I think every mom, at some point, has felt like they had nothing left to give. It's so easy to get weighed down by the endless round of household chores, meals, and needs of our children. Thoughts of self care are often set aside.
When I get to that point, I usually shut down completely. I find it difficult to do even the simplest of tasks and it seems like everything is spinning out of my control. Meal times come around far too frequently (I made dinner last night, I have to make it AGAIN tonight?). Laundry piles pile up and up. We start using plastic lids for plates and plastic containers for bowls.
Over the years I have learned some tips about self care that I try to implement every day to keep a balance in my life. When I don't do these things, I slowly feel myself edging to that brink where the whole world falls apart. I know that I MUST do anything I can to avoid that. If I fall apart, then my whole family falls apart too.
That's a big burden to place on one, very human, humans shoulders. But, that is what motherhood is all about. So without further ado, I will share some of the most helpful self care tips that have steered me clear when I have started down the dark path that leads to my home and family essential imploding (only a slight exaggeration).
Self Care Tips
Wake up earlier than kids
I know this might be hard for some people to hear. I used to be one of those people who heard this advice and I would roll my eyes. There was no way I was going to wake up any earlier than I had to! It seemed like a very bad idea.
And then, I suddenly had my hands full of four lively children with one (or more) children in my face and wanting my attention ALL. DAY. LONG. Then as soon as they were in bed I had a husband who wanted some attention. I discovered that I needed some time that was just for me. Not a long time, but a few minutes in the day to spend thinking uninterrupted and to hear . . . nothing.
So I started waking up a few minutes earlier than everyone else. I can't adequately describe the peace that I feel having those quiet moments in the morning to just be. If you have never tried this, I suggest that you do. It truly starts my day off right and I don't even miss the extra 20 minutes of sleep I might get if I slept in. Totally worth it!
Take a few minutes to reflect
I take the time to reflect first thing in the morning. I love to wake up and immediately read uplifting and positive messages and then to ponder and think about what I can do that day to improve my life and the lives of others around me.
If I am lucky, I will also have a chance to think as I move over laundry or do a load of dishes, but first thing in the morning is MY time to just think and to be. It makes the morning rush to get everyone out the door less chaotic and manageable.
I established a regular exercise routine before I became a mom. Once I became a mom, I was so glad that I had already begun a habit that would have so many positive benefits. I also wrote a post about how to exercise at home with little kids here.
Don't think you always need to go to the gym, or to even have a rigid exercise structure. I do think it's great to move around every day. There are so many positive benefits that come from putting our bodies in motion. Don't miss out on those benefits!
I suggest that you find something you enjoy doing and try to do that for a little while every day. I always feel so much happier when I take the time to exercise. The last few years, I have cut back the amount of time I spend exercising. I usually do a 4 minute HIIT workout and then about 15 minutes of yoga stretches or strengthening exercises.
I never yet have regretted the time I spend in self care each morning. I don't think you will regret it either!
I feel like there is a deep connection for our souls that can only be made when we spend time in nature. I get such a deep feeling of peace and gratitude when I take time to notice the world around me. It's one of the easiest ways to practice self care.
I don't think we need to spend lots of time outside (especially in the dead of winter! Brrrr). I do think it's important to take a moment each day to appreciate something that nature has to offer.
It's such a natural and simple way to bring balance to the soul. When we were looking for a house one of the top priorities for me was to have a home with beautiful views that would inspire and uplift me. Every day I look at the beauty surrounding me and feel a sense of love and appreciation.
Do something you love-every day
It's such a simple idea, yet it can be difficult to do. Ask yourself what you love to do. Not what you should do, what others want you to do or what you think you should do. What makes your heart thrill at the thought of doing it? What gets you excited for the coming day? What makes you happy?
That is what you should find time to do, every day. It doesn't always have to be the same thing, but it should be something that you do just because you want to and because you realize that self care should be a priority every day. Life is sweet when we take moments to be true to ourselves.
Take time to write down your thoughts on a regular basis
When I was younger, I wrote in a journal every single day. That doesn't work so much for me now. I do take time regularly to write things down. I once made a rule that really helped me to stay in the habit of writing things down.
I decided that any time I wanted to share something special on social media, that I could also take a moment to write about it in my journal. This rule I have benefits me in two ways. 1) it directs me to write in my journal when I have something I feel is worth sharing and 2) I make sure that whatever I am sharing is worth taking the time to write down twice!
There is something that happens with our thought process as we take the time to physically write something down with a pen and paper. We must be more conscious and deliberate in our efforts. It is truly something that helps me to sort through my thoughts and feelings in a way that nothing else does. As I am able to read over what I have written, it helps me to solidify what I need to do in my self care routine to maintain balance in my life. I am more intentional with my actions when I take the time to think through and then write it out.
Be in the moment instead of constantly running through the never ending to do list
This one is hard. Especially if you have multiple children vying for your attention at once. It's something I work on every single day.
I'm always sad when I get through a day, week or month and realize that I have been running on autopilot and don't really remember the little moments of interaction with the people I love.
I want to hold tight to those moments so that I can carry them close to my heart when I need to remember those feelings. I just can't do it if I don't take the opportunity to relax and focus on the moment.
Find a reason to laugh or smile
Again, this is a reminder that life is meant to be joyous. It's really easy to forget that if we don't make a conscious effort to bring laughter and happiness into our lives.
What makes you smile? What makes you want to laugh out loud? Try to incorporate that into every single day. I think it's easier to do this when we are doing things that we love to do. For me, that might mean throwing an impromptu dance party or singing at the top of my lungs. It might also mean acting really goofy and making my kids laugh because that makes me laugh. Think about what makes you laugh and smile.
Drink enough water
This may seem like a random tip thrown in with all the other ideas. For me, it's a basic part of self care. I get dehydrated so easily and then I'm no good to anyone. I try to carry my water bottle around with me when I am out and I leave a cup of water in the kitchen so I can drink some every time I pass by it.
So many things like fatigue, lack of energy, headaches etc. can be attributed to not drinking enough water. It's such a simple little habit to incorporate into your daily routine and it has so many positive benefits.
If you don't like the taste of water try adding lemon or lime slices to your drink. You can also put in cut up cucumbers or frozen berries. Get creative and find a way to enjoy water. Your body will thank you.
Nourish your body
I know this might seem so basic, but when you are running around taking care of little ones it is really easy to forget to eat! My solution for that is to keep healthy and easy foods around that I can snack on when I get a moment. No one wants to see me when I have gone too long without food.
I have a post about actual lunches I have made when I had five minutes or less. If you need something that you can literally drink as you travel from place to place, check out my go to smoothie recipe that packs a lot of nutrition right from the get go.
Find a way to genuinely touch someone else's life
It may seem counter intuitive to look for ways to help someone else when you are trying to take care of yourself, but hear me out.
You know the lyrics to the Tangled song "I See the Light" There is a part of that song where they sing "Now That I See You." I think about those lyrics all. the. time. That may sound strange, but if you think about it, when we take the time to really "see" someone, it truly is a life changing moment. To see them for more than just what's happening in the moment or how they look on the outside. It's a humbling and awe inspiring moment.
I truly think that when we take a moment to have one of those "seeing" moments with someone else, it blesses our lives so much.
It may be something as simple as noticing the people around you, holding a door, smiling, making eye contact, or generally acknowledging the people in the world around you, including the little ones that you might interact with every day. Take a moment to truly listen, see and understand them. It truly is one of the best ways to practice self care. It instills confidence and allows you the opportunity to see the good in yourself and others.
I don't expect that everyone will have the exact same list as me for habits that help you practice self care. My hope is that this list will get you thinking and inspire you to find ways to deliberately think about things that you can tweak in your daily life to make time to truly care for yourself. You are your own best advocate. Please share the ways that you practice self care and show me pictures of things that make you smile and laugh with the hashtag #peachtreedr