You’ve got a to-do list a mile long, and you’re exhausted from long days of work and taking care of the kids — not to mention cleaning up around the house and getting to all your other responsibilities. Sound familiar? If it does, you need to take a breath and make some time for self-care, which doesn’t have to be elaborate. Self-care can be as easy as pausing for 60 seconds to look at your favorite work of art or belting out Uptown Funk in the driveway before dashing off to pick up the kids. Anything you do just because it feels good to you and helps you relieve some of your daily stress is self-care. If you think you don’t have time for self-care, think again. Practicing regular self-care can actually make you a better mom. Here’s how:
Self-care doesn’t have to take big chunks of time away from your kids.
There are so many ways to pause and clear your head that take only a minute or two, so let go of any guilt you have about stopping what you’re doing for self-care. From short breathing exercises to a 60-second meditation app, if you have time to go to the bathroom, you have time to de-stress.
Self-care sets a loving example.
Though it’s perfectly fine to lock yourself in the bathroom to get that breathing exercise in while your kids are whooping it up in the living room, you should never feel like you have to hide your self-care routines. Taking time for yourself shows your kids that self-care is important, and you can model routines that teach them to value their own mental health needs as they grow older.
Self-care injects creativity into your life.
The best self-care will fill your moments with something you love, and this is often a chance to bring something beautiful or artistic into your home. Whether you choose to listen to music, write a poem or do some doodling, creative endeavors can make your feel good and give your family something to enjoy together.
Self-care improves your overall health.
Part of self-care is listening to your body. When you take the time to breathe, stretch, practice yoga or take a jog, you’re improving your overall physical health as well. Reducing stress can actually help you live longer, giving you more time to care for and enjoy your family. What could be more important than that?
Self-care can help you set boundaries.
When you start to tune in to your needs, you get better at setting boundaries. It’s ok to say no to picking up extra volunteer work or to spending time with people who wear you out. When you set boundaries for yourself, you’re also less likely to encroach on your kids’ boundaries — avoiding the dreaded helicopter parent syndrome.
Self-care restores your energy.
The whole point of taking a little time out for yourself is that you’ll recharge and have even more energy to give to your family. When your energy reserves are depleted, you just can’t be the mom you want to be. You’ll be amazed at how a short time-out for yourself refreshes you and lets you face the rest of your day with more pep in your step.
Self-care makes you a happier person.
When you’re stressed, you’re much more likely to snap and yell at your kids — or worse. That’s not healthy for anyone. Taking care of yourself first is like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping other people on the plane. You simply must do it to be effective at caring for others. When you attend to your own happiness, you’ll have more to give to your children — who will always be grateful to you for creating a warm, loving home. What are you waiting for? Find a self-care routine that works for you. Even if you start with just three 60-second mental health breaks in your day, taking the time to recharge will only make you and your family stronger.