being a mom

Mind Over Mommy: Self-Care Strategies For Moms

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To begin, start small.

Implementing any sort of change in routine is difficult, no matter how beneficial it might be. Self-care is no different. If you’re currently frazzled, stressed out, and struggling to cram everything into your hectic schedule, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to drop everything and start a daily practice of meditating for 45 minutes before sunrise.

That’s okay.

Commit to doing something for a small amount of time or an easily attainable goal to get yourself started. Maybe it’s a five-minute walk after lunch, or writing down three things that made you smile in a journal each night. Pick something you can handle that will help you de-stress, unload, or introduce more healthful habits into your life, and don’t worry if it feels too small to be significant. Follow through on one small thing and then you can build from there.

Remember to be realistic.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with starting small, but it’s important to say it anyway. Do not turn self-care into another thing to beat yourself up about. It’s not self-care if you spend the whole time abusing and berating yourself. If you skip a few days, fine. If something else cuts into your time, do your best to work around whatever is going on. If your goal was to take a five-minute walk but instead you decide to sit down and eat a delicious candy bar, good for you. Treating yourself is taking care of yourself too.

Also, temper your expectations. Don’t quit on the idea of self-care entirely just because you got one massage and all your life problems aren’t solved yet. A lot of us have been neglecting ourselves and our needs for a long time. That doesn’t disappear overnight.

Build a support system.

No mom is an island. You can live that way for a long time, but it’s very unhappy and lonely. I have a really hard time making friends, so I know the idea of building a supportive network of people can feel impossible. Consider it a part of — you guessed it — self-care. Try a new activity like a book club or a workout class. Go to a story time with your kids. Even use social meetup sites, like meetup.com to find like-minded people in your area. If you’re not short on friends, reach out to your existing support system and work to strengthen your bonds and re-invest in your friendships.

Parenting is hard, okay? You need people. You need to be able to vent and laugh, to talk out the hard stuff, and to have people you feel you can relate to. You need people in your corner. Do what it takes to get them there. Also, if your support system sucks? Kick the sucky people to the curb. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

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