Most common mistakes and alternatives to help you kick start your self care.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of mamas who struggle with finding time for self care. They’re smart, driven, wonderful women who do so many things right.
And you know what I’ve noticed? They are all making the same mistakes that are jeopardizing their ability to look after their own needs.
So today, I want to discuss the three most common mistakes in the hopes that discussing them will help you recognize the behaviors in your own life, and offer some alternatives that just might feel a whole lot better!
If you’re like many mamas I know, you take care of everyone around you first. Your children, your home, your partner, your work and responsibilities. By the time it comes to your needs, you’re all out of energy. I’m here to say, it’s not selfish to put your needs first sometimes.
Let’s say it louder for those in the back - it’s not selfish to put your needs first. It’s like the airplane oxygen mask metaphor - you can’t take care of others properly if your basic needs have not been met. So sometimes it’s ok to eat first, or use the washroom as soon as you feel the need. When we feel taken care of beyond our basic needs, we can be the super mamas we naturally are.
Many moms are up at the crack of dawn and go, go, go until after their tiny humans are (finally!) asleep for the night. Often, we then need to tidy up, shower, maybe eat dinner, and then get ready for the next day. It’s often hard to find the energy and motivation to look after more than our basic needs after a long day. Saving our self care for after bed time more often than not sets us up for failure.
How else can you sneak small acts of self care into your day during times when your energy level is higher? Jumping jacks while you wait for the water to boil while cooking? A few stretches while tidying up your house? A lap around the block after work? (The Zen Mama Yoga Deck teaches you how to practice yoga and mindfulness WHILE you go about your regular daily routine, like cooking, working, cleaning and looking after your kids? Shameless plug and I’m not even sorry about it because I believe it in that much!)
Let’s set ourselves up for success by intentionally fitting moments for ourselves throughout our day so that we actually get around to it.
Which brings me to our next point. What is self care, anyway? (We’re going to have a nice long chat about the differences between self soothing and self care, but that’s for another day!).
Pre-children, our “self care” might have looked like going to the spa, long, luxurious yoga practices, fawning over our nails, spending all of our disposal income on getting our hair done, etc. etc. For many of us, that’s just not in the cards right now and that’s totally ok. We don’t need to do those things to look after ourselves. We just need to listen. We need to take a moment and really listen to what it is that we are in need of. Maybe we have the urge to create and feel relaxed after spending time crocheting or painting. Perhaps a yoga practice or a meditation leaves us feeling rejuvenated. Maybe we find we’re longing for connection and can meet that need through a Zoom call with our bestie.
So long as we make peace with the fact that our pampering may look a little different in this phase of life than it did previously, we can still meet our needs in attainable ways.