There’s so much information out there on the important things in motherhood that it can seem mind-boggling.
Where do you even start?
If self-care gives you this feeling (i.e. you’ve no idea what it is or how to do it) then read this post fully. It will help you.
Self-care is essential for your emotional health and to improve daily life.
Whether you’re a stay at home mum or work away from home mum, you need self-care.
I know, I know, time is tight (or non-existent) when you’re a parent.
A family member needs you, your kids need you, work needs you, husbands/partners need you… everyone needs YOU!
But what do you need? Have you ever asked yourself this?
In this post, I aim to demystify the talk on self-care, breaking it into small steps so you can start your own self-care plan.
Self Care Acts
Let’s start by covering what self-care is not.
Self-care is not about exuberant spa days, pamper sessions, or spending long hours relaxing in the bath with sparkly candles and lotions (nice as it would be)
The thing is, mums are busy, yet self-care is a necessity.
It needs to be part of your daily routine, so you can be the best parent, friend, person and partner you can be.
And there are simple ways to fit self-care practices into your day, which I’ll share in this post.
What is self-care?
The definition of self-care, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is, “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
This includes looking after your physical health (diet, exercise, weight etc), monitoring your social media intake, getting enough sleep, and fitting in joyful activities and hobbies as often as possible.
This is totally down to what you enjoy!
For me, joyful activities include reading, writing & journaling, playing with my children in the sunshine, exercise, mindfulness meditation, nice movies, baking cakes and coffee with friends and family.
Self-care, when I read this definition, can include anything that nourishes rather than depletes a woman.
Small acts of self-care could include choosing healthy and energising foods to eat? A healthy breakfast?
Maybe taking a hot shower in peace! Watching your favourite movie in the evening with your partner.
Closing your eyes for 30 seconds to ground yourself. Saying affirmations out loud.
A walk outside in the fresh air, or simply allowing yourself to sit with a cuppa (instead of vacuuming for the 10th time today). I see you mama!
Of course, acts of self care may require support from another to help watch over the children if you’re in the stage of motherhood with little ones to care for.
If this is you, then you’ll find answers to self-care in the next sections.
End of the day
A great way to fit in some self-care is to dedicate some time in the evening to yourself.
Even a small act of self-care can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Spending time curled up on the sofa with hot chocolate, for example. And if you feel you need space after a long day with the kids, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
If your toes curl at the thought of giving yourself some self-love, remind yourself that kids do sleep… eventually. And that means time for yourself.
The peace at night, when everyone else is in bed, is blissful. Why not run yourself a nice hot bath and sink in?
Try giving yourself an hour before bed without your phone too.
Avoiding the harsh light from your phone will help you sleep better, which will increase your energy levels for the next day.
If you’re naturally a morning person (lucky you!) then your early mornings are a great time for self care acts.
However, if you’re not a morning person, why not try making the most of the quiet time first thing?
Set your alarm an hour or so earlier than you normally get up. Use this time wisely to invest in yourself.
Perhaps take the dog for an early walk or start a journaling practise.
You can also use this time to prepare yourself mentally for the day ahead.
What do you have on your to-do list? Any appointments to make? Meals to cook? What can you prepare ahead?
I was never a good planning person before I became a mum, but now I live for my planner!
Positive self talk
When you look in the mirror, what does your mind say?
I bet it’s things like “God, look at those rolls. Just LOOK at those stretch marks!”
It’s time to change that narrative.
Your incredible body did a miracle act. You’ve nourished and birthed a baby.
So be gentle on your body and forgive yourself for not looking like a catwalk model.
My favourite self-care act is to go to the mirror three times a day and tell yourself how well you’re doing.
Tell yourself how proud you are of yourself.
Say “I love you!” or “I care about you!” in the mirror, because you darn well deserve to.
The more you do this, the more you’ll start to believe it, and belief is everything.
Grab the pram and go for a walk regardless of what the weather’s doing outside. That’s why we have raincoats!
There is simply no better time to get some headspace than a mid-day stroll.
Or, simply allow yourself to float away in nature by practising some mindfulness.
Really focus on the beauty of the trees, the noise of the wind, and the feeling of the air as you breathe in and out.
Even better, if you’ve got your partner at home to watch the baby, go for a walk on your own, listen to your favourite music or a motivational podcast.
Time out will do you a world of good.
Time with friends
Toddler groups and mummy meet ups are something I couldn’t live without.
I enjoy the feeling of my boys being entertained and happy, but equally, I use it as my time to bond and connect with women and close friends.
If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious or afraid to socialise, try starting small – just meet an old friend for a walk in the park and go from there.
It’s so easy to fall into the ‘mummy head’ when you’re alone at home with the kids, so go gentle on yourself, don’t force anything, take it easy and break into socialising gradually.
Sleep is underrated! We really can’t live without it.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll think you have to clean the house or tidy the toys as a priority?
You’ll be so determined not to sleep even if you can because there’s so much other stuff to do, right?
But what’s best for new mums is to sleep.
Sleep sleep sleep.
Of course, this may not be possible if other children are around or your little one needs caring for, but even a 2-minute nap here and there does wonders to help you to have a little more energy during the day.
Sleep is also paramount to preventing mental health challenges such as anxiety spikes and depression.
Doing What You Love
What activities do you love to do, that perhaps you’ve not done much since of being a Mum?
Some self-care ideas:
Knitting and craft-making?
A hot soak in some yummy smelling bubble bath and a face mask?
Learning a new language?
Days out and travelling?
Online courses and workshops?
Photography and design?
During your ‘me time’, make sure that you do more of what you love.
Don’t fall into the trap of flaking on the sofa and scrolling on your feed. By doing more of what you love, you’ll feel more like you, you’ll relax and chill, and feel more energised.
Just what you need to be a great YOU!
Fitting in self-care acts as a mum is essential to being a better parent and a better you.
Self-care means looking after yourself. When your cup is full, so are the cups of those around you (it’s an expression).
Remember, nothing ever happens the first or second time round – you probably won’t feel a lot of difference just doing some self-care for one day.
It’s the commitment to do things over a long period that will make a remarkable difference to how you feel.
By creating ‘me time’ amidst your day to day routine, you’ll really start to feel great.