Women and mothers are nurturers; it’s how we are designed. We serve others, our boss, our parents, our children, our spouse; it’s just what we do. However, let me ask you, are you ever on your nurturing list?
Putting your best self forward requires intentionality. It can feel very abnormal to think about yourself, but you, sweet momma, have the right to feel supported and well taken care of as you balance the responsibilities of motherhood. It’s not narcissistic; it’s healthy.
The way we mothers live, act and take of ourselves sets the tone for how our children live, act and take care of themselves too! Dora Wang, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine researched this very topic and addressed the fact that a mother's behavior is directly correlated with the temperament and lifestyle of her child. It’s not just through genes; you’re passing on your lifestyle to your children.
Ask any momma out there. Every mom who is serving, working and sacrificing will say it’s for her children’s happiness. We all want our family to be happy, and we put ourselves on the back burner to do so. I hope you can see the problem here.
It will look different for every momma, but it’s time to figure out how you can care for yourself every single day. Why? Because you deserve to be happy too. I’m not cheering you on to act selfish and self-centered. Instead, I’m helping you see the importance of putting yourself on your to-do list.
Let’s kick off 2019 with a self-care mindset. Focus on these steps, make them your own and watch these simp change you.
Write down your needs. It may take a few minutes, hours, days, weeks to remember what your needs are, but they are there, trust me. Once they are written down, share them, talk about them and communicate your excitement about taking care of yourself again. I personally need 8 hours of sleep, I need energy and nutrition from food, quality time with my hubs and baby, I need one night off each week, and I need time to respond to myself in the morning before I respond to everyone else.
Move your Qi (vital energy and driving life force in everyone and everything, according to Eastern medicine practices). Qi similar to the Western view of getting your blood flowing. Moving your Qi increases your brain function, energy levels, assists in healing your body internally and strengthens your mental and emotional state. Qigong, yoga, swimming, dancing, walking and light weights are wonderful ways to move your Qi. I mix these light exercises with two days of weights + plyometrics each week as my body responds well to that routine.
Feed and nourish your body. Eating clean isn’t about losing weight. Eating well is about giving your mind and body the best chances to flourish as you tackle your motherly tasks. It also doesn’t have to taste bland and boring. I have a few recipes on my blog for quick, tasty and simple meal ideas. I also love Eats and EleatNurtirion for recipe inspiration.
Smile, even when you don’t feel like it. If you can’t muster up a smile, stick a pencil in your mouth for two minutes. It forces your mouth into a smile, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s happy. It’s scientifically proven! When your facial muscles form into a smile, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are all released into your bloodstream, thus boosting your mood almost instantly. Go find some pencils, ASAP.
Wake up an hour before your family. Still and quiet mornings allow you to choose the vibe(obnoxious millennial word) for the day and respond to yourself before you respond to the world. Avoid Instagram, your email, looking at your to-do list and doing any chores at this time. This is your one hour of the day to check in with yourself. Turn on a good playlist, pour some tea and breathe momma. You need this.
Take a nap. “Lol, no. Not possible, skipping this one”. Hold it right there. Did you know that it’s common in other cultures to take a nap after lunch? A short power nap will help you de-stress and reboot for the second half of the day. Try shutting off your brain for just a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be a two-hour snooze. Set your alarm for 30 minutes and enjoy the much-deserved rest. Your body and brain will thank you.
Pull out your favorite face mask. This is actually the most common answer I received when I asked my mom friends what they do for self-care regularly. Not only will you look fabulous, but you will be surprised at the way this simple task calms you down. Plus, you can’t really talk with a hardening face mask on, so it gives you a few minutes of forced silence. Let’s say you make it a weekly habit and do this every Monday night. It will give you something to look forward to and for the full effect, throw on your fluffy robe, slippers and pour yourself a hot cup of chamomile tea. My favorite face mask of all time is the balancing charcoal face mask from Beautycounter.
Minimize your screen time. If you saw your child looking through pictures, comparing themselves to everyone “better,” wasting precious time and losing confidence with every scroll, would you stop him/her? I sure would. What makes it any different for you and me? Instagram, emails, responding, responding, responding; it will get the best of you if you let it. Be kind to yourself and limit that draining practice as soon as possible.
Stop talking negatively about other people. You may raise your eyebrows at this self-care tip, but it’s a crucial step I had to make in order to better care for myself. Talking ill about other people not only destroys relationships, but it also fires the negativity in our minds, which is the last thing we all need. We’re all fighting our own battles; we don’t need to talk about everyone else’s war.
Read for pleasure, in the bath, with your bath salts and serenity spa playlist on Pandora. Just trust me on this. You certainly don’t have to do this every night, but you might want to after your first experience. Just take 30 minutes before bed to relax, unwind and visit the magical land of Narnia…or Hogwarts, either will do.
Declutter a space in your house that’s been bothering you.
Go for a walk.
Dance like nobody is watching for an entire song. No routine, no camera, just dance.
Diffuse essential oils.
Buy yourself flowers. Trader Joe’s has pretty and inexpensive choices.
Throw your sweats on at 3:00 every once in a while.
Take 12 deep breaths and try to focus only on your breath.
Light candles. It set’s a peaceful, warm and inviting tone.
Bake a cake. Vegan, paleo, boxed, dairy-free, gluten-free, your grandma’s recipe, whatever floats your boat, go for it. Don’t forget to enjoy a slice.
Set an alarm for tea time every day. My tea time is at 6:30 every morning.
This list helped me when I didn’t know where to start on my self-care journey. These ideas are not meant to overwhelm you, they can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes depending on the time you have. Take a few points, get rid of a few points, make it your own. Start today. Wishing you all the happiness I can give, friend.
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