As a mom, your life is all about caring for others. Whether you’re rocking someone to sleep, fixing a boo-boo or literally feeding your baby with your own body, the spotlight is always on someone else’s needs. But it’s essential that you turn that spotlight on yourself every once in a while, too. It’s your instinct to put yourself second, of course, but that comes at a cost to your mental and physical health. Here’s how your lack of self-care is getting you down — and how you can fix it ASAP:
It De-Stresses You
No one will ever deny that a mom’s life is a stressful one. From latching to toddler tantrums to parent-teacher conferences to watching your 16-year-old drive alone for the first time, you’re sure to feel tension throughout the process of raising a child from infant to adult. Stress has a hand in so many of the chronic health issues that plague so many of us, whether we’re moms or not. But if you’re regularly experiencing headaches, depression, anxiety or gastrointestinal problems, it could be related to that constant tension you feel. Plus, stress can worsen heart disease, asthma and diabetes, and it hastens the aging process. In other words, invest in self-care now to banish this sensation that does nothing but worsen the way you feel.
It Makes You Feel Stronger
You might think that pausing from your endless to-do list will make you feel weak, like you can’t handle the mom life. But you’ll find that your self-care regimen has the opposite effect: you’ll feel even stronger. That’s because you’re no longer waiting for someone else to relieve you or for another person to make you feel good: you’re taking responsibility for your well-being. With that kind of ownership, you’ll feel so empowered and powerful, sentiments that will carry into the moments when you’re doing things outside of the realm of self-care. And your kids will see a confident mom at the helm, which will inspire them to grow their self-esteem to be like yours.
It Balances Your Relationships
In a similar vein, your self-care regimen will show you that you’re responsible for your happiness, not anyone else. This isn’t to say that your kids have been dragging you down or making you unhappy; instead, it’s to note that self-care will help you re-balance your relationships with other grown-ups on whom you’ve grown to depend for relief and relaxation. Now, you can just enjoy time with your partner or your family members, rather than expecting them to make you feel happy or good about yourself. Sure, their presence is a boon to your state of mind, but you can make yourself feel better without the help of another. This means you’re independent — and, more importantly, not co-dependent — and able to restore balance to your relationship.
It Keeps You Healthy
When you’re not taking care of yourself — not eating right, not sleeping well, not taking vitamins, etc. — you’re putting yourself in danger of getting sick. And, as you know, that is the least convenient thing that can happen to a mom on the go. Your self-care regimen can help you to ward off sickness more effectively because your bodily systems will no longer be at their maximum. You’ll give yourself time to sleep, exercise, eat well and socialize, all of which make you feel good — and keep you healthy for the long haul.
It Makes You a Better Parent
There’s nothing worse than feeling tired and stressed out and letting that change the way you parent. You’re not alone in this experience: many moms and dads allow outside stressors to affect them and the way they treat their kids. It’s not fair to anyone in the family. That’s why self-care is so important to you as a parent. You want to give, give, give, but you can’t give anything if you’re at the end of your rope. Therefore, taking care of yourself and replenishing those nurturing resources through “you” time is vital. You’ll be a more present, calmer and happier parent.
It Makes You a Better Role Model
Children want to be just like their parents — are you modeling the type of grown-up they should strive to become? If you’re having trouble validating self-care and private time, think of it this way: if you take care of yourself, your children will want to do the same for themselves in the future. Even now, though, the way you treat yourself will make you feel better, which will affect the way you act, too. You’ll be able to exemplify all of the behaviors your children should learn: generosity, open-mindedness, self-esteem and, of course, self-care. Something as simple as exercising and eating your veggies will show your children how to feel good as adults, too. And, in the end, that’s what this is all about: being better for yourself makes you better to your kids and everyone else you love. That’s why self-care is so important — and why you should make it a part of your life.
It’s Easy to Do, Too
Now, those six bullet points are more than enough incentive for you to get started on your self-care journey. The last thing left to do is to teach you how to do it so that you start feeling the benefits ASAP. Think about what you enjoy doing and what de-stresses you. Everyone’s self-care regimen will be different, of course, but here are some of the tried-and-true methods of taking care of your mental and physical health:
- Journaling, which helps you express your feelings and come up with solutions to lingering problems in your life
- Bubble baths, because they’re relaxing and they go wonderfully with your favorite glass of wine
- Exercise, since sweating is so effective in de-stressing you and improving your fitness
- Picking up a new hobby and honing it just because you love it
- Yoga and meditation, which teach you to breathe deeply and live in the present moment
Once you find your self-care go-to, all you have to do it stick with it and wait to feel your best. We promise, it’s as simple as that — and you’ll only have yourself to thank for making life as a mom even sweeter.