By Taryn Lagonigro
One of our themes over here at Extra Lucky Moms is self-care. You heard me talk a little bit about my why for making time for self-care in my meditation blog. But really, what, why and how do we get self-care in realistic ways? Why do we need self-care, and how do we feel free to make that time for ourselves?
Unfortunately, many times “self-care” goes hand in hand with “mom guilt.” Many of us mamas feel like if we are taking time away from our kids to do something for ourselves, we are doing something wrong. But practicing self-care does not mean that you are choosing yourself over your kids. It means that you are being mindful of what your own needs are to be able to best support those who need you.
Often people think that self-care means an hour-long Swedish massage or a weekend away with your girlfriends, but that is not realistic for most of us on a regular basis. Self-care is any behavior that promotes your health and happiness. I try not to over-complicate that idea and focus more on simple things that are easier to incorporate into my life. Quite honestly, one of my favorite things is a hot cup of coffee with no interruptions, and I enjoy every sip! But here are some of the top ways to incorporate self-care into your life.
1) Regular sleeping routine – I know, I know, this one seems funny if you’re a mom of young kids, but this is more about the routine than the length of sleep. Try to get into a habit of going to bed at the same time and add some elements into your bedtime routine that will help you wind down. Just like kids do well with repetitive things before bedtime like story time or music, adults do too! Think about using a relaxing lotion, turning on a meditation, or reading for ten minutes before you turn the lights off. These simple things will quiet down your mind so you can maybe fall asleep faster and get some more quality sleep during the time you have.
2) Morning routine – again, another hard one with little ones, but this does not have to be complicated or extravagant either. Something as simple as getting up ten minutes early to enjoy your coffee in silence (and hot!) can help you start the day off on the right foot. If you have the time, adding in a short workout or taking time to organize the day while you are the only one awake can be a game changer. Mama often sets the tone for the whole house, so when you feel ready and relaxed for the day, everyone else might too!
3) Spending time in nature – the body and mind get rejuvenated when you spend some time in fresh air among nature. Maybe this is taking a short walk or just stepping out onto your patio and sitting for a few minutes. Think about observing things around you – sights, sounds, the feeling of the air – which is a nice way to bring yourself into the present moment and out of the chatter in your mind.
4) Finding hobbies for the body and the mind – sometimes these things go hand in hand. Maybe exercising helps your body AND your mind, but find something that you love to do! If you hate running but love lifting weights, do not force that cardio on yourself! Maybe take up reading or listening to a podcast while you are folding laundry…or maybe it’s going out for coffee or wine with a friend once a month. Schedule these things for yourself and show up for yourself! Make them non-negotiable habits in your life and talk to your support system about making sure they can happen.
5) Expressing gratitude – this is my personal favorite. Years ago, I committed to a gratitude practice and it changed the way I look at everything. A great way to start is leaving a notebook by your bed and jotting down three things at the end of the night (or the start of the day!) that you are grateful for. It is better when these are specific things. For example, instead of saying “I am grateful for my kids” maybe say “I am grateful that I really connected with my daughter today when we talked over dinner.” When you can hone in on what you are truly grateful for, you start to find gratitude in almost any situation.
Stay in touch and let us know what works for you as far as self-care. We would love to hear your tips too!
And cheers, mama! You deserve that hot coffee.
P.S. Love this mug? It's from The Potters Clay!