Motherhood… it is the most rewarding job I have but it is also a job that will take every inch of my energy some days. We pour so much into our children and families, it’s no wonder we are exhausted. Over the years, I’ve learned that taking time to “recharge” is mandatory. As mothers, we have to be very careful not to run on empty for too long because it can affect everyone in our household. Remember the old saying, “if momma ain’t happy…ain’t nobody happy?” There’s truth in that. Our loved ones depend on us for so much. We are the counselors, nurses, psychologists, the chefs, the drivers, the housekeepers, the CEO’s of our homes and so much more. We are the glue that hold our families together. That’s a pretty busy job that requires us to constantly pour into the lives of others. When do you take time to refill your cup? I’ve learned over the years that I can only be the best mom I can be when my cup is full. When I’m full emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, I can pour the best of myself into the ones I love. When I’m running on empty, everyone around me suffers.
But I’m always busy? How do I find the time?
Time can be our greatest enemy. We run around with to-do lists and overscheduled calendars and by the time we are able to rest, we fall asleep only to get back on the “hamster wheel” and start running again. Going to sleep isn’t enough. As mothers, we have to take time to replenish our spirits and cleanse our mental space. I actually include my self-care practices to my daily schedule. It ensures that I will do something just for myself every single day. Most days I look at it as a special reward just for me because I had an “awesome mommy day”. Other days, it’s my relief from those days when “motherhood was stressing me out”. Some days, I may only have the energy for a nice detox bath after my kids have gone to sleep. On other days, I make time to read a book for at least 30 minutes. You have to look at your day and schedule and decide what you want to do and when to schedule it. You are your most important appointment so you should never skip it. You matter in the lives of too many people to take your self-care lightly. Find your time and commit to it.
I have a list of 10 things I like to do that don’t require much time but give me those necessary moments needed to refresh and recharge.
1. DETOX BATHS
I spoke about this in my #SelfCareSunday Post a couple of days ago. This is my alone time after my kids are asleep and on those days where I don’t want to think about anything. I just want to zone out. Detox Baths help clear my head, relax my body and prepare me for a night of uninterrupted sleep. Just 30-45 minutes before you go to bed.
How often do you check your social media? As much as I love social media as a means to keep up with friends, family and loved ones, social media can have some negative effects. The imagery, some of the topics of conversation and the overall distraction it causes can be overwhelming. I unplug for a certain amount of time each day and focus on “real life”. I don’t have to respond to every update or check the trending topics several times a day. Sometimes unplugging allows you to experience real life without the distractions.
It sounds so simple but it’s difficult to read books nowadays. I remember a time when I could finish a book in two days. I’m an avid reader who loves books so I buy them constantly. I have a shelf full of books, “I’m going to read soon”. I try to read a chapter of a book every day but I'm not always able to. Sometimesinstead of running errands on my lunch break, I go somewhere and read. If I’m not up too late taking care of things at home, I end my night reading. I may not get to read every night but I definitely try to make time a few times during the week. You could try your lunch breaks if you work or nap time if you stay at home. Reading gives me a moment to get lost in someone else’s world.
4. KEEP A JOURNAL
I’ve kept a journal since I was younger. Journaling my thoughts has always been a personal release for me. There are days when I feel so many emotions over the course of a day. Journaling allows me a personal and private safe space where I’m free to express anything that I’m feeling. I consider it a purging. I journal my feelings, thoughts, and dreams daily. Sometimes it’s just a recap of my day. Journaling is whatever I want it to be. It also has proven emotional benefits as well. According to Psychcentral, journaling helps you to clarify your thoughts and feelings, know yourself better, reduce stress, solve problems more effectively and resolve disagreements with others. I highly recommend 10-30 minutes a day of journaling.
5. COLOR IT AWAY!
This is something I recently discovered after a friend gave me one as a gift. These adult coloring books are fun, relieve stress and are good for relaxation. There is something for every mood. I’ve become partial to the adult swear words coloring book. If I want to get out my angst and laugh a bit, I spend time coloring. It sounds strange but it’s calming! LOL! It’s a great way to relax and pass the time.
6. AT HOME SPA DAY
I speak frequently about taking a day of self-care. My self-care days are usually Sunday’s. I take the day to pamper myself. It’s something I schedule in my calendar and look forward to after a busy week and equally busy weekend. I'll wash my hair, give myself a facial, and take a long detox bath. I'll catch up on TV shows I love, eat something I love, enjoy great wine and spend the day resting and gearing up for the week. Sunday's are "mommy days". These at home spa days aren’t expensive as there are plenty of items you can use that you have at home already. If you don’t, they are fairly inexpensive to purchase. Google some at home facial masks and detox bath recipes or check out my favorite here!
7. TREAT YOURSELF
You are a busy mom who works hard every day for your family. You deserve moments to just treat yourself with something decadent. For me those items would be something sweet and a great wine! I'm partial to wine from Coopers Hawk (Romance Red is my favorite) and a Delicious cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. It’s a sweet treat for an overworked mom!
8. GET CUTE!
They say, when you look good, you feel good. I tend to believe this is true. There are days when I’m so busy running my kids around to their various activities looking a mess. I tend to dress very down on those days. When I take a little extra time to put on a little makeup or wear my hair down instead of the messy bun, I feel like the “got it together” mom (or at least I look the part…LOL). I’ve found ways to dress casual and comfortable but still look put together at my kids sporting events and activities.
9. LINK UP WITH YOUR "TRIBE"
Mom’s need those safe spaces. Women who just get it. I’m grateful to have a group of women who understand the demands of motherhood. I don’t have to explain it because they get it. Whether it’s a phone call, a quick lunch meet-up or a regular monthly dinner outing, it is important to reach out and connect with women who share similar experiences. On the days when you think you are the only one dealing with the craziness that motherhood brings, you will find yourself a part of a community who will help you navigate through it.
10. CREATE A PERSONAL RETREAT SPACE
Is your home a zoo full of people asking you for something all the time? Do you find yourself hiding in the bathroom just for a few moments of solitude? I don’t know a mom who doesn’t crave a space just for herself. I’m a single mom so my sanctuary space is my bedroom. If you are married, perhaps you can turn an extra room or office into your sanctuary. Find a place in your house and make it off limits. This is mommy’s space. Put things in it that bring you joy and peace and take moments in that space when you need it. Make sure your family knows it too! I think of it as the “time out” room when mommy needs a break.
These are just a few of my personal self-care tips that help me on my journey in motherhood. It’s an adventure raising children and nurturing families. It’s a job that I love but I also recognize that it’s ok to want space and solitude every now and then. Taking care of myself is an act of love and nothing I should feel guilty about. When I take care of myself, I’m better to everyone else around me!
What are some self-care tips you practice?
Until next time,
Take care of yourself and one another