Great advice! Self-care is crucial!
by Stefanie Masterson |guest writer for The Snap Mom
Let’s face it, we live in a time where life is not slowing down. The demands and responsibilities we face are now expected to happen at a rapid pace. I know first-hand how tough this can be and then to add children in the mix can be… well, somewhat overwhelming. Through my studies and life experience I have also learned that self-care, mental health, and physical health are all deeply connected. I am the type of person who always finds myself busy. I worked full-time to put myself through college,then, as a single mom, worked full-time to put myself through graduate school, then had child number two, and am still working full-time while working on a second graduate degree. With my second child I only took 6 weeks of maternity leave since I am a manager and it is hard to run things from home. When I came back I realized after a few weeks it was just too much (someone either at work or home was always demanding something of me). I then decided to take a day off each week to spend more time with my little guy. I also realized, like after my last pregnancy, that self-care and getting my body and mind back to optimal health were so very important.
So I decided to take one day off specifically just for me.
Below are the results. I started this day waking up at 4 and working out at 5 since that is engrained into my normal routine. I put my daughter in school and had a relative watch my son. I took a nice hot shower alone, and went for a nice long back massage after. I went and got my eyebrows done and did some makeup shopping alone! I took a nice long walk in the park and had the time to reflect on life and talk with God. Yes, it was only 8 hours but it was 8 hours I got to spend time with myself and feel rejuvenated. Did I feel guilty at first? Yes! Did I miss my kids? Yes! Did I worry about work? Yes. Those things will never go away, but finding the time to incorporate self-care into your life is oh-so-needed in helping you have the mental strength to balance out all these important tasks. If we are not at our best, then it is hard to give others our best! I know, I know, “Easier said than done,” right? Below are a few ways I incorporate self-care into my daily routine that almost anyone can do!
I try to workout several days a week. My workout of choice is crossfit, but I enjoy spin classes, yoga, and regular weightlifting as well. The cool thing about exercise is that there are so many different types you can do. If you find something you love you will be more likely to stick with it. Can’t leave the house because of kids or money? Buy a few cheap yoga DVDs and have the kids workout with you. (My daughter thinks yoga with mommy is a blast.) You could also go for a walk. Some of my favorite bonding moments with my daughter when she was a baby are when we were both absolutely silent walking through the park, enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking it all in.
Your body is a machine and will run by what you fuel it with. If you want a fast Ferrari, you’re not going to put the cheap gas in it, correct? There are lots of natural supplements and what I call “lifestyle choices” (I’m not fond of the word diet) that can help you achieve optimal physical and mental clarity. Many of the processed foods we eat today have antibiotics and hormones in them that can greatly alter your mood. After both of my children and I experienced anxiety, I began a regimen of probiotics, vitamins, and a paleo diet. Within a few weeks I felt the difference! Less anxiety and more energy were just a few of the things I noticed that changed!
I know that word sounds foreign to most moms. We are still working on getting my 5-month-old on a good schedule. However, if you have the opportunity to sleep, do it! This may mean letting Grandma or Dad or another family member take the baby for a night, but boy does it make a difference! Getting a good night’s sleep helps brain function, body function, and even promotes weight loss. As a mother of two, I know this can be hard. However, once the kids go to sleep I go to sleep. Call it a family bedtime, if you will. Again, this is just a suggestion and may not work for everyone all the time (my son was colicky and is often still up several times a night).
The above are just suggestions and things that I have found to help me be successful. The good thing about taking care of yourself is that you have a personal relationship with yourself and you know what you enjoy the best and even involve your children if you have to. When I was doing therapy at work, I saw some people come up with really creative ideas. You can do many other things for self-care including sewing, baking, adult coloring books( these are seriously amazing), volunteering, scheduling a regular mani/pedi, giving yourself a regular mani/pedi, setting up your own at home spa day, reading a good book, talking with God, meditating, scheduling a girls’ night, or even taking an entire day for yourself to do multiple of these! Whatever you choose, make the time for yourself – you won’t regret it!
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