By Tammy Woeppel
One of the BIGGEST challenges that moms face is finding time for self-care. I can't count how many times I have heard something along the lines of "I haven't even eaten anything today because...xyz" from various friends in my circle. Part of it is all the 'stuff' that needs to get done in any given day, creating a feeling of running from one thing to another, but part of it is also not recognizing that we can only give what we have. There's no way around it; people who don't find ways to carve out time for themselves will eventually hit a breaking point, and mom's in particular are extremely susceptible.
I recently started following fellow Hey Mama member Tina Marie Clark and something she pointed out in a recent interview was so simple yet so symbolic of how we need to shift our mindset when we become moms:
"they don't tell you this on an airplane for nothing...secure your own mask first, before helping others.” Well, amen sistah!
Read on to see a roundup of ideas that any mom will be able to incorporate into their daily/weekly/monthly routine with minimal time/budget, starting from easiest to the most complex. These may seem redundant and obvious, but just because we KNOW we should do something doesn't mean that we always do it, and sometimes these things just need to be reiterated.
1. Drink More Water
It's surprising how difficult it can be to get our daily recommended intake of water (after all, I need to get in about 4 cups of coffee before I can even think about making the switch). Obviously, water is life, so create a goal like refilling your S'well bottles 4x/day.
2. Light a Candle
Aromatherapy is a powerful thing and can really create a vibe. I had never thought about the deeper psychology behind what a candle represents until I saw this video from the Keap Candle founders. Creating a ritual around lighting a candle makes it more meaningful and is truly is a conscious choice to be done with everything that came before: all the smells, moments, and stress.
Ok, hear me out on this one. This does not mean that you need to find an ashram, or devote an entire room to your practice, or be a new age tree-hugger. It can be as simple as attending yoga class as most, if not all, begin/end with a meditation. I became a believer during my 2nd pregnancy when I began to practice hypnobirthing techniques. Relying on the power of breathing (which I learned on Youtube, btw) I went my entire labor and delivery without any pain until the final 15 minutes. Powerful stuff! After a stressful day, I'll often throw on a guided meditation for sleep and even my husband finds it beneficial. I would say on average we make it through about 10 minutes before we both fall asleep. We keep it really simple and brief but the point is that any amount can have a postive impact on a person's overall well-being.
4. Go To Bed Earlier
For being such a simple concept, this is something that I've really struggled with in the past and only recently became more disciplined about. It's so easy, especially with all the screens and social media, to suddenly realize that a quick 2 minute Facebook check has somehow turned into 2 hours. Just like committing to an exercise routine, or maintaining a blog, it requires will, intention, and discipline to follow-through but eventually becomes a habit and therefore, easier to stick with.
5. Read a Book
If you're in need of a good book recommendation, I always find the Skimm Reads full of really intriguing choices.
6. Apply a Facial mask
Be it an indulgent spa-quality formula, an easy bentonite clay/vinegar mixture, a homemade avocado concoction, or a pre-soaked kbeauty sheet mask, you can easily apply it and proceed to catch up on your latest Netflix guilty pleasure.
7. Take a Bath
8. Buy Grocery Store/Farmer's Market Flowers
Having fresh flowers in the house feels like such an indulgence, but definitely doesn't have to come with that luxury price tag. Hydrangeas are so voluminous that you only need a few blooms (and they grow in most places, so plant your own to clip during summer months!). You can also pick an inexpensive flower such as a carnation but in a large quantity to make more of an impact. If you want to make an investment, companies like Melissa Andre or Venus et Fleur offer pricey arrangements, but they last for up to a year so it's an easy way to have low-maintenance florals year-round.
9. Schedule a Hair Appointment
There is nothing like the luxury of having a great blow-out to make you feel like a new woman!
10. Listen to a Podcast/Book on Audio While Commuting or Running Errands
Use your time stuck in the car to feed your soul with an audio book or podcast that really captures your attention and makes the most of your daily commute. Having wellness and motherhood on my mind so much, I have been listening to Kimberly Snyder and Birthful, but there are so many others that come highly-recommended with a variety of topics for everyone.
11. Go To Sephora
Something about a fresh tube of lipstick or a shimmery new eyeshadow provides such a little pick-me-up. Get a make-over while you're there to see what new products deserve to end up in your arsenal.
12. Call a Friend/Make Time for Adult Conversation
We may love our spouses and families, but there is just something about having adult interactions with the people we choose to spend our time with. Try to dedicate a chunk of time so you are not constantly interrupted by your little ones.
13. Find the "Thing" That Makes You Feel Like Your Pre-mom Self
For some people, it's putting on those stiletto heels to go out to dinner. For others, it's getting their brows and eyelashes did. I always have fun with my nail art. Whatever it is that makes you feel like you again, just do it.
14. Do A Girls Trip/Weekend/Overnighter
Obviously, this one may not be realistic for everyone, but if you are able to get a girls trip on the books, it is SO worthwhile. Get creative- it can be within driving distance, or a short flight (I find that psychologically, I am much more calm about leaving my children if I know that they are a short commute away). Whether you need a weekend away to drink all the wine or you just want to sleep 8 consecutive hours, it is so valuable in giving you the opportunity to:
b) appreciate your family
c) actually miss them!
15. When All Else Fails, Drink Wine!