Mamas, since the little ones came along, your own needs may have fallen to the bottom of the list of priorities.
You may put so much into looking after everyone else that you run out of time or energy to look after yourself. But, as the old saying goes, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help others.
The more you top yourself up, the more you have to give. And mums give a lot.
This daily self care checklist has 20 easy practices. Each one takes only a few minutes and can be started today.
5 minutes of golden silence
Find 5 minutes today. If you’re an early riser, it could be in the morning before everyone else gets up. Or it could be during nap time or after bedtime when the house is quiet again.
Whenever it is, turn off the phones and spend 5 minutes with yourself in complete silence. Try to clear your mind of any thinking or planning. Spend this time thinking about nothing.
If it helps you could close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and count to 5, then breathe out and count to 5.
Make affirmations work for you
Did you know that we’re all practising affirmations every day?
Every thought you have and every statement you make, is programming your mind into certain beliefs. The more you repeat the thought or statement, the more deeply embedded in your subconscious it becomes.
For example if you keep thinking ‘I’m no good at this’, then you’re actually convincing your mind even further that you are no good at that particular thing. It’s like a negative brainwashing.
So, write down what you believe you’re not good at, or things that you want to improve or goals that you wish to achieve. Then create your own positive affirmations for those things.
Some ideas are:
I’ve got this
I have so much love to share with my kids
I’m doing an amazing job
I’m worthy and cherished
My heart is my child’s most important teacher
I am doing my best for my children and that’s doing great
Say these affirmations to yourself out loud, 3 times every day.
Your mind can’t tell the difference between these ‘made-up’ statement and real ones. So it will start to believe them.
Your positive affirmations will act as a kind of ‘positive brainwashing’ to move you into more positive thinking habits. And to help you achieve your goals.
Come to the top of the pile
Kids come first. But often a parent’s needs go so far down the priority list that they aren’t even given a thought.
Let yourself and your well-being come to the top of the pile again. If you need that break and your partner or relative can help with the kids, then allow yourself to take it.
If your kids have to be bored for 20 minutes while you do that workout, give them some games or activities and do it.
Looking after your own needs matters. It’s far from selfish. It can actually make you a better mum.
Power of visualization
Numerous studies have shown the power of visualising a goal in helping us achieve that goal. It’s a technique commonly used by athletes to improve their performance in races.
For us parents it can work as well. Perhaps you’re a mom who is stressed about your kids misbehaving when you leave the house.
You could imagine that outing in detail. Imagine what could happen and how you would react to keep everyone calm. It can help you handle the situation much better when you do go out.
It can also work for other goals like weight loss, fitness, achieving a calmer lifestyle, or work goals.
Visualization works in 3 main ways:
- It conquers fears. The mind sees a strong visualisation of an event and records it in the same way that it does a memory. You no longer feel fear or hesitation about that thing. This is because your subconscious mind thinks that the event has already happened. You can be calmer and get on with achieving that particular goal.
- Develop new skills at a faster rate. You can develop skills simply by imagining doing something in detail. Studies find that visualising a technique can be as good as practising the skill itself. Picture every stage of your doing this new technique, and when you go to do it, it will be so much easier.
- Prioritise goals. Strong visualisations signal to your mind what your main goals are. And it will subconsciously work towards those goals.
So decide what your goals are, whether they’re health and weight loss plans, calmer days with the kids, or work projects.
Then visualise yourself achieving that goal as strongly as possible. What will you be feeling when you achieve it? What will you be doing?
Experience beautiful moments
Once a day, allow yourself to experience a beautiful moment. Whether it’s watching a sunset, or walking in the park surrounded by golden Autumn leaves. Let yourself notice it and take it in.
Try and enjoy one beautiful moment for a few minutes each day.
Stop expecting perfection
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. So, trying to be one can only make you feel like you always come up short.
Let go of perfection. Enjoy the good moments – get through the bad. Do your best each day and love your kids with all your heart. And that will make you one amazing mum or dad.
Move your body
Today it might be walking to nursery instead of driving. Or you might grab a hula hoop and play in the garden with the kids.
As you plan out your day, see where you can squeeze in more walking or moving about.
If you can manage some exercise sessions as well then great.
Either way move around a little more each day. It will make you feel so much more energised in the long run.
Rethink your priorities
Each day think through all you have to do and then re prioritise.
What do you have to do?
What can wait?
What can you miss out altogether?
Only do the things that really need doing.
When it gets too much, breathe
If you feel like things are getting on top of you, and you’re starting to panic, stop and breathe.
Take 10 deep breaths in, and 10 deep breaths out. Feel your stomach moving in and out with each breath. When you are finished you’ll be amazed how much calmer you feel.
Learn to say ‘no’
Is your week a whirlwind of activities, classes and playdate invitations?
Remind yourself that you don’t need to do everything and slow it right down. What can you say ‘no’ to?
What things will the kids enjoy the least?
Are there things you can drop or make easier?
Learning to say ‘no‘ to others, can help you say ‘yes‘ to yourself.
Meet up with friends
Having a chat and a laugh with those we love can make the world of difference.
Make plans with your friends when you can. It can help to ring-fence set times and days of the week to meet up with them.
Tuesdays could be for playdates and coffee. The last Friday of the month could be a mum’s night out.
It helps to schedule in a date (and stick to it) as otherwise time seems to slip through our fingers.
Grab your phone and fire off some messages to get times booked in today.
Live in the now
Kids are brilliant at living for the moment. They don’t walk along looking straight ahead, with their mind full of all the things they have to do.
They look up in the sky and notice funny shapes in the clouds. They look down on the ground and spy a colourful leaf. Follow their lead and notice the sights and sounds around you.
60 second ear trick
For this stress-busting technique, start by sitting very still. Now take your finger and thumb and start gently pinching the tips of your ears. Move right the way down your ear, massaging and pinching it.
Do it three or four times. Now stop. And listen. What can you hear? You’ll notice all sorts of little sounds.
Think of your day in chunks
Think of your day as being divided into small chunks of time. Then each chunk feels more manageable.
Plan in your time to play with the kids. Plan time to get the chores done. Mark out time for you and your partner to chat. And time to do whatever it is that makes you feel you.
Knowing what to expect at each part of the day can be a sanity-saver for many a mom.
Drink a little more
Water that is.
Drinking enough water has so many benefits. It helps you feel fresh, awake, energised. It’s also great for your skin and your hair and your digestion.
Buy yourself a lovely water bottle today. Fill it up each morning and keep it with you all day to sip from.
Restructure your everyday routine
Often over time, our daily routines can become complicated.
Try to always think about how you can simplify your everyday routine. See how you can fit in your other self care habits to daily life. These could be walking, exercise, or having 5 minutes of silence.
If you plan ahead it’s much easier to make them happen.
Could you to walk to a nursery or activity? That way you can get that extra movement in every day. You also get to enjoy some great chats together, walking alongside your little one.
Could your child accompany you to one of your chores? This could save you time later in the week for other things.
Or perhaps your partner or relative could do a school morning drop off on their way to work?
With a little thought, your daily life could become a whole lot easier and more rewarding.
Be kind to yourself
It sometimes feels easier to be hard on yourself than to be kind. But your inner voice can be incredibly powerful. So try to be your own cheerleader.
Talk kindly about yourself in your head. Instead of ‘I can’t do this’ try ‘I need to work on that’.
And let yourself have the odd treat. You deserve it.
Pick smart tools
One of the easiest ways to remind yourself that you need time each day for self care is to download an app.
Or you can invest in a step counter to count your steps each day and remind you to keep moving. (10,000 daily steps is the goal!)
Pick your favourite tool and start using one today.
Open up your ‘brain bank’
Write down a list of all the things that drain your energy and all the things that fire it up.
Think of your brain like a bank. You want to balance it.
Offset work, chores and parenting tasks that drain you, with things that re-energise you. That way you can stay topped up.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s easy to look around at other parents and feel like they’re doing a much better job than you.
But one small snapshot doesn’t always tell the whole story. And comparison rarely leads to anything but misery.
Next time you notice yourself starting to compare, try and stop the thought in its tracks.
Start a line a day journal
A line a day journal can help you to jot down something small about each day, before it slips by. They can also help you focus on the positive of each day.
Start your entries this evening. Before you go to sleep write down one thing that happened today.
There’s one rule. The line you write has to be one happy or positive thing that happened. Even on the tough days there’s usually always at least ONE thing that went well.
It can take a bit of thought and planning to set up your own daily self care checklist. But it’s all time invested in you. Soon things will become automatic and you can practice them without thinking twice.
You’ll get into great habits. You’ll be active and energised, calm and focused. And you’ll train yourself to think positively every day.
Kids don’t want a perfect mom, they want a happy one Unknown
Kids don’t want a perfect mom, they want a happy one Unknown