What self-care actually is and how to practice it as a busy mum
If you’re anything like me you probably roll your eyes and skim straight over posts about self-care, after all, it’s just about having bubble baths and reading isn’t it?
No, it is so much more than having a bubble bath!
Self care is about meeting your basic needs
This can be so difficult as a mum. Maybe you’re being woken up in the night or early morning and you’re bleary eyed and tired (I’m right there with you, my three year old is going for gold in the sleep deprivation Olympics!). Or maybe you it reaches mid afternoon and you’re getting hangry and you realise, you’ve fed the children or been battling trying to get through work and you haven’t eaten.
You will never hear me utter the words ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ (because who can nap on demand like that?!) however, I will say it is crucial for you to practice self-care around these basic needs.
This might look like:
Going to bed earlier
Yep, probably one you don't want to hear! It can be so tempting to try and claim your free time back as a mum, staying up late, binge watching TV or staying up late to catch up on house work or paid work. While it might feel the best use of your time in the moment, it is likely to make you feel more exhausted the next day because you’re not well rested. The reality is, your child will wake you up, so we need to work around that. Going to bed early will mean you are more rested and more able to tackle the next day. You’ll probably get through that work etc in record time as a result and be more patient with your family.
Set an alarm to remind you to eat
If required, pop your children in front of a screen while you do so. The weigh up of this against having a hangry mum is a no brainer. Maybe you it helps to prep your lunch for the week at the weekend so all you have to do is open the fridge and its ready.
It can be hard to change habits around these things, but you need it and you are worth it.
Self care is about meeting your emotional needs
Motherhood can be emotionally demanding, and it's essential to cultivate a positive mindset (though remember this is unlikely to be a constant state of mind) and seek support when necessary.
Take time for activities that bring you joy
Whether it's reading a book, going for a run, or sitting in peace with a coffee. Prioritize activities that allow you to recharge and reconnect with
yourself. This is often where the notion of self care goes wrong, it focuses just on pretty pictures (see right!) of fluffy socks, immaculate surrounding and steaming hot drink. You don’t need all of those to enjoy an activity.
Build a support network
Reach out to friends, join parenting groups, or seek professional help when needed. Sharing your experiences and emotions with others who understand can be incredibly empowering and therapeutic. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The ultimate self-care comes from setting boundaries.
In order to do all of the above, you might need to set boundaries.
As a mum, it's common to feel overwhelmed by the demands and expectations placed upon you. However, it's important to remember that you are human too, and it's okay to prioritize your well-being. By setting boundaries and learning to say no, you're creating space for self-care and maintaining a healthy balance between your responsibilities and personal needs.
As mums, we often prioritize the well-being of our children above our own, but neglecting our own needs can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and decreased overall happiness. Self-care is not selfish; it's an essential practice that allows us to recharge, rejuvenate, and show up as the best version of ourselves for our families.
Embrace self-care as a necessary part of motherhood and watch how it positively impacts both you and your family.
Journal prompts on self-care:
How do I prioritise myself?
Am I consistent?
What are the signs that I'm neglecting my self-care?
If there is one thing I could put in place what would it be?
If you'd like to get in touch and book a free discovery call, you can contact Claire at email@example.com