30 bite-size ways for frazzled mums to improve their wellbeing and reclaim their sense of self.
Self care isn’t selfish! It’s essential, not only for your own health and wellbeing, but for the wellbeing and future happiness of your children too.
But when you're a parent, putting yourself first often comes... well, last.
The hardest part of becoming a mum for me has been, without doubt, the loss of “self”.
Instead of waking up in the morning thinking:
“What am I going to do today?”
“What am I going to achieve?
“What do I need to feel happy?”
“What am I going to do with Lula today?”
“How am I going to keep her entertained and engaged?”
“What does she need to feel happy?”
On the odd occasion that you do pursue your own desires, getting jobs done, doing some work, spending time with others, even just scrolling through Instagram, the mum guilt comes for you!
Especially if you feel your little one “suffered” as a result of your appalling selfishness e.g. being plonked in front of the TV for a bit too long.
(Newsflash: they didn't)
You spend the whole evening feeling like you’ve failed as a mum. That you’ve let your little one down.
(Newsflash: you didn't!)
Completely disregarding your needs is not good for anyone.
It can leave you feeling frazzled, depressed, resentful and vacant, which means you’re not giving your best to your kids, your partner, your friends, colleagues or anyone around you.
Plus it sets a bad example to your kids!
If you want them to grow up to be ambitious, driven adults who are empathetic towards others and kind to themselves, guess what?
You need to be one of those too!
So how do we mums maintain some kind of “me-ness” (yes that’s a word now) without our babies suffering or beating ourselves up afterwards?
We’d all love to swan off to a yoga retreat and spend a week stretching, meditating, relaxing, getting in touch with our inner child and nourishing our minds, bodies and souls.
But unless you’ve got a very generous babysitter and about £1500 to spare, that ain’t gonna happen easily.
And how long will those “zen” effects last once you’re back in the madhouse anyway?
Instead of this all-or-nothing approach, I recommend the just-do-something approach.
Find little ways to give yourself a bit of love on a daily basis.
That’s EVERY day Mama - not once in a blue moon.
Get started by printing out my “Self Care Bingo” sheet below and sticking it on your fridge door.
Each night, pick something you’re going to do tomorrow, based on your plans and commitments for the next day.
If you know you’ve got a full-on day with the kids ahead, pick something really small, such as doing 5 minutes of deep breathing. You could do it just after you've got them to bed.
If you’ve got a little bit more time to yourself the next day, instead of spending that time vacuuming again, go for something more ambitious such as trying a new skill - something you've always wanted to try.
The important thing is to do SOMETHING for yourself consistently, every single day.
Check them off as you go along and try to get five in a row in one week.
Then go for a new row and keep going until you've checked them all off.
Gradually, with practice, self-care will become a habit, you'll start to see the positive impact that has on others around you, and giving yourself some thought will begin to feature on your priority list.
I'd love to know how you get on! Please tag me on Instagram - @mykindamum