5 Self-Care Practices for Moms
It’s undeniable that people are more motivated to live healthier lives as January rolls around. How can we tell? There are more people in the gym, more people watching what they eat, more people changing their habits to improve their life. It seems like the whole world is working on self improvement, and so are you. As a mom, I realize there is not a lot of time to think about ourselves, but for our sanity and our health, it is important. “Self-care” has become a sort of buzz word lately, and while I agree that we all should take care of ourselves, I often see it differently then pampering, and consider self-care an investment. Let’s say we each have our own energy tank. Every day it is drained - whether that be from your children, your work, your household tasks, your spouse, your co-workers, or your relatives. We have to invest in ourselves so that we can refill our tank. A full tank is much better to run off of. In fact, like a car, when your tank is too low on fuel you begin to run into bigger and worse problems. A full tank makes us a happier and healthier mom. This is how I think about self-care. Self-care is making it a priority to refill our tank and keep our engine running smoothly. When it comes to our health as moms, we have to be intentional with caring for ourselves, or it simply won’t happen. However since I am a mom, I get it. We prioritize our kids so highly, that we forget or don’t have time for ourselves. But mama, your health is a priority, because your family needs you healthy. This year, let’s practice self-care by taking time to prioritize health, both mentally and physically. Here are some essential healthy mama self-care practices.
5 Self-Care Practices
The key here is having healthy food readily available.
Exercise for Health
The important thing is not when, or where, or how, it is simply exercise for health.
Be intentional and do something you love with someone you love.
Research shows us that 20 minutes of meditation can have similar mental health benefits to 20 minutes of exercise.
Activities like reading help reduce the mental degeneration that occurs with age, as well as relieve stress and improve memory.
Eat WellTip: Meal Prep + Food Prep + Leftovers
We all know that eating healthy is vital for our energy, our health, and our longevity. But, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, you don’t want to spend your life in the kitchen. This is where meal prepping and food prepping are key. Try meal prepping and food prepping! This works great for me and my family. Try choosing one day out of your week to plan out meals, grocery shop, and cook. Meal prepping gives us healthy, home cooked meals throughout the week for work or when out and about with the kids. Perhaps you are familiar with meal prepping, but the term food prep is new (it was to me too until a few weeks ago). Food prep is when you make a lot of specific ingredient so it’s ready to throw together into different meals. This is a great thing to keep in mind when planning meals for the week. You can plan to have meals with overlapping ingredients. Another form of food prepping can be leftovers. If you are making something healthy that reheats well, make enough for like thirty people. I’m only being slightly dramatic. Eat it for dinner one night, reheat the leftovers the next night. Still have leftovers? Freeze it. You will thank yourself in two weeks when you are looking for a healthy meal but don’t feel like cooking.
The key here is having healthy food readily available. When we are hungry and tired, we tend to go for the most calorie dense food options. This is a physiological survival response, it’s about more than mere self control. Making your health a priority includes giving yourself a chance to make good decisions about what to eat, and that is best done when you plan well and have healthy options readily available.
Exercise for Self-CareTip: Health > Image
About three months ago I had an epiphany. Everyday, I would load up my kids and go to the gym. The whole ordeal would take at least two to three hours out of my morning, and with eating and the kids nap, it would be 2pm before I even could start doing anything other than work out and survive, but I was exhausted. I felt like I had to go to the gym everyday. After all, there were other moms with amazingly toned bodies dragging their 2-5 kids to the gym every day. I was so busy chasing a certain image that I forgot the main purpose of working out: health. Like me, maybe you also need to have a mental shift in your workout motivations. Working out for health instead of chasing an image frees us from the confines of the gym. Working out can be at home, or at the park. It can be by ourselves, or with our kids. When I had this shift, I came up with a way to work out everyday, and still leave me with my entire day. I started waking up at 5:30 every morning and doing a home workout from 6am-7am. Perhaps another time works better for you. The important thing is not when, or where, or how, it is simply exercise for health and self-care. Exercising is self-care. It’s investing in your energy tank. Studies show that exercise has significant benefits in reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function. 1
Have FunTip: Do more of what you love.
As a mom, sometimes our identity gets lost or becomes redefined by motherhood and the endless happenings accompanied with it. We forget to invest ourselves into what we actually like doing. Hobbies, books, music, dancing, sports, all become practically non-existent as our focus shifts from ourselves to our kids. But doing the things we love is a form of self-care because it invests in our future, is a good example for our children, and brings us happiness. We are investing into our health, emotionally and mentally, so that we can be more fit to take on all that momming throws at us. Be intentional, if only once a month, find a way to do what you love. This is often a great opportunity for a date night. I am one for date nights that involves some sort of intention - so go to a baking class, a soccer game, a ballroom dance lesson, a concert whatever it is that you love to do - just do it.
RestTip: Make Time to Be Still
When I say rest for self-care, you may think I am going to suggest you sleep more. But let’s be honest, you are a mom, and sleep is a practice of yesteryear. But that’s not what I am going to focus on here. Research shows us that 20 minutes of meditation can have similar mental health benefits to 20 minutes of exercise. 2 We never slow down. With our techno-obsessed generation, when was the last time you even went to the bathroom without a distraction (whether its your kids or instagram). Taking time to rest has proven benefits for both physical and emotional health. My favorite “rest” activity it yoga. You may not consider it “rest” but it is a time I focus on wellness. My body is still in motion, but my mind is at rest. My favorite part of yoga is the very end of almost every class where you lay in a corpse pose, completely relaxed. Maybe for you, it's in a sauna, or a warm bath, or outside on the beach, the message is the same: Find a space where you can escape and find rest from the noise of daily life.
Never Stop LearningTip: Read More
Keeping our brains active through mental stimulation can help reduce the mental degeneration that occurs with age, as well as relieve stress and improve memory (all things which our mommy brains could benefit from). Like other muscles in your body, your brain can be a “use it or lose it” type of thing. You are never too old to learn, and reading is a great way to educate yourself while engaging your brain. Looking to kill two birds with one stone? (Figuratively of course) Choose to read about your physical health. In this way you can stimulate and improve mental health (by simply reading) and also set yourself up to improve your physical health by learning more about health and wellness.
It’s the time to start taking care of yourself, mama. It’s going to be a great year!
Tatiana Schmidt - Holistic Nutritionist
Tatiana Schmidt is a certified Holistic Nutritionist and mama to AJ, a 3 year old boy and Baylin, a 1 year old girl. She has a passion for health, nutrition, and delicious food. You can find her work in the Sprigs Magazine, on the Sprigs Blog, and at tatianaschmidt.com.
- 2https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/46988796/Effectiveness_of_a_Meditation-based_Stre20160703-30744-11u72g7.pdfAWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1546028907&Signature=ATZE6vKpHnSszF9YNy6LcAxtCws%3D&response-content disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DEffectiveness_of_a_meditation-based_stre.pdf