As a clinical psychotherapist, I hear clients constantly share their struggles with finding time for quality self-care. They tend to believe that time for self-care is unattainable.
Mothers especially are often plagued with this struggle of when to find time for themselves. With the mile-long to-do lists that all moms have, it is easy to allow ourselves to fall to the bottom — or often off the list altogether.
I am here to tell you there are self-care strategies all moms can do today. Taking time away from your kids to focus on yourself is not only acceptable but essential to your well-being. When parents put effort into their own self-care, the payoff for their kids is huge. These parents tend to have more patience, vitality and enjoyment in the time they spend with their family.
Self-care does need to be a weekend away or a full day at the spa, as nice as both of those might sound. It does not need to take up much of your time or require you to let something else slip.
Self-care can take just a few minutes and often can fit into your schedule without shifting too much around.
Here are 10 self-care strategies you can start to use in your life today:
1. Go for a Walk
Getting outside and enjoying nature on a beautiful day is such great self-care. If you have little ones, put them in the stroller and go for a couple of loops around your neighborhood or a local park.
2. Eat a Good Meal
Good food fuels your body. Taking a little time to put together a high quality nutritious meal will really help you feel like you are taking good care of yourself.
3. Enjoy a Good Drink
How many of you are thinking about margaritas right now? While a cocktail can be a wonderful chance to relax, I was thinking more along the lines of a cup of tea or a nice coffee beverage. Just a little chance to enjoy something for yourself.
4. Move Your Body
This could be going for a run/walk, taking a yoga class or doing a quick exercise routine at home. Just getting up and moving will do a lot for overall wellbeing.
5. Take a Nap
Even if it is just for 20-30 minutes. A chance to relax and refresh is always great self-care.
6. Take a Shower/Bath
I know I always feel so much more refreshed and ready for anything when I am clean and put-together. For even more relaxation, add scented body wash or bubble bath, and finish with a nice body lotion.
7. Listen to Music
Put some uplifting music or a song that is connected to a positive memory. Take a few moments to just be with the music and enjoy whatever it is that it brings up for you. This is something that is super easy to do in the car or while you are getting ready for the day.
8. Work on a DIY Project
This could be something you have been wanting to get done around the house, or that craft project you have been putting off since before your kids were born. Working on something you feel good about is a great self-care option.
9. Connect with Friends
Schedule a call with someone you have not spoken to in a while. Find a time to meet a friend for coffee. If you already have a walk or a gym class you are planning on, invite a friend to join you.
10. Plan an outing you have been wanting to do
Is there something that you keep thinking would be fun to do as a family, with your spouse or even alone? Do a little research and plan a time for it to happen.
So there you have it!
If you are not used to practicing self-care, it can be really hard to get started. Take your time and show yourself some kindness if you are not connecting with it right away. No matter how busy or stressful our lives get as moms, there are always opportunities to take care of yourself. You just have to make yourself a priority!
The following are 5 self-care practices for all moms — tips from a therapist:
1. Deep Breathing
Any chance you get to just connect with yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths in and out, and try to let go of anything that you might be holding in.
2. Journal about What You are Grateful for
As busy moms, it is so easy to get caught up in the struggles of life and lose sight of the positive. Taking a little time to write them down will remind us of all of the wonderful things we have going on.
3. Journal about What You are Struggling with
OK, so I know this is the opposite of what I just suggested, but taking some time to write down some of your struggles can be very cathartic. I often suggest that clients do this and then close the journal and put it to the side. Kind of symbolic of letting go of their struggles, at least in the short term.
4. Go on a Social Media ‘Kindness Spree’
OK, so I read this on another blog and loved the idea!! We tend to be so connected to social media anyway, why not take some time and share some positivity? Spend 10-20 leaving thoughtful comments on your friends’ news feeds. It is amazing how wonderful sharing a little kindness can make you feel.
5. Take the Long Way Home
This is one of my favorites that I always suggest to clients. If you are really feeling like you do not have the time or means to do any of the other things on this list, here is one you can do! Rather than rushing home, allow the drive to be a little bit of self-care time.
With the kids strapped in the car seat, you can take a little extra time for you. Enjoy a cup of coffee or listen to your favorite song. You can even stop in a parking lot and do a little deep breathing if the kids are quiet enough for you to enjoy this!
Jmore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/ She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/) , a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.