When my nails are done, I feel like my whole life is together. It probably isn’t, but I feel that it is and that is half the battle. There is something about having my nails done that is good for my mental well-being. After our first baby, I still made time in my schedule to get my nails done. But after baby number two and then three, I just stopped doing it. I occasionally would slap a coat of fast dry on before Christmas or our anniversary and be on my way. I just wasn’t taking very good care of myself.
It was my husband that finally sat me down and told me I needed to take better care of myself. I was so busy trying to be super wife and mom that I wasn’t doing anything for myself. He made it clear to me that it was not selfish to do things for myself. I need to care for myself mentally and physically if I am going to care for everyone else. He was so right.
So, I started to evaluate my schedule and finding the time to go get my nails done was going to be challenging. I improvised. I bought myself my own gel manicure kit and light. I taught myself to do my nails. It takes me 30 minutes. I put it into my schedule now. I enjoy it.
Not only do I do my own nails, but I have started to do some of my other mom friends' nails as well. Sometimes the older girls and I do manicures. It is just a little time I take for me and it is a huge stress reliever. Nails might not be your thing, but you need to find out what is. Self-care is essential to being the best version of yourself.
Schedule yourself a massage every 2 weeks to a month. It's an hour. One hour. But that hour can be so revitalizing for you. During that time, you can just clear your head. Often, we struggle with being away from the house but if you realize it is really only an hour of time, it is manageable. Many insurance companies actually cover massage under their plans now because it truly is so good for our mental and physical health. For a copay and a tip, you can get regular massages. If your local spa doesn’t bill insurance, check with chiropractic offices. They can if they offer massages. It was my chiropractor who told me to start scheduling them because they would be good for me.
Take a yoga class. Join a gym. Build your own gym in your house. Find a workout buddy. Take a spinning class. There are obvious physical benefits to working out, but it is also very therapeutic. It is recommended as a stress reliever. So many women suffer from depression and anxiety. Regular exercise is shown to help with both. If you simply are so busy right now that trying to schedule exercise seems daunting, start off by taking a daily walk with your baby. Pushing a stroller and walking is a pretty good workout. Find a friend who will walk with you. Many areas even have mommy groups that do exercise together with their kids. If you can’t get away for an hour, incorporate your kids into your routine for now.
You can do this for 10 minutes a day. We all have 10 minutes a day. Mindfulness meditation helps us to control our thoughts and relax. On your lunch break or during nap time you can grab 10 minutes. It is so simple. My favorite app to start with is Headspace. It teaches you how to participate in mindfulness meditation. Once you have learned how, I also recommend 10% Happier and Calm. If you want something faith based there are apps such as Hallow and Abide. The app options are endless. You can download it to your phone or use it on the web.
We are social beings and sometimes being a new mom, we isolate ourselves. Being a new mom, I was always by myself with my daughter when my husband wasn’t around. I didn’t have many friends having kids at the same time. But there are other moms out there. Look at mom groups through local clubs, organizations, churches, etc. You can find other moms at the same spot as you that you can share the fun and the stress of motherhood with. These groups often allow you to have your kids with you or have a sitter provided for adult time. We need other people.
Make time for going out with friends. Even if it is just an hour for coffee once a month, we need that. I have always struggled with going out and leaving my kids. Being a working mom, I have guilt being away from them. Again, my husband always pushes me to do so. Once I’m out, I am so glad I went. It’s truly life giving for my soul. Even though we talk about our kids a lot while we are out, having adult conversation is priceless.
Yes, I am going to say that date nights are self-care. It is also relationship care. When your relationship is strong, your overall life is better. It can be really challenging to do date nights at first, but they are 100% necessary for a healthy and happy relationship. Make time. Put it on the calendar. We put the money for date nights, including sitter cost, into our monthly budget. We have to.
During covid when we couldn't go places or have sitters, we did date nights at home. We got a bottle of wine, put the kids to bed, and started watching a series or movie together. Once a week we would curl up on the couch together and make time for us. Some nights we would just talk. Those nights make us better parents and better partners in life. My stress is lower when I remember I have a partner in life to rely on.
These are just some ideas to help you start your self-care routine. Take a bath. Read a book. What do you enjoy? Sit down and think about what you enjoyed before kids or what helps you to relax. How can you be the best version of yourself? You are a better mom when you are caring for yourself. Your family will thank you for taking care of you.
Teri Sinnott is a busy wife, mother of 3 girls, teacher, blogger, and certified Life Coach. She utilizes her professional experience and passionate heart to encourage others. Teri provides parenting and life hacks to simplify life and allow parents to focus on what really matters. No stranger to using her voice to create positive change, Teri hosts social media platforms that are centered on inspiration and providing a community of fellowship for women. Visit her at www.christianmomonfire.com