Have you heard all the buzz on self-care and thought to yourself, “I don’t have time for all that?” Have you read you can only love as much as you love yourself only to roll your eyes in response and think, “I love my kids to the moon and back. It doesn’t matter how I feel about myself.”?
What if I told you the way you take care of yourself affects so many areas of your life that it’s worth making the effort. I know #momlife is hard and finding the time is harder, but I’m going to show you how you can make it happen.
I’m going to share the mindset and habits you need to function in your best #momlife! I realize Mamas like to put everybody and everything before ourselves. Get ready to get intentional about self-care because I will have you convinced that you are SO WORTH IT!
This is not a selfish act. This is not about putting yourself first. This is about putting your self-care into the equation.
Let’s get started.
How Can You Make Self-Care the Norm?
At what point did women start feeling Mom-Guilt for devoting some time to themselves?? I look back at the women who were in my life while I was growing up, and they did things for themselves and for others. I’m pretty sure they did it guilt-free too.
I know I haven’t had to get any counseling over the fact that my mom, aunts, and grandmas had hobbies, took showers or bathed every day, spent time with their husbands, volunteered, went to church, talked on the phone to their friends, read adult books and watched whatever TV show they wanted, said no when they didn’t feel like doing something… The list goes on.
My thinking is that the next generation of moms tried to do more with their kids and the pendulum swung way too far in the opposite direction. Additionally, more moms started working than in previous generations. Therefore it got to the extreme point of moms hardly doing anything for themselves and feeling super guilty when they do.
Where Are You On the Self-Care Journey?
I don’t know how you are doing at taking care of yourself or where you are on the self-care journey. It is a journey, and there are seasons where you can dedicate more time and then not as much time.
While I’ve had this rolling around in my head, I’ve done some research & Googling. As I stated above, its a buzz word and you can read Self-Care tips for DAYS. Honestly, it can become overwhelming. I was trying to think of how I could take some of the overwhelm out of it for you. I decided that maybe if you saw the importance you would be motivated.
This led me to dig deeper into some of my questions. Furthermore, I thought about my own self-care journey since becoming a mom.
With good intention, I want to share several of the highlights of what I know to be true about self-care. My prayer is that something here motivates you to take action and take your self-care to the next level.
Related Article: 5 Steps to Self-Love: An Essential Component to Parenting
6 Foundational Beliefs About Self-Care
#1. There are 5 Areas of Self-Care to pay attention to.
- Physical: movement and health and wellness
- Spiritual: focuses on cultivating a sense of peace, self-love, and purpose, not only within yourself but with God, Earth and the universe that is all around you.
- Intellectual: intellect and mindset
- Social: We were created to want to belong whether we are introvert or extrovert.
- Mental/Emotional: Build resilience to stress and anxiety.
What areas are you doing well in? Which ones do you need improvement in?
#2. Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Be Major.
Honestly, when I read self-care, my first inclination is to think ‘day at the spa’. The next thought is that I didn’t have the time or money for it. It doesn’t have to be that way.
GOOD NEWS! Self-care may take 3 minutes or 3 hours+.
Self-care is personal. You have to know what “energizes” or “feeds” you. What makes you happy? In any case, you can get some ideas from all those self-care lists you Google or search on Pinterest, but at the end of the day, what Mary Pat needs may not be what you need.
Take the initiative to be self-aware enough to know what it is that refuels you, brings you peace and helps you have a healthy mindset. For these reasons, I encourage you to brainstorm a list that incorporates all 5 areas, so you will have harmony and be fulfilled.
Related Article: How Tired Moms Can Get More Energy
#3. Your self-care journey will have seasons.
Seasons where you can give yourself more time and seasons, for example – when you have a newborn, when you will not have as much time to put into the 5 areas. There are times when your self-awareness and self-knowledge are high and times when they’re low. This is all ‘To be Expected’.
As published in the Washington Post, Aimee Danielson, director of the Women’s Mental Health Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in the District says, “The times when parents need self-care the most — maybe they’re experiencing a spouse’s deployment, a death, a divorce — are often when their self-care slips.That puts women at risk for developing mental-health issues: depression, anxiety, insomnia.”
So before you take a day off or a girls’ night out, Danielson says to FIRST focus on sleeping, eating well and moving your body.
Moral of the story: If your self-care journey only ever has one season… the hardly any self-care season, it’s time to be intentional about loving yourself and maybe even considering counseling.
Related Article: 1 Simple Tip To Be a More Grateful Mom
#4. How you treat yourself is how you can expect others to treat you!
This one is no fun to learn if you have people in your life who treat you in ways you don’t care for. Your beliefs and stories about yourself influence the way you attract people into your life. You give them permission in a sense. Your kids included!
Relationships are like mirrors. They give you an opportunity to see the deepest and purest parts of yourself, both good and bad. The people who treat you the way you want to be treated are mirrors showing you how you treat yourself well. The ones who treat you poorly are mirrors showing you how you treat yourself poorly.
You can use these relationships as an opportunity to see how you aren’t treating yourself the way you deserve to be, and discover ways to give yourself what you’re craving. The less you’re relying on others to provide for you what self-care can provide, the better off you will be.
Pray to love yourself in a manner that will attract people who treat you the way you want to be treated. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. Be on the lookout and put yourself in situations where you can meet your ideal mom tribe.
Related Article: To the Lonely Mom: Form a Virtual Tribe to Get You Through
#5. The experts say your self-care is a model as to how your children will care for themselves someday.
Pretty much enough said. Think about the model you saw from your parents. Are you much different? Sadly, I do less than my mom modeled.
Model what you hope your kids will be for themselves when they are adults.
#6. Bring something back from your past. B.C (Before Children)
I meet a lot of moms who miss things about themselves from B.C. Frequently, moms give up “parts of themselves” when they have babies. Unsurprisingly, as our children get older, we never bring back what we gave up.
For instance, at one point before I had kids, I had well over 1,000 daylilies. Get this. I knew them all by name. I don’t own a single daylily today. Chances are I’m not going to go back to that extreme while I have my kids in my home.
But I need to bring back gardening. Most of my ancestors farmed. All is well with my soul when I dig in the dirt. Probably because gardening pretty much covers the 5 areas of self-care. My kids need to experience this part of me.
What do you need to bring back my friend?
Related Article: The Importance of a Mom’s Music Playlist
#7. Take Care of Yourself By NOT Comparing Yourself
As humans, it is only natural for us to compare ourselves, so as mom’s we have to be really intentional about NOT comparing ourselves. I know it’s easier said than done, but just having awareness can cause you to be better about it.
We compare ourselves to moms at the supermarket, moms at our kid’s school, moms on Pinterest, moms on Social Media… the list goes on and on.
You have to decide not to compare. If that means looking at social media less, then so be it. Pay attention to how you feel after scrolling through social media. Honestly, is it better or worse? Use the time for a bubble bath or a walk!
#8. You Can Only Love Others As Much As You Love Yourself
I didn’t believe this until I really started practicing self-care (my 3rd year as a parent). Once I saw the difference in myself and what I could give to my boys and the difference in my mental health, I became a believer.
In her research on wholehearted living, Brene Brown has found time and time again that we can’t give what we don’t have. We can only love as much as we love ourselves. She speaks highly of being vulnerable and self-care.
#9. You are the Average Sum of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
Who you spend your time with influences the person you eventually become. Who you are with or talk to or text with can elevate you as much as bring you down. Who you allow into your Social Media feeds and Inbox influences your daily thoughts. Choose with care.
Please take a moment to think of the 5 (adult) people you spend most of your time with. How many of those people do you want to be like?
One tip I can offer is that I replaced some people with positive podcasts. I created an awesome podcast library by trial and error. When I feel the need to call or text someone who doesn’t bring out the best in me, I listen to an episode.
I know it may sound scary, but if you want to live your best life, you can’t do it spending time with those who judge and discuss others, gripe but won’t take action, make mean comments, are negative about children, always husband bash, only talk about themselves and let you go when you start to open your mouth, all the stuff that causes our moods to spiral into negative mode. You decide what is right for you. I love you enough to tell you that you are worth some breakups if need be!
Related Article: To the Lonely Mom: Form a Virtual Tribe to Get You Through
Why Even Bother With Self-Care?
You can read the 5 areas of self-care and see that there is enough there to prove that self-care is worth paying attention to. It impacts your overall health. Which in turn impacts your relationships and how you treat people.
The better you treat yourself, the better you will treat others. It is likely that you’ll be a more peaceful parent. Self-love impacts how you are perceived and how the world treats you. Ultimately, your descendants will be influenced. This whole self-care thing is a domino effect.
Some Of The Benefits of Loving Yourself
- Gain self-confidence
- Gain self-worth (Huge! this is so beneficial…)
- You feel more positive.
- You are light for others.
- You are a model for your child. (How do you want your children to feel about themselves? Love or loathe?)
- More optimistic which equals better mental health
- More likely to reach goals
- You allow others to love you well.
25 Ways to Be Intentional About Loving Yourself That Will Change Your Life and Your Legacy
1. Carve Out Time To Do What You Love
2. Love Yourself Physically and Emotionally
“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” ~Roy T. Bennett
4. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are limits you set for yourself that determine what you will or won’t participate in.
- Just a heads-up, this can be uncomfortable in the beginning.
- Here are the areas to consider setting boundaries for:
-what goes into your mouth
-what comes out of your mouth
-emotions and thoughts
-stuff or possessions
-time and energy
-culture, religion, values, and ethics
- Make a promise to yourself to stick to your boundaries.
P.S. No is a complete sentence.
5. Pay Attention to Your Inner and Outer Voice
Inner Voice: the voice in your head
Outer Voice: what comes out of your mouth
6. Enjoy and Appreciate Your Journey. Past, Present and Future. Love the Process.
7. Have fun. Laugh. Smile. Do this often!
8. Be Gentle and Forgiving of Yourself.
9. Connect With Others Who Are Living at the Level You Want to Live At.
10. Love Learning and UNlearning. Have a Growth Mindset in as many areas of your life as possible.
11. Limit Social Media
- In the latest American Psychological Association report, 77% of Americans are experiencing physical symptoms of stress and 73% are experiencing psychological symptoms. Money and work are reported as the leading cause of stress.
13. Have a Creative Outlet
14. Get Outdoors.
Humans feel the most grounded and connected to themselves in the woods. If you don’t, chances are, it was learned. Probably passed to you. Give the outdoors a chance. You don’t have to climb a tree. Take a stroll. Notice. The birds. The foliage. The fresh air. The sounds. Nature fuels our souls.
15. Serve Others in whatever way fits your lifestyle
16. Have a purpose. Know your why. (Why you care to wake up?)
The opposite of depression is purpose. ~Cathy Heller
17. Set Some Goals. Start Small.
19. Declutter your mind and your space.
20. Be intentional about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Time is a non-renewable resource!!
21. Try your best to stop judging others and yourself.
22. Keep a prayer journal. A prayer journal inspires your spiritual growth and flames your faith.
23. Be open to self-discovery. Life is not about FINDING yourself. It’s about CREATING yourself.
24. Take risks. Accept that no one gets it right the first time. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to be wrong.
25. Focus on belonging (being accepted for who you are) instead of fitting in (changing who you are to be accepted).
Once you are intentional about loving yourself, you will see your love vibrate outward and spread to those around you more effectively and beautifully!
Call to Action
- What areas are you doing well in? Which ones do you need improvement in?
- Brainstorm a list of things that reenergize you, bring you peace and help you have a positive mindset.
- Consider what season of self-care you are in. How can you take it to the next level?
- Pray to love yourself in a manner that will attract people who treat you the way you want to be treated.
- How do we want our children to take care/love of themselves someday?
- What are some things that you need to bring back from the B.C YOU? Create a list. Get intentional about a plan to implement them into your life.
Without a Doubt, You’re Going to Have to Be Intentional About Self-Care
Figure out a way to get this list onto your calendar. A good place to start is prioritizing it over social media. Of course, you can’t do all of this all at once. Over time, do your best to be intentional about making the list a priority and implementing and rotating it into your schedule. To begin with, focus on sleep, what you put into your body and movement.
I’m glad you’re reading this today. I want you to love yourself well. You deserve it, and your family deserves it. The best gift you can give others is yourself. So why not strive to be the BEST VERSION OF YOU?! The 5 areas of self-care are a great place to start!
To be notified when new posts are made and receive the weekly newsletter, subscribe to This -N- That Parenting Tribe.
Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS