As moms, it’s so easy to get caught up in caring for our children and our households that we let our own basic needs fall to the wayside.
Making time for self-care, from basics like a daily hot shower to occasional massage treatments, allows us to feel more like ourselves, refreshed and able to tackle whatever comes our way.
Self care isn’t just about hot baths and manicures, although those pampering sessions can be exactly what you need! Here are some self care ideas for busy moms, so that you can fill your own cup before filling your children’s.
Nourish your body
Making time to hydrate and feed yourself keeps you going, so you can keep up with your kids.
Try to drink throughout the day by carrying a large water bottle with you. Add a splash of lemon to make it more enticing.
Make it a priority to eat three meals a day, plus snacks in between.
Meal prep tips:
Prepare and freeze homemade granola bars or energy balls in sandwich bags. Just pull a bag out of the freezer the night before for breakfast on the go.
Prep individual servings of smoothie ingredients in the freezer, so making an afternoon snack is a breeze.
Make extra portions when you make dinner, so you can heat the leftovers for lunch.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym!
Put your kids in a baby carrier or the stroller with a snack and head outside for a walk in the fresh air or around the mall on cold winter days.
Do some light stretches while you play with your kids on the floor.
Find a weekly yoga or dance class that you love.
Anything that gets your body moving releases endorphins, energizes you and helps you feel refreshed. Chasing your toddler around the park absolutely counts.
Get Enough Sleep
It isn’t as glamorous as a spa treatment, but no one can function without sleep! As tempting as it may be to stay up late after everyone’s in bed and the house is finally quiet, if you have to be up early, try to get into bed as early as you can. You don’t always have to sleep when the baby (or toddler) sleeps, but on days when your baby kept you up all night, you’re better off taking a nap with him, if you can, than trying to get things done on no sleep.
Take a long shower or a hot bath
After the kids are in bed or if you have some help during the day, find the time to occasionally let the hot water run over you till you’re all mellow and pruny! The hot water soothes sore muscles and there’s nothing better than the clean, fresh-from-the-shower feeling.
Get straight into your cozy pajamas when you get out.
Do a face mask or dry brush your skin before hoping in the shower.
Add Epsom salts to your bath water, to take advantage of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Make a mommy play date!
Arrange a quiet coffee while your kids are in school or invite a mom friend over, so your kids can play together while you shmooze. Spending time connecting with our friends, especially other moms, is integral for our mental health. If you’re on maternity leave or stay home with your kids full time, it’s important to make time to have some adult conversation!
Go to Therapy
Talking to other moms is essential, but nothing replaces unbiased support from a mental health professional, whether you’re seriously struggling or not. New motherhood is an intense adjustment and being able to talk about it freely, without fearing judgement and with someone trained to help you work through all your feelings about it can take some of the weight off. You may literally leave feeling lighter!
Get a Massage
If you’re expecting, a prenatal massage is the perfect way to sooth your aching and expanding body and help prepare it for birth. Postpartum, a good massage can help you recovery from pregnancy and birth and even help break up scar tissue from a c-section incision. In Ontario, RMT’s are covered by many extended benefits plans.
Time by yourself is always important, but once you have kids, you may need to put it on the calendar or schedule babysitter to make it happen. Read a book, write in a journal, go for a manicure or meditate for a few minutes of peace and quiet.