Now that school is back in session you might find yourself with a little bit of “free” time on hand. But… if you are anything like me, you have likely already filled that free time with extra tasks - maybe a DIY home improvement project, volunteering, or taking on more hours at work? This is pretty common amongst us mamas; sometimes we just keep going and going and forget that we, ourselves, require some attention every now and then.
Our lives revolve around our family. We are the chauffeur, cook, maid, appointment keeper, and personal shopper. It is so easy (almost too easy) to forget about ourselves. Quite frankly, how in the heck are we supposed to fit taking care of ourselves in? Our freedom is gone and our sleep is cut short. We make sacrifices because we know our kids are our number one priority now. This is the season of life we are in; it is our new normal.
In this post, we will chat a little bit about some ways you can squeeze some me time out of that free time you might have since school has started. Although we have talked about the importance of self-care before, what we are really going to focus on more is “self-maintenance.” These are the things we must do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Like they say, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” So, let’s fill up!
“PHYSICAL” SELF MAINTENANCE
We give up so much of our bodies during pregnancy, labor, postpartum, and breastfeeding - now is the perfect time for a head-to-toe checkup. When was the last time you had an annual physical; a pap smear; a biannual dental cleaning? Chances are, you might have bumped one or two appointments for yourself to care for the littles. It happens!
What about seeing a dermatologist for that weird mole that got bigger or darker with pregnancy? While fluctuations in hormones can cause increased pigmentation, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to schedule a quick mole check with your dermatologist. And if you are “of age” (right now they are saying 40-45), go get you a mammogram! Don’t forget about your vision. Hormones can mess all that up too, so you may find yourself in need of some readers all a sudden.
How many times do you bend down or lean over throughout the day? If your neck and back are feeling achy, schedule an appointment with a local chiropractor to get a monthly adjustment.
And while we are on the subject, it might be time to consider getting back into an exercise routine. It can start out as little as a ten-minute yoga wakeup routine. Just some simple stretching and breathing exercises first thing can really set your intentions for the day. After dinner, try a relaxing fifteen-minute walk (did you know walking aids in digestion and regulating blood sugar levels?). Eventually, these activities will become routine and you can set higher goals like investing in at-home gym equipment or even joining a gym!
“BATH/BEAUTY” SELF MAINTENANCE
Now that you are on the path to your healthiest and active self, time to treat yourself! Lately, I have been adding a monthly massage to my routine. Our bodies do really tough work; between household chores, work, and caring for the littles, we are in desperate need of a relaxing massage. I try to go the day before my next chiropractic adjustment; it helps loosen me up a bit more!
I have also made it a point to go to the salon every two to three weeks. It is amazing how good I feel by just having manicured hands. And I love how my local salon lets me bring my own natural products to use. See if yours will let you bring your own sugar scrub, body food, and nail polish. If you are really needing a change, time to get that new hairstyle you have been wanting to try!
“SOCIAL” SELF MAINTENANCE
Now that we are feeling and looking great, it’s time to get out. Schedule a weekly brunch or lunch date with an old friend. Or, if you are wanting to expand your social network, join a local mom group - one local to us does weekly nights out including fun activities like dinner (with alcohol) and (non-cartoon) movie nights!
I have also recently joined a book club. Although it is a discussion group via Facebook only, it is nice to be exposed to some great books and be able to chat with other mamas. There are also gardening clubs and other fun activities coming up in our area. Utilize Facebook events to search for some local to you.
“MENTAL HEALTH” SELF MAINTENANCE
I have saved the best for last, and it is an important one. You should definitely be doing at least one “mental health” self-maintenance task a day… or multiple a day. As a mom, one thing I experience that gives me the most mental exhaustion is being “touched out.” There is nothing quite like spending quality time snuggled up with my littles, but by the end of the day, I am done. I found myself getting frustrated and snappy before dinner even hit the table. Lately, I have been doing my best to build some breaks into my daily routine to help prevent the anxiety I feel by nightfall.
One of my favorite things to do is enjoy a hot meal by myself. I try to go at least once a week and hit up my favorite brunch/ lunch spot. I usually bring a book to read or journal to write in, silence my phone (unless my emergency contact calls, i.e. babysitter or spouse), and just enjoy the stillness. It truly is such a nice contrast from taking the kids out. And, I get to enjoy my meal without interruption.
If eating out alone isn’t your thing, try picking up a new hobby like a dance class, pottery, or some other craft where you can work with your hands. If you are just unable to sneak away from the house (it happens), make a little nook somewhere in your home that is all yours. Stock it with some treats and a trashy magazine and just give yourself 30 minutes to just be away from it all.
As mothers, we can sometimes forget about taking care of ourselves. And when we finally do take a step away, we end up getting behind schedule or feeling guilty. Taking time for yourself is basic self-maintenance. It is necessary and vital for your well-being. You are fully capable of staying on top of your normal daily activities and still have time to make a life for yourself.
What sort of “self-maintenance” practices do you keep? Any tips for moms that are in the thick of new Motherhood? Share with us below!