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What is self-care for mums?
Self-care is a word increasingly used in everyday conversation, with influencers and experts alike telling us just how crucial it can be, but when you’re having to be a teacher, a cleaner, a cook AND an entertainer to young children 24/7 (not to mention fitting in time to do work of your own), it can seem like the impossible to find a few spare moments to yourself.
This Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to take a breather and set yourself up with some self-care routines, ready for you to tackle those hectic days once again.
1. First, re-learn what self-care is
The key is to forget everything you have ever heard about the phrase ‘self-care’ and go from there.
Self-care doesn’t just have to be a list of things to do to take care of your physical wellbeing – it’s also a state of mind that supports our mental wellbeing. This means it doesn’t have to be something that takes hours out of one day, but instead can be simple tasks that we spend just 2 or 3 minutes on each day.
2. Make a to-do list
It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even coherent. Just get everything in your brain right now down on the page and out of your head. Focus on achieving only a couple of these. Don’t expect to manage them all – they can be added onto another list tomorrow. Nothing bad is going to happen if you don’t tick them all off but getting them on the page is the first hurdle.
3. Involve your children
Too often we are told that we can only find peace when the kids aren’t in sight but what about those quiet moments in the day? Ask the children to do some age-appropriate chores. Make it into a game – who can clean their room by the time this song finishes? Who can lay the table the neatest? Even the smallest bits of help here and there will take a little pressure off you so you can take a breather. You can look after yourself while your kids are around.
4. Have a PJ day!
An alternate way to involve your children is to get them practising some self-care alongside you! This is a great self-care activity that everyone in the family will love. Pillow fort pending…
5. Prep your meal the night before
Take the time at the start of the week to draw out a meal plan and it’ll be one less thing to be constantly thinking about. You could even allocate a child to be sous-chef each night, making this an educational self-care too!
6. Go to bed earlier
This is possibly the simplest but one of the best self-care practices. It’s so easy to implement and yet can have the biggest difference. Stop aimlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed (or at least limit yourself to 30 mins of scrolling) and thank yourself the next morning.
7. Before bed, write a journal
Instead of Instagram, perhaps you could use the extra wind-down time to reflect on your day. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy but writing down your thoughts and feelings can be really beneficial to your mental health. If you’re struggling with where to start with this, you can always check out some purposefully structured self-care journals that keep things easy.
8. Positive affirmations
If writing in a journal seems like too much effort and you zonk out as soon as your head hits the pillow, just write one list of positive affirmations that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. They can be simple phrases like; I am enough, I can do this and I am loved.
9. Use shower time to pamper yourself
Sometimes showering seems like a huge chore but why not turn this time into a self-care routine. Use up those different body creams that have been piling up under the sink. Whack on a hair mask and leave it to wash off the next morning. Grab a sugar scrub or scrumptious smelling soap.
Most importantly – don’t rush it. You can still have a quick morning shower whilst the kids are eating breakfast but don’t feel pushed for time or stressing to get back to them. Enjoy it and do not feel guilty for doing so.
10. The simplest of all – HUGS!
Scientists have proved many a time just what benefit physical affection can have on our wellbeing: lowered heart rate, alleviation of fears, reduced stress – the list goes on. But the best thing? They take no time at all! And if they’re benefitting you, then they’re also benefitting your children! So, go forth and cuddle!
What about those days when you’ve got a little extra time? Why not try…
1. Moving your body
Take a walk – by yourself or with the kids, either is great. Feel the sun on your face (or rain) and soak it up (less preferable if it is raining!) Do some stretches. Shake out any frustrations and wake your endorphins up.
2. Taking a bath instead of a shower
This is your time to really make it fancy. Put all the kids toys somewhere out of sight and replace them with candles or your favourite smellies. Play relaxing music or watch your favourite Netflix show (10 mum points if you can balance the laptop just right on the toilet seat.)
3. Reading a chapter of a book
Another great way to relax and lose yourself to another world. This is good just before bed or in one of those golden quiet moments.
4. Using spa-like skincare
The skin is the body’s largest organ so taking care of it is important. It also happens that doing so is beneficial to our mental health too! The ritual of daily skincare, however complex or simple it may be, gives us five or ten minutes to engage in soothing and comforting acts.
As you’re putting on your favourite face creams in the morning, give your face a gentle massage, especially around your eyes and temples. If the concept of a skincare routine is overwhelming to you, try just remembering to wash your face with warm water and then applying a simple moisturizer. Your skin will thank you for it, and in turn, you’ll feel brighter and ready to face the day ahead.
5. Talking with a mum friend
Set aside some time to catch up with your pals. It’s important for you (and them) to get some adult conversation in, whether that be sympathizing with each other about the ‘juggle struggle’ or talking about the latest episode of your favourite TV drama. Make sure you ask how your friend is feeling and hopefully they’ll do the same for you. Answer them honestly. It’s so important that we support each other right now and the ultimate form of self-care is knowing when to ask for a helping hand.
And the hidden positive of all this self-care?
If you show your children what taking care of yourself looks like, they’ll quickly learn how to stay balanced, healthy individuals too. It’s a win-win for everyone involved so you can brush away that mum-guilt – it has no place here (or anywhere for that matter), knowing that taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your children.
To take care of all your own and your child’s belongings, labelling everything with a name is a great tip. We have a fabulous range of stick on name labels with designs for all ages and no sew-no iron labels for their clothes!