When you’re chest deep in parenting, the concept of practicing self care can seem like an alien one. How do you find the time? Where do you find the energy? And what even is it?! Self care doesn’t have to mean spa days (although we wouldn’t say no, right ladies?!), it can be as easy as five minutes a day. Intrigued? Find out more about self care for busy mums.
What Does Self Care Even Mean?
A buzzword of modern times, the term self care now has a life of its own. Put simply, it’s the art of taking a little time to look after yourself, something us parents are awful at doing. Self care is all about re-investing in yourself, doing things that make you happy or relaxed and for no other purpose than to care for you and your mental well-being.
What Are The Benefits Of Self Care For Mums?
The benefits of self care are widespread. You know the saying – you can’t pour from an empty cup – well, that’s exactly this concept. By taking time to invest in yourself, you’re doing a number of things; namely de-stressing and validating your own self worth. The more you are able to put in to making yourself feel better or more cared for, the better both your mental and physical health will be. You feel calmer emotionally and you’re less likely to suffer the physical impacts of stress.
But Why Is Self Care So Important For Mums?
If your mental and physical well-being is in a better place, you’re more equipped to support your child. Why? The likelihood is that you’ll feel calmer, more rational and less likely to have an over emotional response to something, all things which can lead to feelings of guilt if they do happen. Thanks to the demands of children and other life pressures, parents are less likely to naturally have the periods of downtime to focus on themselves, making it even more important that they practice self care.
Does Self Care Mean Seeing A Therapist?
Self care doesn’t have to mean therapy but it can do. Therapy is a great support mechanism for people who need that extra bit of support. Maybe you’re struggling with self-identity or self-worth, perhaps your anxiety is increasing or you’re unsure how to handle daily stressors. A therapist can help you work through these thoughts and feelings and help you to create an action plan of how to take things forward. It’s taking the time to invest into yourself which is a form of self-care whilst helping you to do even more so going forward. One thing to note is that it’s important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with, so don’t be afraid to try more than one – if you’re in America you can find an extensive list of therapists here at BetterHelp.com.
How Can I Practice Self Care At Home?
As mentioned, self care doesn’t have to mean hours away from your kids at a health retreat. It’s a perfect idea but in reality pretty tricky to do on a regular basis. Instead there are plenty of ways that you can practice it at home in short periods of time, because lets face it… time alone is at a premium with kids around isn’t it?! The key is to finding things that you love that don’t take forever and give you a little reset.
Some of the simplest things are the best; go for a run, take an exercise class, try a yoga course on YouTube – exercise has the added benefit of releasing endorphins making you feel happier. Get up before the rabble and have ten minutes alone to drink a hot drink in peace. Take the time to cook yourself a nice meal from scratch – one of my favourites given that most of our family meals are thrown together amid thirty other jobs! Have a bath, light a candle, do a face mask. Listen to a podcast, read a book, go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Put down your phone, write down the list of things running through your head (this allows you to ‘park’ them), shut your eyes and breathe. This is a moment for you, just you. This is self-care!
Taking care of myself before my family makes me so guilty. But I think the saying ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ really is true, why is self care so hard to carry out?
I think it’s prioritising ourselves that is so tricky! You become so used to focussing on the needs of others and the running of a household etc that stopping that and putting yourself first is so hard. It’s a discipline to stop yourself and give yourself that time!