/she is getting their self-care as well. If you’re a single parent, find a friend who you can schedule to watch the kids. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Be okay with not doing everything.
DON’T get stuck on the things that you think you HAVE to be done. Like cleaning the house every second. It’s okay to let things go every once in a while, if you need to. The best key to this is being organized by keeping a schedule and routine so you don’t get overwhelmed by everything you have to do.
Don’t think you HAVE to be busy
In the world today I think a lot of people get stuck in the mindset that they HAVE to be busy to be successful. And this just isn’t the case. Don’t stretch yourself thin. It’s okay to say no.
Make it a priority.
If you’re so busy that you can’t schedule it, get creative. Squeeze it in throughout your day. You can do it, if you decide to make it a priority. You’d be surprised what the little things you can fit in your day.
Self-care Ideas and tips and tricks
If you’re busy
Take a long shower.
Showering is important, we all know that. I know as a mom I don’t shower everyday (yes, I said it). But when I do, sometimes I put on a show for the kids and I take a 20 minute shower. And I just relax and think. It’s simple, it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it’s something you’re doing anyway.
Make a Goal List.
You might have more time than you think in a day, if you prioritize your time right. Make a list of things you can change or do to put in some “me time”. Maybe it’s not being on your phone before you go to bed at night, use that time for some self-care. Maybe it’s giving up something in your day that you don’t really need or want like attending a group activity or play date. Maybe it’s saying no to favors every once in a while. This is why it’s important to schedule it. If something comes up during your planned self-care time, it’s okay to say no.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Be kind to yourself. Try to get to bed early, so you can wake up fully rested. I know this is hard if you have a newborn, but try to remember to get the rest you need. REALLY sleep when the baby does. The house can wait.
Drink lots of water and try to eat healthy.
Change one thing about your diet, if you need to. Like drinking more water or cutting back on your sugar intake. Being healthy has several benefits on our bodies.
Go on a walk. Even if you have to take the kids. I know sometimes this isn’t always self-care, especially if they’re cranky, but try it and see if it helps. I use to take my kids on a walk and call my mom or a friend. They were happy and I was getting a “break”.
Take 5, go in your room, shut the door and stretch. Stretching is good for the body and the soul. Or, if you work, take a 5 minute break, leave the office and walk or stretch.
Take a minute to laugh.
There are some funny people out there. Find someone on YouTube or Facebook to follow who just brightens your day. A laugh can change your whole attitude and demeanor.
Don’t Make Dinner.
Replace making dinner one night with some self-care, order in. Pick up a pizza. Use the time you would have spent to make dinner doing some self-care.
Dance party! Turn on some music and just move. This is also something that you can include the kids in. They love it and their happiness generally creates your happiness.
Wake up early.
Decide to wake up 30 minutes earlier to fit in some reading, journaling, or giving yourself more time to get ready for the day.
Another great stretching and relaxing activity.
Pick 3 things out of your closest you can get rid of, or get rid of some dishes you aren’t using anymore. You’d be surprised how good it feels to get rid of just stuff you don’t use.
3:00 PM Snack.
Lock yourself in your pantry for 10 minutes to eat your 3:00 chocolate snack in piece. I used to do this everyday at 3:00 and I looked forward to it. (I mean don’t literally have to lock yourself in your pantry, but there are those days!).
Go on a social media fast.
Go off social media for a few days or a week. Use that time you would have spent on your phone or computer for some self-care time.
Do something you don’t usually do one day.
Go out of your comfort zone.
Do something uncomfortable. It builds confidence and feelings of accomplishment. Maybe this is calling someone you haven’t spoke to in a while, or passing out compliments at the grocery store.
Take some time for a mini meditation session. Take 10 minutes to clear your mind and think.
Communicate your needs.
Talk to someone close to you about how you’re feeling, your needs, and what your goals are.
If you’ve got some time:
Take some extra time to declutter and clean out your whole closet or pantry.
Go get a massage.
Go get a manicure and pedicure.
Movie by yourself.
Go to a movie by yourself.
Buy yourself something.
Go shopping and buy yourself something nice.
Take some time to volunteer at a local nursing home, or food bank. You’d be surprised how this lifts your spirit and makes you feel happier.
Take some time to workout.
Go to a museum by yourself.
Get lost in music.
Take a nap.
Make a home spa day. Take a bath, shave your legs, lotion up, deep condition your hair.
Take a longer time to meditate.
Read a book.
Read a good uplifting book.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a big lavish thing. It’s just taking time for you to enjoy you and improve. The secret is in the little things everyday.
You can’t just say “I don’t have time” because you don’t have time to NOT have time.
What are some of your self-care ideas?