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10 Tips for Self Care: Mom Edition

I know we mostly discuss aspects of physical health because that's more our forte, but we also promote and practice MomLife Balance. Having a balanced life does wonders for your mental health, and good mental health does wonders for your physical health.

If you've ever had a well you know that without rain and little care, the well will run dry. If it remains dry, over time it will crack, and won't retain water.  Now, imagine that you are the well, and every boo boo you kiss, every load of laundry you fold, every little task is a glass of water drawn and the rain is your self care.  If you don't take care of yourself, you won't have anything to left to give.

I'm no professional, but I am happy,  truly happy.  I have joy in my life.  Sometimes I have to work to make the best out of a situation, but I'll be damned if I can't do it. And I always try to find a way to balance my life to keep my sanity.

Here are some simple tips to get you moving in the right direction towards self-care.

  1. Find something you love that can be enjoyed in small bits. Small bits because sometimes that's all you have time for and that's all you need to get your head in the game. If you love crosswords or sudoku, keep these books handy and pull them out whenever you can. Karaoke? whip out the iPod, hook up to some speakers, and let it loose to your song. My kid actually loves singing and dancing so this is a good one to do together that will bounce me out of a funk. Find a book that you want to read and lay on the floor with the kids and just read aloud. Or when you're nursing. When I did this I'd read a chapter here and there and he got exposure to vocabulary and intonation to help shape his growing brain.
  2. Take some time to yourself. Some people may need the opposite, and for you extroverts, skip to the tidbit below. I am definitely an introvert so I recharge with me time. I can easily get worn out with constantly making decisions, planning, and basically being needed. I love spending time with my kid, but sometimes doing kid directed activities all day leaves me yearning for my adult time.  When you've had a hard day, take a bath with some essential oils, read a magazine, and spend a little time with yourself (and a fluffy bathrobe). 
  3. Spend some time nourishing friendships. Call up a friend and catch up. Meet your husband for after work drinks. Invite another mommy over for a play date, preferably one that involves wine for the adults and unstructured playtime for the kids. It's all the rage in developmental circles now, haven't you heard? I remember my first date out with my husband after our first baby was born. We left our son with grandma for the evening and went out for dinner and drinks. We only had one rule: no talking about the baby. It was the best date with the best person and in the trenches of new motherhood, it was the ultimate in self care.
  4. Exercise. You might think this was supposed to be sort of a fitness free zone, but just as good mental health aids in good physical health, good physical health, in turn, boosts mental health. Even if all you have time for is a five minute sun salutation sequence, it's good to release some endorphins and get your blood pumping. 
  5. Forgive and forget. Forgive yourself for not being the perfect mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc. We are all trying to be better, go easy on yourself. Motherhood is hard. Next, forget about all those to do lists, the pile of laundry, the fact that dinner isn't made, and all the little things you feel you're neglecting. Now, just take time to enjoy where you are in life. Get on the floor and play with your kids. Look out at nature. Just get out of your head for a moment and enjoy what is your present. Learn to meditate.
  6. Create small joyful routines. People thrive on routine. Something as simple as a bedtime routine with scented lotion and a cup of sleepytime tea, or a full morning routine with an apple cider vinegar drink, a workout, and steamy shower.  Having something you can count on makes everyone feel stable. Routines make your day easier and provide you a little something to look forward to. To add one, start by analyzing your day and determining where you need stability, or even just where you can fit in a little time to yourself. Wish you had time for coffee in the morning? Get up a little earlier and make a coffee routine with your favorite variety and listen to your wake up playlist while you brew.
  7. Unplug your tablet, phone, wherever your social media and news is coming from. Social media is the glamour shot of everyone's life so don't let Maggie’s trip to Bora Bora make you feel boring boring. Be happy with the little things in life. Give me a nap in the hammock and I'm all set. Further, ignore the news for awhile if hearing about politics and tragedy will turn your mood sour. It's okay to live in your own bubble occasionally!
  8. Take a nap. Sleep deprivation as a new mom is real! It can also be an ongoing way of life once kids come around. If you have the opportunity, grab a nap and refresh yourself. I know my fuse is shorter and I'm not as pleasant if I'm short on sleep.
  9. Get out. I know especially as a new mom I sometimes got stir crazy in the house and just needed to get out. When your kids are old enough, go to the park or a local play center for a change in scenery. When they're itty bitty just head to your favorite local boutique or Target and take some time to browse.
  10. Check something off your to-do list. If you are the type of person that feels a rush when you check something off your long standing to do list, then do it. I know it helps me mentally to get things done because I don't feel it hanging over my head.  Letting my kiddo play in the dirt while I pull weeds, or setting him up to paint at his high chair while I meal prep for the week makes me feel like a productive multitasking master.

During this crazy phase of motherhood, it's important to take care of yourself so you can best nurture your littles. That being said, if you are facing debilitating anxiety or depression, get help. If you are struggling with postpartum depression don't face it alone.

Tell us your biggest struggle and your best self care routine in the comments, we'd love to hear them!

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