Mums are nurturing, generous and loving – it’s our job to be. But while we’re busy looking after everybody else, it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves.
This Mother’s Day – after breakfast in bed – I will be giving myself a present: ‘me time’. Actually, ‘me time’ is something I give myself every day, not just on the one day a year when we celebrate mothers.
As Mums, we need ‘me time’ to create balance in our lives.
To balance out the time and energy we spend on caring for others, by caring for ourselves.
Sometimes, giving ourselves time for pampering or relaxation seems completely out of reach. It is easier to put our children’s needs ahead of our own, in order to make our days run more smoothly. I’ve been guilty of this many times – making breakfast for the kids and rushing out the door without feeding myself; relying on an endless supply of coffee for energy when I’ve been up most of the night with the baby; and generally just putting my needs and wants after everyone else’s.
Practicing ‘me time’ and self-care makes a major difference in my approach to parenting and my overall happiness and wellbeing. I believe that all mums – that’s YOU! – deserve to spend time every day taking care of themselves – mind, body and spirit.
And giving back to yourself actually has a flow-on effect to the rest of your life. If your self-care cup is filled, you will be a calmer, happier and more patient parent.
What is self-care?
Self-care is simply taking the time to look after yourself.
Self-care practices can be simple, like giving yourself enough time to do your makeup in the morning, or they can be more luxurious, like taking a long, hot bath to relax at the end of the day.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, as long as the intention behind the activity is to care for yourself. Making yourself to go for a 5km run when you just hate running, will not feel very loving or generous, no matter how beneficial it is for your fitness. Instead, try to find a type of exercise that you love, that makes you feel nurtured and supported, and do that instead.
If you want to eat healthy, nutritious food, but you just despise the taste of kale, don’t pressure yourself to eat it. There’s nothing healthy about gagging on a green smoothie!
Sometimes self-care means vegging out on the couch in my PJs, binge-watching Orange Is The New Black. The important thing is that it feels nurturing and it helps me to recharge and renew.
Choosing how to take care of yourself is a personal decision, but whatever you choose will make an enormous difference to your mental and physical wellbeing.
What self-care practices do I use?
After the birth of my second baby, my wonderful psychologist suggested that I should spend some time everyday just looking after me.
The idea of setting aside time for me was both scary and exhilarating. I experienced great resistance, mostly because I was depressed and my thinking was negatively skewed. I felt guilty for taking time out, and I told myself that I wasn’t worthy of this ‘special treatment’.
So I started slowly.
I began by making my daily shower more like a luxurious ritual. I would light a candle, play some relaxing music, have a long shower, and spray some of my favourite perfume. It was easy to do (I was going to shower anyway!), and it didn’t take much extra time.
But it left me feeling pampered, renewed and refreshed. Since then, I have slowly incorporated different self-care rituals into my daily life.
I now include healthy eating, exercise, adequate sleep and relaxation activities as pivotal parts of my self-care routine. When I eat better, I feel better. I have more energy, and my confidence grows. When I take time for exercise, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, like I can take on the world. When I allow myself to participate in the activities that I love, I am showing myself, and my family, that my needs matter too.
It isn’t about being perfect, or stressing over calories or the number on the scales. Looking after myself is now all about being kind to myself, giving myself time and space to relax, and to giving myself the opportunity to experience joy, satisfaction and fun every day – not just on Mother’s Day!
So this weekend, please give yourself some ‘me time’, and encourage other Mums to give themselves the present of self-care – today, and every day.
What self-care practices do you include?
What activities would you like to start including?
Please leave me a comment below!