Self-care for Mamas: What I’ve Learned – by Kayla Madder

1) Routine 

I wanted to start my self-care week off with establishing some sort of routine so that self-care would be a little more organic in my day-to-day. I have a tendency to ignore self-care, and then when I start to get really stressed out, it’s quite the task to make it happen again. 

Because of this, I knew a routine would probably be a better strategy. My “routine” consisted of making and enjoying a tea each morning and doing my daily practice. This was an amazing habit for me to get into to centre myself and focus on what needed to be done that day. 

2) Use the resources available to you and don’t be afraid to ask for help! 

It stresses me out when I know I have attainable tasks or self-care practices to get done but then #momlife happens and I don’t get to complete those tasks. Anyone else?!

This makes me feel like my work/goals/happiness/wellness aren’t a priority and that breeds resentment. I’m a huge Brene Brown fan and she talks about resentment being a sign of needing to set boundaries.

So when I’m feeling stressed or resentful, I know my first steps need to be setting boundaries, asking for help, and being a little selfish about protecting the time I need to accomplish the tasks that are important to me.

This usually comes down to having serious conversations with my family about exactly what kind of time I need, then asking the supports we have in town if they can help out with watching the kids some days, and then following through. All three of these steps can be uncomfortable at first, but trust me, they get easier and easier and the end result gets better and better!

3) PLAY AS A FAMILY 

This does not mean you need to be playing Barbies as a part of your self-care. The kind of play I mean is something that your whole family enjoys. During my self-care week, my family decided to go to family swim time at the nearby leisure centre because we all love to swim. And we had a blast!

So why would play be important for adults?? Prioritizing time for play is connected to wholehearted living (again – Brene Brown) and is also great for overall family dynamics. An extra bonus – It’s amazing how patient kids can be sometimes when you’ve put in some time playing with them before moving on to a task that you need to accomplish while they play independently.

4) Remind yourself that self-care is guilt-free

Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. Don’t be afraid to get childcare. It’s not selfish even if you’re not doing it in order to work – we all need a break sometimes! I would suggest @skbabysitters, one of the amazing Ask Mum directory members, if you ever need childcare.

While taking advantage of my children being cared for out of my home during my self-care week, it felt great to get some chores and work done around home without someone hanging off of me or making a mess on top of the area I just cleaned. It was a big mental health win, so that’s never selfish!

5) Self-care doesn’t have to cost money! 

Days 1 & 2 of my self-care week were more low-key, affordable ideas, as most self-care practice probably would be. For most people, the “splurge” type appointments (which I did in the later days of the week) would be less frequent, but also effective. All options are great, but self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are so many options!

6) Self-care is individual and involves choices 

My self-care will not look exactly the same as anyone else’s because we all have different likes and dislikes. For the longest time, I thought self-care was silly because I had the impression that self-care only involved a handful of activities which I had no interest in doing.

 The reality is that self-care is what you make it. There is something for everyone because as long as you enjoy spending time doing SOMETHING in your life that is good for your mental or physical health, then you know of a self-care activity to engage in.

There are so many options to try and we just have to see how things feel. If they feel enjoyable and beneficial, then that’s great. If not, it’s ok to decide that’s not a self-care practice for you. Self-care really starts with weeding out the good options from the bad as far as what is going to work best for you!

7) Permission

Give yourself permission to make self-care a priority or it won’t happen. I struggle with thinking I could be making better use of my time than taking a bath (or any other self-care practice).

But in reality, self-care tends to make me more productive, more patient, and a better Mom! 

So it’s worth it, and I constantly have to remind myself of that. I know that if I don’t think of self-care as important enough or make it a priority, no one else will. And the extra special part of this is by giving yourself permission to hold your wellbeing up as a priority, you’ll be teaching your kids to do the same 😊 

8) Sustainability 

I’m sure most of us typically couldn’t do a week solid of just focusing on self-care. So what little things can you build into your every day? What things can you build in weekly? Monthly? 

What things do you enjoy that you also know will make a difference for your mental/physical health and can be easily incorporated into your life?

Like I mentioned in #1, I focused on building a bit of a daily self-care routine of tea and my daily practice. This is easy enough because I only need about 15 minutes each morning to complete it. And I find that if I don’t consistently do my daily practice, my to do list becomes completely unattainable and I start feeling very anxious in all the overwhelm = not great for my mental health.

So that’s just one small example of how committing 15 minutes each day to self-care can go a long way!

Additionally, kindness goes a long way. Be kind to yourself if you don’t follow your self-care routine perfectly or if you don’t get everything checked off your to do list. It’s okay!

Late is better than never and tomorrow’s always a fresh start. Self-care shouldn’t be stressful or feel like a chore. Sometimes you just have to roll with letting it be what it will be and get back on track or make little changes whenever it makes sense to do so.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share, Mama? Comment below!

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