Working moms today wear many different hats- business owner, mother, wife, chauffeur, cook, etc. We're so busy taking care of everyone else that we rarely take care of ourselves. Moms often feel selfish or guilty taking time for themselves, so they end up putting their own needs on the back burner.
When we fail to practice self-care, we become stressed out, overwhelmed, resentful, and exhausted. Failing to take good care of ourselves not only wears us down, but it negatively affects those around us. Think about oxygen masks on airplanes. We are told to put them on ourselves before assisting others. Why? Because only when we first help ourselves are we able to effectively help others.
So what exactly is self-care? Self-care is putting yourself back on your “to-do” list. It's about being mindful of your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It's taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture YOU. Self-care is treating yourself as kindly as you would treat a friend. Here are SIX SECRETS TO DAZZLING SELF-CARE which will help you feel more energized and ready to take on your life:
When over-tired, we can be grouchy, impatient, and blurry-brained. We tend to make poor decisions and are more prone to getting sick. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Some moms function well with 7, and others need 9. Factors like pregnancy, being woken up by babies in the middle of the night or elevated amounts of stress also impact your need for sleep, so pay attention to your own sleep needs and sneak it in when you can.
One of the biggest challenges working moms face is getting a healthy dinner on the table every night. Healthy food is fuel for our active bodies. Wake up and eat a healthy breakfast filled with protein. Pack healthy snacks. Use your crockpot. Most importantly plan ahead and create a weekly meal plan and shopping list so that you will be prepared at the end of the day and not be running through the nearest fast food line or eating out.
Working moms move throughout the day at breakneck speeds, and are so busy trying to get everything done, that taking time to be quiet often feels unproductive. In order to be able to take care of everything, we need to slow down for a minute to breathe. De-stress from the distractions and demands of your life and take a time-out. Even if it's only 5 minutes, allow yourself to just be quiet and still. This gives you an inner peace which is essential to self-care.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Finding time to workout is not easy for working moms, but exercise is imperative to relieve the daily stresses of life, release our “feel good” endorphins, fight anxiety, and practice good self-care. Whether you set the alarm a little earlier to exercise before waking kids in the morning, walk during your lunch break, or take a class at the gym in the evening, make exercise a priority.
Our inner voice has a powerful effect on our mood. When we are critical of ourselves, our self-esteem suffers and we may become depressed. Instead, we need to ensure that our self-talk is loving, nurturing, and forgiving. If you wouldn't say it to your friend, don't say it to yourself! Research shows that when we practice positive self-talk, we re-train our brains, and feel better about ourselves.
Gratitude changes your life without actually changing anything (except your perspective). When we are burned out, stressed and overwhelmed, it is usually because we are focusing on what's not working in our lives. What we focus on GROWS! So when we focus on what IS working in our lives, we will draw more of those things into our lives. Practicing gratitude is one of the best tools for changing how we feel!
True self-care is a daily habit, and a necessity for working moms. Take yourself off the back burner, put on that oxygen mask and you will be amazed at how much better you feel!