Did you know that moms report that they get, on average, less than 30 minutes of alone time each day?
Who am I kidding? Of course you do. You’re a mom.
But what can we do about it?
Is there a cure?
Or is that just the price we pay when we have a family?
Anytime I talk about self-care I hear the same response. It goes a little somethin’ like this:
Well, first off, you’re right! Very few of us have time for hours a day of pampering and luxury (and if you do, please send me your secrets asap!), but that doesn’t mean that we are destined for a life absent of self-care until our kids are grown.
So, in the spirit of self-care awareness, today I’d like to do two things for you.
First, I want to define self-care.
And then, I want to share 6 simple (and FREE) ways you can care for yourself so that you can better care for those around you.
Here we go…
WHAT IS SELF-CARE???
Self-care is the act of caring for your basic needs so you don’t go crazy.
Sounds simple enough, eh?
But motherhood these days seems to cut us off from that possibility. We’ve defined being “mom” as putting our kids at the very top of the list and putting ourselves at the very bottom.
Buuuuuuut…I think it is time to adjust our priorities a bit.
Am I suggesting that we all start neglecting our babies and travel the world while checking off things on our bucket lists?
Of course not. (Even if that does sound tempting on especially trying days with my threenager…or baby…or preschooler…or seven year old.)
I am suggesting, however, that we take a look at these questions:
How have we gotten to this place where we believe that it is necessary (and honorable) to neglect our own well-being in the name of putting our kids first?
And what if, by putting ourselves last, we are unintentionally depriving our families of better care, given by a better cared for momma?
See, when our proverbial cups are full, we can pour into others freely and generously and happily. But, no matter how hard we try, we can’t pour from an empty cup.
Now, let’s face the music…The idea of change and growth is exciting and all, but it only works when we put energy behind it.
So now I’d like to share the last part of my promise with you.
I want to share 6 actionable steps that you can take to fill your cup every single day:
GET ENOUGH REST.
Pictures of sleeping moms don’t exist…so in order to show you what rest looks like, here is a sleeping cat. 🙂
The same way you can’t be expected to thrive on 100 calories a day, you also can’t thrive on 3 hours of sleep. As moms we are often tempted to burn the midnight oil in order to finally get some time to ourselves, but better self-care means giving yourself a bedtime and sticking to it. Lights out by 11:00, Sister. Better rest = fuller cup.
And for you mommas of newborns, we’ve been there, and we all feel your pain. Get as much rest as you can. Dishes and dusting can wait.
NOURISH YOUR BODY.
If the fuel tank on your car is empty and you decide to save a trip to the fuel station by filling up with odds and ends from your garbage, you wouldn’t get very far, would you? And you’d face a mountain of repairs to your vehicle, as well.
Well, it turns out that it works the same with your body.
If you aren’t fueling it with REAL food that gives you energy, you are not going to run optimally.
So when you fill your plate, fill it with things that will nourish your body.
P.S. Let’s get real. Most of us don’t eat organic, all natural, healthy foods 100% of the time, but if you work to make most of your foods real foods, then you will be filling your tank with the kinds of things you were designed to run on.
We all know our bodies need water. But I cannot even believe how many people don’t actually drink it.
And none of this, “but I don’t like water” stuff.
The only reason your brain says that is because you’re addicted to something else. So buy a water bottle, and carry it with you everywhere you go.
Proper hydration will make you a happier (and healthier) person. Bonus, you won’t be drinking your calories, which will likely lead to a drop on the scale, too. 🙂
It turns out that, just like your body needs water, it also needs oxygen. 🙂 And most of us are breathing very shallowly during the day.
So do your body a favor and spend a few minutes in the morning (before the crazy kicks in) breathing deeply. When we get more oxygen into our bodies, we are immediately energized. Don’t believe me? Try it now. Stop what you’re doing and take 3 big, deep breaths.
(Another bonus, you can do this any time throughout the day. Feel your blood pressure rising? Take a deep breath. Kids driving you bonkers? Take a deep breath…or 10 or 20. It will totally help get you into a place where you can take care of business successfully. Thank you, Daniel Tiger’s Mom…Sing it with me…Take a deep breath, and count to 4.) 🙂
MOVE YOUR BODY.
Sometimes we just need to move our bodies in order to feel a change. You don’t have to pay for a gym membership or carve out 3 hours for cardio. Just move your body with purpose everyday. You’ll be surprised at how much it can help.
As women, we think other people should be able to read our minds and our tones. (Did you know that women are more sensitive to tone than men are???)
We especially think our husbands should have this power.
We say things like “I’m fine.” When we are very obviously not “fine.”
We expect them to know how we feel and what we need.
But guess what? They won’t know unless we tell them.
I saved this one for last, but it is just as important as all the others. In order to communicate well, we need to use the words to say the things. And SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.
Tell the people around you what you need to fill your cup.
Maybe for you, your cup gets filled when you’re asked what you’re excited about, or what task someone can complete for you.
Or maybe your cup gets filled when you are physically touched.
You could be someone who needs to be told that you are appreciated.
Whatever it is for you, just say it.
You should know that it is okay to say what you mean. Because if you don’t say it, they won’t know it.
So take care of yourself by learning how to communicate your needs and feelings.
. . . . .
When we choose to accept the idea that our needs don’t matter and that this is “just the price mothers pay,” we choose to under-nourish the ones who depend on us for their well-being.
But by prioritizing our needs and nourishing our minds and bodies, we will be able to better care for those who need us.
Self-care is not selfish. It is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, now you see it, not as something that is impossible to attain, but as something that is well within your grasp.
Now, go fill your cup, Momma. 🙂
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I’m so glad you’re here!
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And as always,