Self-care was tricky to fit in before having kids, but as a mum of a 9 month old I know how hard it is to look after yourself as a mum. When I was pregnant, I promised myself that I would role model self care for my little girl, so that she grew up into a woman who also took care of herself. Well, the reality of motherhood hit me harder than I imagined and I must say, I haven’t been so good with self care lately.
I think one of the things that keeps us from taking care of ourselves is imagining self care as a day spa, or a long bubble bath, or some kind of expensive, time-consuming luxury. And it really doesn’t have to be! In fact, I think the best self-care is the little things we can do every day to care for ourselves. So I’ve compiled a list of the smallest, simplest acts of self care that you can integrate into your daily routine.
Play your favourite song
This is such a great, easy way to shift your mood and turn a mundane task into something a little better. When you’re doing the dishes, or folding the laundry, or driving to work – whatever it is, wherever you are, put on your favourite playlist and sing or dance along. It is the simplest thing, and it takes no extra time, but it really can make you feel so much better.
Stretch your body
Stretching is a great way to introduce gentle movement into your body, and it has an added benefit of reducing tension and tightness. It doesn’t take long, and you don’t have to stretch every muscle group at once – just notice where your body is tense and stretch it. Legs, arms, shoulders, back, neck, chest.. these can all be stretched and it feels so good to do it! You can even get your kids to join in if they’re with you. Trust me, give yourself 2 minutes to stretch and you’ll thank yourself for it.
Take a deep breath
It almost sounds too simple, but it’s really powerful. When was the last time you took a really big, deep breath in and out? So many of us are getting through the day breathing really shallow and not focusing on our breath at all. One big, deep breath can help bring you back into the present moment, calm your mind (even if just for a moment) and reduce stress. Obviously take more than one if you can, but one will do if that’s all you can manage. Make time in your day for a deep breath – in the shower, on the toilet, when you’re driving – and you’ll probably find it much easier to cope with whatever the day throws at you.
Remember to eat & drink
It’s a really easy habit to get into, and I’ll admit I’m not perfect at it – but remembering to feed yourself and drink enough water every day is so important. You don’t forget to feed your kids, so why do you skip your own meals? Making your food a priority is a huge act of self-care, and it doesn’t have to be gourmet organic salads or anything fancy – just eat! I notice that on days I don’t eat enough, I feel more anxious, scattered, tired and overwhelmed. We need energy to thrive and food is where we get that energy, so it’s impossible to feel your best when you haven’t eaten properly. Hydration is just as important – especially if you’re going heavy on the caffeine after a sleepless night!
Self-care is definitely something that takes practice, and it’s not about time-consuming, expensive or luxury things. Self-care is about making time for yourself, putting yourself on the priority list and giving yourself (even just a fraction of) the care you give to your children. Try one of these super simple self-care tips and see how you feel for the rest of the day!