"Self care" for moms means different things to different people. Some moms enjoy nothing more than a day to themselves to relax and be free of obligations, while others find comfort in things like a regular skin care routine, yoga, and massages.
If you're a mom, chances are you're busy and your energy is stretched pretty thin. However, perhaps more than anybody, moms (and dads!) require downtime to feel their best.
For hard-working moms, taking care of one's own physical and mental health doesn't have to be complicated or even time consuming. Simple habits like staying organized, meditating, and making time for exercise and socializing can make all the difference.
How Moms Can Take Better Care of Themselves
When the Today show polled moms to uncover details about stress in their lives, they dug up some interesting findings:
About 60% of moms say they stress about not having enough time to get things done. Nearly 90% also feel pressure to stay fit and attractive, but feel they lack the time to focus on themselves. To make matters worse, 72% of moms reported stressing about how stressed they are! And all of these factors have just intensified through a global pandemic.
“Moms are acutely aware of the fact they do not have the time to take care of their own needs,” said Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist in New York who responded to the survey. "Forget reading a book, exercising or fun hobbies: Some moms barely have time to shower."
Given that most moms—especially those who have 3+ kids, according to reports—frequently feel overwhelmed, here are some realistic wellness tips for hard-working moms (and other caretakers, too):
1.) Write Out a Weekly Schedule
One of the surest ways to feel frazzled is to operate without a plan. To help you feel calmer and more in control, take some time over the weekend to map out important dates, appointments, and upcoming events happening in the following week.
If there's too much going on, try cutting back on non-essential tasks. And make sure you're carving out enough time to get from place to place, since rushing around is a big source of stress.
Also consider asking your spouse or someone else for help if you can't meet all the family's demands. Remember: it takes a village!
2.) Organize Your Home
Living and working in a clean, clutter-free space has been shown to help with productivity and to reduce stress. Take a day to throw out anything you don't need and to organize items that are most used and important.
If your budget allows, hire someone to help clean your home or to declutter cramped spaces like your kitchen cabinets or closet. You can also keep things tidy by assigning family members weekly chores so that everyone pitches in.
3.) Squeeze In Some Exercise
Exercise is important for far more than just your appearance. It also has the ability to naturally help fight anxiety, depression, and fatigue, plus it can improve how well you sleep. How so? Exercise releases "feel good" chemicals in your brain called endorphins, which generally make you happier and more motivated. Also, feeling strong and capable can make a huge positive difference in the quality of everyday life.
If you currently struggle to find time to exercise, consider fitting movement into your day in short bursts rather than longer sessions. And try to find activities you actually enjoy.
For example, take a walk outside when you first wake up and/or after dinner, hold "walking meetings" with co-workers instead of sitting at your desk, workout with friends rather than grabbing lunch or drinks, and do body weight exercises at home when watching TV or listening to music/a podcast.
4.) Prep Healthy Meals
While you focus on scheduling your week, consider how you can also prepare fast and healthy meals. "Meal prepping" is also about planning ahead so you're not left empty handed at home with nothing healthy to eat.
Come up with 3 to 5 meals that you can make on repeat, then dedicate at least one day per week to shop for all the ingredients you need. Determine two times each week when you can cook for about 1-2 hours, such as Sunday or Monday evening, and be sure to make extras so you have healthy leftovers for the next day. And if you have a partner or older kids, share the work with them, even if it’s doing something simple, like asking a child to wash vegetables or take the stems of strawberries. Bonus: kids will begin to learn to appreciate healthy eating for themselves.
5.) Don't Neglect Sleep
When life gets extra busy, sleep is usually the first thing to be sacrificed. This is a big mistake because you need to be rested to maintain a positive mood, to be productive, and to take good care of others.
Make it a priority to sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night. One strategy to support healthy sleep is setting a "lights out" time that you hold yourself accountable to. Other habits to build into your nighttime routine for better sleep include meditating, journaling, and reading.
If you're accustomed to feeling sleep deprived, you'll be amazed how much more manageable life feels when you've gotten enough rest!
6.) Find Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Appearance
As mentioned above, many moms feel like they have no choice but to "let themselves go" when they spend all their time catering to everyone else's needs. Even if you don't have hours every week to spend working out, doing your hair and makeup, and picking out trendy outfits (or prefer not to anyway), you can find ways to show yourself love.
Former President Barack Obama famously wore only gray or blue suits in order to save his mental energy for more important decisions throughout his day. While you may not want to limit your options that radically, streamlining your wardrobe to include fewer interchangeable pieces can help.
Here's another simple idea: establish a nightly skincare routine that feels both calming and rewarding. Use products like a gentle cleanser, mask or exfoliator, plus serums and moisturizers based on your skin type. Do this while lighting a candle, giving yourself a little facial massage, and maybe listening to relaxing music.
Need help with other ways to practice self care? Try the Adarose Self Care Experience. A beautiful package will arrive at your doorstep filled with everything needed for "me time," including a mix of skincare and soul care goodness.