Mums often put themselves at the bottom of the priority list, often too tired or too busy to look after ourselves when we’ve been looking after others all day. But, to do this well, without the risk of burn-out, it’s so important that we keep physically and emotionally strong.
Check out my 5 essential daily self-care practices for busy Mums and the reasons why they’re so important. They’ll help you take each day in your stride and be ready to face whatever life throws at you!
What can happen if you don’t make self-care a priority?
We all know we should look after ourselves. We are not bottomless pits of energy and oomph and there’s only so much we can take before it all gets too much and we burn out. There’s loads of information out there on the physical and emotional symptoms of burn-out but the bottom line is this…
Burn-out for mums means that we end up:
- Unable to look after our families or ourselves as well as we could otherwise
- Feeling resentful about motherhood and dissatisfied with our current life
- Unable to see clearly and focus on making positive changes for the better
Just a side note, these things won’t happen to everyone and will be different for different people. But whoever you are, there are always consequences to pushing yourself too hard, for too long.
There are loads of other consequences to burn-out but, for me personally, these were three biggies that REALLY mattered when I reached burn-out in my life.
All the other things I experienced such as crying loads, feeling overwhelmed, wanting to hide under my duvet instead of facing the day etc were mere details and just symptoms of a wider problem.
But that was then. Well before I put in place some daily self-care practices that I now love and stick to!
Why is self-care so important?
We’ve taken a very brief look at what can happen if you don’t prioritise self-care. But if you’re still on the fence or think you can just carry on and hope your negative feelings will magically disappear then read on.
There are huge benefits to practicing a little bit of self-care which you can take away from reading this, even if you’re still pretty much holding things together and got this mum-life more or less sussed!
The benefits of self-care
No matter where your self-care priorities might be, practicing a little self-love every day will help you:
- Get physically strong so you can run around with your kids for as long as possible and your body is able to do all the things you require of it
- Keep emotionally strong so you can be adaptable and resilient when life tries to throw you off balance
- Set a great example for your kids that they should take care of themselves and treat their bodies and minds with respect
- Remember that you are more than just a mum (as important as that is right now in this stage of your life)
There are loads more benefits and they’ll look slightly different for everyone. This list was mine as I was brain-storming for this post!
So, now you know what happens when you neglect yourself and the benefits you get when you do invest in yourself. Let’s now look at my top 5 self-care suggestions for a busy Mum’s healthy body and mind.
Remember that you are important. You are a mum, but you’re also YOU. Look after yourself so you can keep looking after everyone else.
5 ESSENTIAL DAILY SELF-CARE PRACTICES
1. Get up earlier
If you could only do one thing then getting up earlier would be it! Wake up before the rest of the house and get a head-start on your day. Fill the time with things that you can’t really do with (or are much easier without) the kids around:
- Read a book
- Do a work-out
- Go for a walk
- Write in your diary
- Write a gratitude list
It doesn’t matter what you do but spend the time wisely. This is your time that you’ve carved out of the day.
Get a head start on your day before your kids wake up demanding breakfast and all the rest. Wake up ready for your kids, rather than to them and you’ll be in a much better mood for whatever the day throws at you.
Check out my post on how setting up a morning routine saved my sanity here.
Side note – If you’re a new mum with a tiny baby and don’t get much sleep during the night, may be wait for a while before implementing this one. There’s a season for everything and getting up at 6am when you’ve been awake half the night is probably not the right time for you!
2. Make an effort to look good so you feel good
I don’t believe that making an effort to look good necessarily makes you shallow or self-centred.
Looking good is different for everyone – some people choose to wear loads of make-up, others hate the stuff.
What I mean here is that you should make an effort to look good in whatever way that means to you.
It may just mean a clean pair of jeans and your hair is washed, or it may mean full make-up and a fresh manicure.
It doesn’t even need to take very long if you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare. Just work out what you need to do to get ready every morning and do this routinely every day.
But, by making an effort with your appearance you are also doing these things:
- Teaching your children that making an effort and showing up in your life is important
- Set a good example to your kids that they should look after their bodies and treat them kindly
- When we think we look good we are most positive, confident, fun-loving, forward-thinking and open to new opportunities
- We’re ready to go out at the drop of a hat if we run out of milk or a friend invites us out for coffee
- You remember that YOU are important, not just as a mummy or a partner, but that you have value as an individual
A good place to start is with your wardrobe and clothes. Check out this post on how to declutter your wardrobe and love your clothes. It will make it much easier to get dressed each day and feel good in whatever you’re wearing!
3. Find some time for YOU, however little
Finding time for you is so tough when you’ve got kids. I’ve been there (still am!) and it requires planning and discipline to make sure it happens.
But, even if it’s just 10 minutes, it’s so worth it.
This time is not for speed-cleaning the house or prepping the packed lunches for tomorrow. I mean that it’s time for you to do ONE THING that you love to do.
Forgotten what you love to do? It’s probably because you haven’t prioritised making time for you and you’re so used to your time being dictated to you by your endless list of daily things to do!
You’re precisely the sort of person who needs some time for yourself!
Spend some time thinking about what you enjoy (or used to enjoy) and incorporate this into your daily routine. If you can’t think of anything, flick through a magazine, check out the news headlines or run a hot bath with bubbles. Just do something that’s purely for you!
Having time for yourself:
- Let’s you relax and unwind from a busy day
- Helps you forget about your To Do list for a while and instead frees up your mind to think about other things
- It’s something you can do just for you, so you don’t lose sight of your own person, what makes you interesting, unique and special
- Prevents negative feelings such as frustration and resentment building up because you’ve been giving out to others all day long
4. Get some fresh air and go for a walk
Don’t underestimate the benefits of getting outside in the fresh air.
If you can’t get out on your own then take the kids with you, in a buggy, on a scooter, with a football, with the dog!
Dress for the weather and stride out with energy and purpose for as long as you can.
Going for a walk outside will help you because:
- Natural daylight is hugely beneficial for mental health
- The exercise from just moving your body will get the blood pumping and endorphins flowing
- You remember that there’s a big wide world out there – it’s so easy to get tunnel-vision when all you see is the four walls of your home
- It gives you time to think
5. Develop a growth mindset
This is something that is SO important for busy Mums but so often over-looked and seldom included in self-care.
When you become a Mum, your whole world gets turned upside down. Opportunities and freedom, that you once took for granted, go out of the window and your days are filled with everything about baby.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful and precious time in your life. But, it doesn’t tend to stay that way.
As our kids get older, there are more things to do and think about. We get blinkered and our kids, home and (sometimes) work become the extent of our narrowed world.
There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact for the majority of the time, it should be like this as our kids deserve to receive as much as we can give them as they’re growing up. But our kids won’t need us so much as they grow older and we move into another season of our lives.
For our own emotional well-being and a balanced, healthy mind, Mums need to remember that we are important too.
What does a growth mindset look like?
- The dreams and goals we thought about before we had kids may have changed since our kids came along, but we should still have SOME dreams and goals, even if they’re different to what they were.
- We should still seek out new opportunities for growth and development and be in the right frame of mind to explore them and try them out for size.
- We want to be engaged, energetic and curious for everything that happens in our lives and want to give things a go and explore them (we might just have to take the kids along too!).
- We should still want to expand our knowledge, experiences and interests whenever we can and be receptive to new things opening up for us.
- Your kids take the lead from you. Show them that you’re up for trying out new stuff and ready to rise to a challenge and your kids will follow your example.
This is a growth mindset and every mum should have one!
And now it’s over to you.
What are you going to do each day?
That was my top 5 list of daily self-care practices. Try them out and see how they work for you. Remember to stick at them and don’t give up if it seems too difficult at first. Most things are possible with a little planning and perseverance if you want them badly enough.
The benefits to you will be HUGE!