It’s Mother’s Day this month and so today we are advocating that moms everywhere give themselves a gift, the gift of self-care. Many moms might be uncomfortable with this idea. In fact, most moms tend to put the needs of their family in front of their own. But in order to give the best of yourself to your children and your family, it is important to take time to care for yourself as well.
To begin, it is important to have an understanding of what self-care actually means. According to psychologist Christine Meinecke, we have to remind ourselves that self-care is not self-pampering or self-indulgence. This means that while days at the spa and buying yourself a chocolatey treat are fun breaks from the day-to-day, they are not sufficient for wholistic self-care, and only serve to deal with stressors in the short-term, with no real mechanisms for the long-term.
Instead, Meinecke suggests that self-care “means choosing behaviours that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Also essential to self-care is learning to self-soothe or calm our physical and emotional distress.”
Self-care for Moms
The suggestion here is that self-care should not just be a fleeting moment of treating yourself, but rather, self-care should be about creating a lifestyle that involves incorporating your own needs and feelings into the everyday. With this definition in mind we turn to some suggestions for self-care strategies:
1. Get your body moving
Like Meinecke suggested, exercise can be an important way to engage in self-care. Making exercise a regular part of your routine can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. The key to successful self0-care through exercise is finding an activity that motivates you to do it consistently and that you enjoy!
2. Feed your body well
Healthy foods lead to a healthy brain. It is really that simple. A well-rounded diet can be energizing and helps you model taking care of one’s self to your children.
3. Get connected
Build a support network and use that support network when you need it. Even if that means just grabbing a quick coffee with a friend. Humans are social, and moms are allowed to be social too!
4. Put your healthcare on the calendar
As moms, we are often focused on making sure the children are up to date on all their healthcare needs such as visiting the dentist and having regular check-ups. Make sure you do the same for yourself. Book it and write it down.
5. Make sleep a priority
Chronic lack of sleep can have adverse health effects. Don’t get too caught up in the mentality that you have to do everything now. If you are tired, that is valid, sleeping isn’t being lazy, it is necessary for taking care of yourself, and waking up feeling refreshed helps you to be more productive the next day.
6. Stay connected to yourself
Remember that you had an identity before you became a mom and you can have one as a mom too. Pursue your hobbies, creative endeavours, and interests. Being a mother doesn’t mean trading in your personality to care for your children, it means sharing yourself with your family and loved ones in ways you haven’t before. Maybe you’ll find that some of your interests will also be your children’s and they may even turn into things you can do together because self-care isn’t about time away from it all, it’s about managing your time and your emotions in positive ways.
Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/everybody-marries-the-wrong-person/201006/self-care-in-toxic-world and https://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/6-simple-self-care-ideas-for-busy-moms/