In this self-care blog, you’ll learn about the connection between self-love, self-care and mental health, and get self-care ideas for moms balancing motherhood and self.
Every day, the first thing in the morning, you make tea for the entire household, then cook, drop the kids to school, pack lunch, and look after your kids after they return. And, guess what? There are no days off.
Most moms tend to put everyone else before their own self. Whether you call it their responsibilities or selfless loving nature, their self-care skills take a beating when taking care of their families. So, mom takes care of everyone, but who takes care of mom?
The Importance Of Self Care
So what is self-care and why is it important? We’ll show you why self-care isn’t selfish and why self-care for mums is not only important but essential, so you can take better care of the ones you love.
After all, you can’t fill another’s cup when your own cup is empty. Taking care of yourself first will give you the emotional, mental, and physical strength to take care of everyone you love.
Often, when the kids are small, women face the dilemma of deciding whether to work full-time or not. Many moms take a break from their careers at that time and those who can’t afford to be stay-at-home moms struggle with the guilt of leaving their children behind to work and maintain their career.
Yes, your family is important, but if you don’t love yourself and enjoy your own life, you won’t be able to show love and compassion to them either.
There’s also a link between depression and self-care and sometimes lack of self-care can be a sign of depression. So get yourself checked for any organic (nutritional or physical) causes of depression so you can rule it out or get treated for it.
Conversely, following a mental health self-care checklist can help to mitigate depression in many people, so moms need to take care of themselves and practise daily self-care and self-love.
If you’re not depressed and are just in the habit of putting your family’s well-being above yours, it’s high time you make yourself a priority too. You also deserve all the care and love that you shower on others. So step out, moms, and enjoy your life!
You can be emotionally, mentally and physically healthy and have a joyful life while taking care of your family. Your life must not be for your family alone. You can design a balanced life with self-care activities and a self-care routine that includes you and your loved ones.
While statistics reveal that the lack of skilled care is the main obstacle to better health for mothers, self-neglect is certainly not far behind. It’s the reason why I decided to write an emotional self-care book for women.
Self-care practices are not about sharing pithy “Take Care Of Yourself” quotes for self-care Sunday. And trust me, Mom, taking care of yourself is not as difficult as you think.
8 Self-Care Ideas For Moms Balancing Motherhood And Self
In this self-care article, you’ll get a basic, daily self-care checklist to create a self-care routine that turns into a self-care habit you won’t break. Here are some simple ways of loving yourself and making yourself a priority.
1. Get up and get moving
I know being a Mom isn’t easy and that you’re already on a jog the entire day. But since you’ve spent quite a few years in the service of others, it’s quite likely that you’ve gained a few inches. Now, it’s time to lose them!
If you’re still in shape (which is great!) some physical exertion is essential to maintain it. Studies show that the benefits of exercise extend from less stress to a boost in self-esteem.
So starting an exercise routine, even if it’s as simple as practising yoga at home, will not only make you feel good about yourself but will also improve your mental health.
You can also hit the gym, hire a personal trainer, go for morning or evening walks, and join Pilates – there are plenty of ways to keep fit, but you need to get started.
You can opt for outdoor yoga. It will help to calm your mind and give your day a good start. You can try your hand at Tai Chi, the Chinese martial art. You can even include a fun element, such as dancing or skating, in your self-care routine.
Self-Care Idea: Choose self-care activities you enjoy so that you’re motivated to exercise regularly. Try involving your kids in this. They’ll love it and it will become a great self-care habit for the entire family.
2. What you eat matters
Over the years, you’ve always put your family first on your priority list and your own self, second. Your self-care practices were non-existent and you never nourished yourself properly.
Exercising regularly is only part of what you need for a healthy lifestyle – the rest is in eating healthy meals. Start drinking plenty of water, eat high protein meals, avoid eating outside, and if possible, hire a nutritionist and do everything it takes to start moving towards a healthy life.
Most moms have the tendency to stay content with whatever the family likes to eat. For many years, you must have only cooked the food that your husband and kids prefer.
Don’t forget to feed yourself the foods you love, as long as they are healthy and nutritious. Remember that your choices are important too, and it’s good to pamper yourself at times.
Self-Care Idea: If you’re alone at home at lunchtime, make lunch all about you and cook a healthy, nutritious meal especially for yourself at this time.
3. Maintain healthy relationships and stay connected
Remember the times when you were single and went on weekly dinner dates and Saturday night outs with friends? You need to bring that back, albeit in moderation.
If those times were good, they can be better now. Being a mom doesn’t mean that you need to give up your social life. Rather it can do wonders for your health. A good social life can relieve stress, keep you entertained, and bring back joy into your life.
A Harvard study that was conducted over almost 80 years proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier. It showed that our relationships, and how happy we are in our relationships, have a powerful influence on our health.
So, stop feeling guilty about catching up with your college buddies. Go for dinner dates often and don’t miss out on social gatherings.
Invite your neighbours for a tea party or dinner at least once a month, and go for movies and picnics. Don’t worry about your kids. They’ll enjoy being included in most of these gatherings if everyone brings their own kids along.
Also, consider your relationships at home. If they are emotionally or physically abusive, it’s not wrong to put your emotional self-care and mental self-care needs first and get help from a professional.
Good relationships can make you happy, while stressful or abusive relationships can make you miserable and lead to depression. One of the best emotional self-care strategies is to ensure you live with people who care for your well-being.
If you love animals, getting a pet can be great for your health, because they can decrease loneliness and stress, and give you the kind of unconditional love that you can’t get from another human being.
Self-Care Idea: If you’re feeling stressed out, resentful, and powerless in your relationships, start a meditation practice every night before you fall asleep. Meditation is one of my favourite self-care tools to calm my mind and relax.
4. Don’t miss your medical checkups
Just like you care for your kid’s bodies, even your body requires annual checkups. You made sure to never miss an appointment for your children, but who’ll ensure that for you? No one, but you yourself!
Schedule your checkups and tests regularly. If you’re experiencing abnormal symptoms or if your body is showing signs that something’s not right, don’t ignore it. Visit a doctor and get yourself examined.
In an age when telemedicine is becoming more common, not having the time to go to the lab is no longer an excuse for not taking care of yourself.
Remember, if you fall ill who will take care of your family? Who will look after your kids? At least for their sake, take good care of your health.
Self Care Idea: You don’t even have to go to the lab for a blood test. If you suffer from ailments like diabetes, you can even schedule monthly tests online and have someone come home to pick up a blood sample. You can then send the results to your doctor by email or Whatsapp.
5. Get sufficient sleep
According to health experts, getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can lead to accidents, cause weight gain, heart disease, and may also result in diseases like anxiety, depression and diabetes.
Lack of sleep also increases the risk of dementia, because your brain literally starts to eat itself when it endures chronic sleep deprivation.
Sleep is the most underestimated medication in the world. But for most new moms, with a tiny little monster in their arms, sleep is often the last thing on their list.
You may have rushed to complete household work before your child wakes up, and this usually eats into your resting time. However, chronic lack of sleep will not only affect your mental peace but also have an impact on your physical health and ability to get things done.
Self Care Idea: One of the most important tips for self-care for new moms is to make sure you adopt a healthy and relaxing bedtime routine. So aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of peaceful sleep and don’t feel guilty to take an afternoon nap along with your little one. You deserve it!
6. Take good care of your skin
Your skin is a reflection of your health. But when was the last time you went to your favourite salon or spa for a self-care session? The risk of COVID-19 has made us avoid salons, but you can still get your pampering with a safe salon at home experience.
Your skin needs attention and care but you don’t need to visit salons or parlours to do that. You can always use DIY skincare tips and there are a lot of healthy home routines for glowing, healthy skin.
From eating superfoods to facial exercises, there’s a lot you can do to take good care of your skin. Get natural beauty and anti-ageing tips to turn back the clock and look 10 years younger naturally.
So, relax in your favourite chair, apply a homemade mask on your face and just wait for it to do wonders on your skin. Besides, which woman doesn’t feel more confident with glowing skin?
Self Care Idea: This organic skincare brands list includes some of the best natural skincare products and plant-based skincare products in the SHEROES marketplace.
7. Don’t be a martyr
You know that long-suffering woman who always complains about how much she does for others but no one does anything for her? Yeah, no one likes her because no one likes a martyr.
Don’t be that woman. Take care of yourself first! The life of a mom is not easy. You’re so busy looking after the needs of your family that you tend to neglect yourself and lose your connection with your inner self.
That’s why spiritual self-care is as, if not more, important than emotional and physical self-care. You need to stop feeling guilty for leaving your child with someone else, whether it’s a family member or a babysitter when you are taking out some time for yourself.
The best ways to practice good self-care behaviours is, instead of telling your child, “I’m sorry, I’m going out tonight,” say “Hey, guess what? Mom’s going out to see her friends and it’s going to be so much fun!”
Your kids will understand that you have to take care of yourself because they love having fun with their friends too. No one likes a self-sacrificing mom, because her self-sacrificing behaviours make them feel guilty for doing what they need to do for themselves.
Self Care Idea: The most important reason you need to take time for yourself, is that by taking care of yourself you’re giving your kids and family permission to take care of themselves too.
8. Get help when you need it
Balancing motherhood and a career can be an overwhelming feeling for the best of us. Working mothers say that they are pushed into feeling guilty by others when they decide to get back to work.
But then, frustration begins to creep in when they are unable to use their education and intellect in a career of their choice. There are plenty of options for childcare to help you achieve a balance, and if you have decided that you want to work, so stick to your decision guilt-free.
Speak to your partner and come to a decision on the child care options you have. In India, the joint family system still prevails in many households, despite the increasing trend of nuclear families.
Some working moms are lucky enough to have their parents or parents-in-law staying with them. This ensures that children get personal attention and feel safe. If you don’t have the luxury of a family support system, there are daycare facilities available, although these may not be an option during a pandemic.
Self Care Idea: Some companies support working mothers by allowing them to opt for part-time work from home online jobs or work flexi-hours. Even while working from home, you can ask your domestic help to assist you with household chores and some chores related to the child.
This will ensure that your work is uninterrupted, while at the same time, you are available to feed your child when she’s hungry and play with her during your lunch break.
Of course, there’s a lot more you can do to practice self-care, including keeping a self-care journal, downloading a self-care app, and practising meditation for moms.
You can also join self-help groups, take a self-care day for yourself every week or month, and go on a mommy’s retreat with your girlfriends.
I hope these self-care tips and examples of self-care activities have given you enough self-care ideas to start your own self-care practices and self-care routine.
Learning how to take better care of yourself is never a bad thing. So, please take good care of yourself, Moms! Because, as the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.