As moms, when it comes to empowering ourselves, investing in “me time” often gets swept under the rug, as we feel we don't have enough time, energy, or resources to commit to ourselves. But the issue with our lack of obligation to our own well-being, is we can quickly get burnt out and overwhelmed. We know you hear it all the time, but it’s the truth…you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of Mama, too. So, as you’re sitting here reading this, taking time for YOU (look at that little slice of self-care; good job, Mama!), we want you to learn (or be reminded) of some simple tips and tools to start implementing into your week that can minimize your #mombrain and fill up your cup, your spirit, and your daily life.
- Invest in “me time” – even if it just means going for a quiet walk or listening to your favorite music, in peace. “Who has time for that?!” you say. I get it. I’m a single mama, so really have to be cognizant of exactly when I have free time, even if it’s just five minutes. Set an alarm to wake up before your little(s), sneak it in at nap time, your lunch break, or try to leave work 10 minutes earlier than normal. Those little moments (and minutes) can really add up, and you can sneak little, productive habits into your day.
- Ask yourself these questions: What has to get done today? What can wait until tomorrow? Make a list of priorities for you to accomplish each day and each week.
- Keep a calendar that clearly lists any of your kids’ extracurricular activities, your work meetings, school performances, birthdays, special events or celebrations, etc…. Stay organized and make sure your whole family knows what is going on, when.
- Know that it is more than okay to say no, and feel comfortable saying the dirty little two-letter word. More. Saying no to situations that may cause you extreme stress or make you uneasy, is a form of self-care. While it’s important to say yes to some things you normally wouldn’t, you don’t always have to. Save your sanity by saying no to things that don’t serve your being, your soul, your family, or your life. You deserve to set emotional boundaries, and doing so is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, because it helps bring peace and clarity into your life and your routine.
- Give yourself time to map out your feelings. Buy a journal and try to write in it every night before bed. It can be SO simple, and only take a few minutes. Consider answering these five questions each night before bed:
- What positive things happened to me today?
- What happened to me today that didn’t go so well?
- What are five things I’m grateful for today?
- What are five things that make me happy?
- What are three things I need to release into the universe and let go of?
- Set time to unplug and be present. With my career revolving around social media, I know how personally hard this one is. I’m horrible at giving myself technological boundaries, because balancing work, life, and social media time is difficult when it seems to go 24/7 (which it does, because obviously the internet never sleeps!) But even just telling myself, “Okay, from 6pm – 8pm, social media and emails are off limits so I can be present with my son,” helps me stay focused during the workday, and then be hands-on to play, get dinner ready, do bath time, bedtime, and be “on” 100% as a mama before I can play on my phone again before bed.
- Make a reservation for YOU. Book a massage, a facial, acupuncture, a mani/pedi, a girls’ lunch, walk on the beach, day by the pool…anything! This doesn’t have to cost money or involve anyone else if you don’t want it to. What is something you’d love to do? What is something that would bring you joy? DO THAT.
- Forgive someone. This is big. And really hard. Is there something or someone that has been plaguing your mind, your thoughts, or your empty space? Release it/ them. Free up the heaviness you’ve been carrying. #letthatshitgo. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult tasks we’re ever presented with, because we all have feelings, which are incredibly valid. But when we refuse to move on from something or someone, the only one it truly affects in the end is ourselves.
- We are constantly reminding our mamas within our FIT4MOM family how important meditation is. If you’re not familiar with it, or wondering some of the benefits that can come from meditating, you can learn about it here. We have mama mediations we created just for mom, which you can find here on our YOUTUBE channel. Even if you only have 5-10 minutes here and there to meditate, it’s worth it, and your body and mind will thank you.
- Try belly breathing. Whenever someone is battling anxiety or the general feeling of overwhelm, they typically forget to breathe. Belly breathing, aka diaphragmatic breathing, is a scientifically proven way to ease the flight-or-flight response, which kicks in when we’re in high-stress situations [Yuriel Kaim, 2017]. So, how the heck do you do it? According to Yurial Kaim, to get started with belly breathing, do the following:
graphic via Yurial Kaim, 2017
- Sit comfortably and focus your attention on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. However, instead of breathing into your chest, concentrate on breathing deeply into your belly (you can place a hand on your abdomen to make sure it’s expanding).
- Hold your inhales for a couple seconds, then exhale fully through your mouth, feeling your belly shrink back down.
- Repeat for at least 10 cycles of breaths.