It doesn’t matter who you are, self-care is for everyone. Practicing self-care gives your mind and body a chance to rest and prepare for life’s challenges. It promotes holistic wellbeing including physical, social and mental health. But what exactly does self-care look like, and how do we find the time to maintain it?
What is self-care?
Self-care is about listening to your body and giving yourself what you need in order to maintain your health. This includes your physical health like recovering from illness or injury, or getting enough sleep. It also includes your social and mental wellbeing like reducing stress, social connection, and feeling content.
Self-care is not to be confused with self-soothing! Self-soothing is what you can do in the moment to feel good. This could be something like retail therapy, comfort food, or watching your favourite feel-good movie after a bad day. While these activities are great for improving your mood in the moment, they do not provide the long-term benefits of self-care.
Self-care goes beyond what you need to cope in the moment and includes what you need to maintain your health long-term. Self-care isn’t a quick fix, it is about sustaining thoughts, activities, and behaviours that fuel your health and wellbeing. Think of self-soothing and self-care as a snack. You could opt for a chocolate bar and enjoy the pleasure in the moment but crash after the sugar high ends, or you could have a nutritious snack like yoghurt and nuts and enjoy lasting energy and nutrition your body needs.
The benefits of self-care for busy mums
Being a mum is incredibly rewarding, however it is also very demanding! We take on so many daily duties to manage ourselves, our families, and all other commitments we have in our lives. Self-care is an amazing tool every mum needs to help them do what they do best! Taking time for self-care allows you to properly rest and recharge to take on all those demanding duties.
The benefits stretch beyond your own health too. When you’re good to yourself, you show people how to respect and care for themselves. It tells others that you’ve worked hard and deserve a break. Self-care is contagious! So why not help others while you are helping yourself?
Here’s some other great benefits of self-care for you and your family…
Stress is easily passed on to those around you. Luckily, so is self-care! When you’re relaxing and in-control of your health, people feel happier when they’re around you. Positivity has a flow-on effect, so this can result in your family feeling a lot calmer.
By demonstrating self-care behaviours, this also encourages others to maintain their
self-care. Imagine a house where every family member practiced more self-care behaviours than unhealthy habits?! Start the process with your own self-care and see if you can encourage it elsewhere in your family.
Change as good as a holiday
With all the chaos of COVID-19, that dream of a relaxing vacation may be a little too far out of reach for a while. Thankfully, you don’t need to fly to an exotic island or an expensive destination to have a holiday. Self-care in the comfort of your own home can be just what you need to get that ‘holiday’ feeling.
Set some time for a stay-cation and set up some intensive self-care time! This can include anything from simple relaxation activities, to rediscovering an old hobby, or reading an invigorating new book– whatever your body is telling you you need! You may find that by doing these activities at home, you can maintain some of the benefits more easily than if you went away on holiday.
Be a role Model
Showing you can practice and maintain self-care is an amazing skill to pass on to those around you. Being able to know when to take time out can help you be a great role model for your kids. Show your kids it’s OK to take time for yourself! You can demonstrate how to put yourself first sometimes, while still managing to keep up with all the essentials. This will help show your kids how important you are and that you deserve your own time to unwind.
When you prioritize yourself you’re saying ‘yes, I’m just as important as everyone else’. Your family will notice the change and enjoy some of the benefits too. Don’t for a second think that taking some time away means letting anyone down! Sometimes, people mistakenly think that self-care may be selfish or lazy. This isn’t the case at in, in fact it is the opposite. Taking that bit of time for you makes getting on with the tasks of the week so much more manageable. Show those around you that small acts of self-care are necessary. Self-care isn’t lazy, it’s essential to managing your busy life and feeling as good as you can!