As a therapist and as a mom, people often ask me what I do for self-care and honestly there are seasons in my life where self care doesn’t exist. I have to be intentional about incorporating self-care into my life and make it a priority instead of fitting it in if there is any time left in my day. There are so many other people and commitments in my life that come first before my own needs like my husband, my children, my housework, and my job. The list can go on and on, can you relate? As much as this is the reality and truth of many moms, dads, and caregivers alike, it is not the most acceptable for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. To be the best partner/spouse, the best parent, and the best human being you can be, you have to take care of you first. I know firsthand that it isn’t as easy as it seems, and it takes effort and intentionality, but it is possible and it will change your life for the better.
You say there is no time? Well I came up with some quick, easy ways for you to take care of you without any excuses. You don’t have to do any of these every single day, just be mindful to do one or two (gasp!) at least once a week. By carving out time in our day for these self care practices, you will find your energy increase, your anxiety decrease, your productivity rise, and your sluggishness disappear. Good luck and find a partner/friend to keep you accountable!
- Take a Walk – Whether you are a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, walk as much as you can throughout your day. Get fresh air. Get exercise (without your brain actually thinking its getting exercise). If you work outside of the home, park your car further away from the entrance, walk the stairs instead of the elevator, and eat your meals outside (as much as you can with the changing time change and weather changes). If you are at home full time, organize your day in advance and make sure to plan for a daily walk around the block, to the park, or to a restaurant for lunch (if you live close enough to one). The fresh air and the exercise you’ll be getting will benefit you and your children, divide your day into segments, and you’ll be left feeling refreshed and energized to take on the rest of your daily commitments. The walk doesn’t have to be long, even a 10 minute walk will suffice.
- Go to Bed When Your Kids Go to Bed – Of course this is in reason. If your children go to bed before 7pm, I wouldn’t suggest this, but if your children go to bed anytime between 8pm-9pm, go to bed at the same time once a week. The good part about this self care practice is that you will either catch up on much needed rest and get up to 12 hours of sleep (which I guarantee you are not getting now) or you will rise early in the morning before anyone else is awake and have some quiet time to yourself until your family wakes up).
- Set Your Alarm – For years now my child has been my alarm clock. And now that I work from home I often wake up when she wakes up. I have the most energy in the morning and there is something so peaceful about being awake early in the morning before anyone else is awake. So once a week set your alarm to wake up two hours earlier than anyone else and spend that time however you please. You can curl up with a book, drink your coffee hot and without interruption, take a bath, go for a walk/run, or anything else that is special and peaceful and just for you!
- Take Intentional Rest Breaks – Throughout your day take intentional breaks. If you work outside the home, take breaks throughout your day (as much as your employer allows) to step away from your stressful and redundant workload and do something that clears your mind. This can be walking outside to grab a coffee, finding a quiet table to read a chapter of a book, etc. You get the idea. If you are at home, chop your day into two hour segments. Make breakfast, do a craft, and the dishes and then take a 15-30 minute break. Lay on the couch, take a television break, or go on a walk. Then you can dive into the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. before taking your next break. Do these mini breaks throughout your day and you will see a big difference in your energy, productivity, and stress levels.
- Gift Yourself a Date – Start this self-care practice once a month and then hopefully increase it to once a week (if you’re lucky, you may aim eventually for once a day) where you plan childcare one way or the other and you take a YOU break. Take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, go see a movie, buy a new shirt, etc. Your dates can take place during the day or the evening and during the week or on the weekend. These dates are just for you and do not include friends or partners/spouses (that’s a whole other blog). Your dates don’t have to be long, maybe even an hour to a few hours and you don’t even have to leave the house. If you don’t leave the house you still need childcare so you can focus on just you during this time. I would also recommend that you do not schedule your date during your child’s nap time as they may wake up early and cut your time short or might take your focus away from you somehow. To be honest, this one works best when you leave your home so there are fewer distractions.
Good luck and if you have any other ideas on how you self-care on a budget (time and money) as a mom, please let me know!!!
I also want to talk about Ava & Snow because they make products that will make you feel like you are doing self-care everyday just by incorporating them into your life and daily routine. What I love about the shop is that the owner, Danie Vasquez, raises goats with her husband and makes her own milk, cheese, and soaps. I first found Ava & Snow on Instagram because they were a local small shop that made handmade items that just looked yummy enough to eat like goat soap, lavender eye pillows, soy candles, balm, and lavender sachets. You can even find washcloths and soap decks! The shop has 21 different soaps in their Etsy shop and my favorites are the Milk and Honey Goat’s Milk Soap, the Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap, and Jasmine and Rose Goat’s Milk Soap. There are over 40 items in the shop so there is something for everyone! She even takes custom orders. To shop, follow this link https://www.etsy.com/shop/AvaAndSnowGoatSoap
As I said, I had been an admirer of this small shop from a far for quite some time and finally had the opportunity to meet the shop owner last week at the Hello Sunrise Market http://hellosunrisemarket.com The owner is so humble and kind and was more than willing to collaborate with me and provide a grab bag of her handmade items for one lucky winner to try! Please see giveaway and enter to win on my Instagram account @theparentologist or by clicking on this link https://www.instagram.com/theparentologist/?hl=en Please also follow Ava & Snow on Instagram for sales, coupon codes, updates, new products, and more by following this link https://www.instagram.com/avaandsnowgoatsoap/
Good luck and have fun caring for yourself!