Yes, you read that right: yet another blog post on self-care. Self-care seems to be one of the biggest buzzwords of the moment, so I don’t blame you if the title of this post made you roll your eyes a little…
Because let’s face it: not all of us have the time (or the energy) to indulge in a candle-lit soak in the tub partnered with a super-fancy sheet mask that doesn’t seem to fit your face properly. Truth is, for some of us (read: moms), a quick 5-minute bathroom break sans children is about as close as we’ll get to self-care this week.
And as much as I can appreciate a good bath bomb or 30 minutes to spend on painting my nails, I also get that although these self-care practices may look good on a curated Instagram feed, they simply might not work for you – and that’s ok!
That said, there’s no denying that self-care is vital for your well-being. We all need to carve out a little ‘me-time’ to allow our bodies and minds to relax amidst all the chaos that comes with juggling motherhood, a busy career, and running a household. Taking a few minutes for yourself not only gives you a chance to catch your breath and become more present, it also resets your brain and gives you a chance to check in with how you’re really feeling, before anxiety or overwhelm sets in. Read on for 5 of my favourite self-care tips for busy moms… they may not be very Instagrammable, but they definitely work!
Listen to your favourite podcast
Back when we lived in Johannesburg and it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend a good couple of hours in traffic every day, I never used to leave the house without downloading a couple of my favourite podcasts to listen to during my commute. Not only did this help distract me from the traffic, but it turned what would’ve been an incredibly boring hour or two into very valuable me-time… in fact, I started finding myself looking forward to long car trips!
Since moving to Greyton (and having eradicated traffic from my life almost completely), I’ve started listening to podcasts while out on my morning walk and even while doing boring chores, such as folding laundry or washing the dishes. It turns an otherwise dreary task into an infinitely more pleasurable activity!
Go for a walk
Sometimes showing yourself a little love is as simple as forcing yourself to get up from behind your desk and getting out of the office (or your house) for a quick stroll around the block. I walk Beanie to school every single morning, and after I’ve dropped him off at school, I continue on and take the long way home.
It felt like a chore for the first few times that I did this, but it’s become one of my favourite daily rituals – even on a chilly winter morning! The fresh, crisp air wakes me up, and there’s nothing better than the feel of sunshine on my face first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day, and even if I don’t manage to squeeze in another single second for myself all day, it’s ok – this simple daily ritual is all I need to keep me feeling relatively calm and focused all day long.
If a morning walk doesn’t fit into your routine, try going for a stroll around the block during your lunch hour or after work.
Start meal planning
If you’re anything like me, you may consider this one more of a chore than self-care… but hear me out: sifting through recipe books, putting together a shopping list of ingredients, and going grocery shopping sure does seem a whole lot more like work than self-care, but having wholesome, healthy snacks and meals at the ready all week long certainly help you to feel more on top of things.
I like to do a big grocery shop on a Sunday morning, then I’ll come home and spend an hour or two batch-cooking a bunch of meals for the week ahead: think veggie cottage pie, a big pot of soup, a basic lentil sauce that can be used to make a veggie spag bol or delicious sloppy joes, and I’m good to go! I’ll make at least two or three freezer-friendly meals so that I know that I have nutritious meals ready to go for most of the week, and I’ll also stock up on a bunch of snacks – hummus, carrot sticks (that I’ll chop up ahead of time to make things even easier), celery sticks, rice cakes, and the like.
I love knowing that there’s always a hearty, home-cooked meal available in the freezer – it makes me feel like a good mom, and I like knowing that I’m fueling my body with all the good stuff, too. (I’ve even found myself looking forward to my Sunday cooking sessions – I find spending an hour or two in the kitchen rather therapeutic if I’m honest. Throw in a good podcast, and I’m sorted!)
Go for coffee with your bestie
It seems as though my schedule is always bursting at the seams, so much so that I rarely find the time to catch up with my friends – apart from a few hurried voice notes while cooking supper or folding laundry. Thing is, whenever I go out of my way to see my friends – even if only for a quick hour-long catch up over coffee – I feel a million times better.
As a work-from-home mama, I can easily go days without seeing or speaking to anyone other than my child, and as much as I adore him, I’ve found that I need a little grown up interaction every couple of days to function optimally. It gives me the opportunity to escape from the hum-drum of everyday life, I get to vent if I need to, and I have the chance to compare notes with a fellow mom boss. I almost always leave a coffee date with a friend feeling a million times better than I did before: more connected, more confident, more supported.
Take up a hobby that’s just for you
I recently started knitting, even though I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I had grand visions of knitting a beanie for my Bean Child and started watching and following a bunch of YouTube videos to get the hang of things, before giving up and sticking to a simple scarf design. It’s nothing fancy (and will probably only be ready for use next winter), but I find that it’s a great way to quieten my mind and force me to put down my phone.
I usually knit a few rows while watching TV in the evenings before bed (during what used to be optimum Instagram scroll time), and sometimes take a pause in the middle of the work day to enjoy a cup of coffee and spot of knitting… I love how this little ritual forces me to take time out of my busy day, allows me to quieten my mind, and gives me a chance to zen out for a few minutes.
Not keen to try knitting? Why not buy yourself a sketch book and some fancy new pencils and start drawing for 10 minutes every morning? Or get one of those adult colouring books and try that instead? The point is to find something that gives you a chance to slow down and connect with yourself… and to have a little fun while you’re at it!
PS: Slap on a face mask while attempting any of the above for extra self-care points – this is my current favourite.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you give yourself a chance to unwind and reset for at least 20 minutes every day. It’s the least you can do to ensure that you’re performing optimally – you can’t pour from an empty cup, after all!
What do you think? Will you be carving out a few minutes for some much-needed self-care going forward? And how will you be spending that time? Do you have any self-care tips or ideas to share with me? I’d love to know!