As days and nights blend together in the world of the new mom, it can be challenging to carve out even a few minutes to focus on self-care. According to a survey of over 2,000 moms, they averaged only about 30 minutes a day of “me time”. This amount is probably even less for the mom of a newborn or a mom with multiple children. Yet as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. A mom that doesn’t take care of her own health – both physical and mental – is going to have a harder time caring for her baby.
But where do you start and how do you fit it all in? Here are someself-care ideas for moms that will help you make sure you are at your best and able to care for your family.
Make a self-care calendar appointment.
We all live and die by our calendars, either written or on our smartphones. As moms, we track our kids’ feedings, diapers, doctors’ visits, naptimes, and playtimes, but when do we block off time for ourselves? Self-care is not a perk to be fit in, but an essential need to be prioritized. Scheduling an hour each day (or at least most days of the week) to exercise, cook a favorite meal, read, meditate, or call a friend can make your “me” time part of your routine. Ask your partner or other supportive family and friends to support you in this task by caring for the baby or other children while you take care of yourself.
Feed your body and mind with healthy fuel.
The body and mind need energy to accomplish daily tasks. As parents, we plan what our children will eat but then forget to plan for ourselves. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can fuel you as you run from one activity or task to the next. Knowing that time is often in short supply, buy pre-portioned healthy food packs or pre-portion these foods yourself into plastic bags or storage containers so you can grab and go when you need to. Fruits and vegetables offer you gut-protective fiber and antioxidants to fight inflammation, while protein-rich snacks (cheese, nuts, yogurt, seeds, etc.) can help you feel fuller longer and keep you from having dips in your blood sugar that can make you feel tired. They can also help you avoid grabbing high fat, sugary, or salty foods that might be convenient, but can make you feel sluggish. There are many recipes for healthy snacks you can make ahead of time. Getting enough calories is especially important if you are breastfeeding; your body generally needs 500 extra calories a day.
Drink up and often – and make it fun!
If the thought of getting the often recommended eight, 8-ounces glasses of water a day (can be up to 13 glasses to support increased fluid needs when breastfeeding), makes you cringe, add some pizazz to your beverage selection by infusing water with healthy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, oranges, lemons, and berries. Fill your favorite pitcher with fruit, ice, and water and put it in the refrigerator for a refreshing and nutritious drink! Sparkling water and seltzers are also excellent choices and are available in many flavors and varieties. While feeling tired or having a headache can make you want to grab a caffeinated drink, often, it is your body looking for more water to keep it running. From energy levels to promoting brain, skin, and heart health, hydration is essential for our overall health and wellbeing.
Be a selfish sleeper.
Leave the guilt over the unchecked to-do list items at the bedroom door and set the stage for you to sleep as much as you can. Utilize your circle of support to make sure you can rest throughout the day. But what happens when you lay down, and you can’t sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, “74 percent of stay-at-home moms reported symptoms of insomnia.” This can make daily activities of driving and caring for kids dangerous if you are not well-rested. Even if you don’t sleep for long periods of time, try to figure out what can help you maximize your sleep time. Music, scented oils, light-blocking curtains, sleep masks, and weighted blankets may help create a safe and productive sleep space. Weighted blankets, in particular, may be able to help with feelings of restlessness as they provide gentle pressure to the body that can support the release of serotonin.
When you take the time for self-care, not only are you better able to care for your kids, you are teaching them the importance of loving and caring for themselves. Healthy self-care habits are a great gift to pass on to your children.For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @Theralogix! Don’t miss an article! Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when our next article comes out.