First of all, what is self care? Well, part of it is taking care of your body. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and proper hygiene are all a part of self care. But so is looking after your mental and spiritual health. And all of these can be hard to take care of as a mom.
I have to admit, I often forget to do self care. There’s always a long to do list of things I want to get done. I say “I’ll do something for myself after I get the laundry switched over. Oh, I forgot about rotating the toys… I’ll do that while I’m in the laundry room anyway. The dishes! Whoops they are piling up and we won’t have plates for supper, so I have to do them now. And then by the time all these things are done Little Fox is up from her nap. Or Little Badger is hungry. And suddenly it’s time to make supper, and I never did anything to relax.
Well enough of that! When I don’t take to the time to relax, everyone in my family suffers. So as I work to make sure I take the time I need for self care, I thought I’d write an article about all the reasons self care is important.
Self Care Reason 10
Self Care helps you refocus.
When we spend all our time working without a break, we loss focus of what’s important. Sometimes we get stuck and can’t find a solution to the problems we are facing. Taking a break, walking away from all the work for even just fifteen minutes, helps us refocus. We can look at the problem with fresh eyes.
I know this is especially helpful for me when I’m baby proofing. My toddler keeps getting taller, and then she can suddenly reach where I put the Sharpies. Yikes. So I’m constantly rearranging the living room to keep it a safe and healthy space. But sometimes it gets to be too much. I remember I put the Sharpies on top of our stack of prayer books and looked around our living room. Then I looked around and thought “What else can I move to make space for this out of her reach while still keeping all the other things we use and love in the living room.
In order to respect yourself.
Keeping up on your self care sustains your confidence and sense of self worth. This is especially important when you have a new baby. If you don’t take care of your own needs, you start to feel like you’re just a milk making machine and all the baby blues hormones can escalate to postpartum depression. And once you’re feeling low (and needing that self care the most) you probably don’t feel worth getting the self care anymore. At the end of the day, it’s important to do self care in order to stop and prevent negative self talk.
It sets an example to your children
Think about how your children see your life. Do you want them to view adult life as hard and stressful? And to see that parenting is just wearing you down? Well, maybe if you want your kids to try to “stay young” forever and to never have children of their own.
How would you like your children to know that you enjoy being an adult, being a parent, and have a happy fulfilling life?
Having children shouldn’t mean you have to put your dreams aside. You don’t have to wait till your 50 to take a vacation. Or to learn to sew. Or whatever it is than you dream of doing that having children has made you put on hold. Maybe you have to be a little creative to make it happen. Maybe every other Saturday you have to leave the children at home with your husband while you go to a class or spend time with your friends.
Don’t feel like a bad parent for not spending every moment of your child’s life with them. What will make you a bad parent is constantly feeling resentful that you never get to do the things you love or have any time for self. They’ll notice if you’re unhappy and worn out all the time. I don’t want my children to think the sacrifices I’m making for them is a bad thing, so I have to balance those sacrifices with some proper self care and enjoyment of my own life.
And Reason 7
It helps your immune system
When we are under a lot of pressure, it’s easy to get sick. Not enough sleep and nutrients… yup here comes the flu. Looking after your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health helps your body run smoothly.
Self Care Reason 6
You’ll have more patience.
When I haven’t taken care of my needs, I catch myself feeling angry when my children do something as innocent as bring me a picture book to read. If that’s how I’m feeling, I take a deep breath, pause, and realize I have not been taking care of myself. Sometimes this means I have to say no to the picture book (because by the end of reading it I’ll just feel worse). Other times I make the reading a cuddle time and turn the lights down so we can all relax together. But when patience is short, I know I need to take some time to regenerate. I used to think I just wasn’t a patient person. But now I know if I practice self care I can be a much nice person. With a lot more patience.
(Children are the same way. Tantruming all the time today? Check are they:
If they are, HALT and fix the problem before asking anything else if them).
You’ll have more energy for your husband and children
This one is kind of like the patience one. When I take care of my needs, I’m in a happy healthy state when my husband gets home from work. I’m ready to hear about his day, put supper on the table, and to spend time together. If I haven’t, he gets home and I wont even be focused on saying hello. It’s not fair to him (or the children) when this happens.
Self Care Reason 4
You’ll be more productive during the time you spend working.
One thing I find helpful as a stay at home mom is reading books about workplace productivity. Because for me, the home is work! There’s always rooms to clean and tasks to manage. So reading about how people get everything done in a day is applicable to me to.
One thing these productivity books recommend is taking adequate breaks. “Work for 90 minutes than take a 15 minute break.” Pushing harder than that means everything gets done slower and more sloppily. And that’s not what I want! So now that I’m on a block schedule, I look at what tasks I have to chose from and when I’m done that task I find some kind of self care task to boost my energy before moving onto the next thing. Sometimes that means putting some music or an audiobook on. Other times it’s stopping for a snack. Either way, when I go and start the next task on my schedule, I’m refreshed and ready to go again! And when I don’t, every task feels like a burden.
And Reason 3
It helps you manage stress
My husband explained stress to be the other day, in a way I’d never considered before. When you go to the gym and work out, you cause your muscles stress, and in the healing they get stronger. When you’re studying for an exam, you put stress on your brain cells while studying and learn. Everything we do to manage our day to day lives is applying stress, even if we enjoy it. The point is how we manage that stress. Do we just keep exercising without taking time to heal? Just keep studying without a rest? And do we just keep working without taking a break for self care? Even though I love being a mom and taking care of my children, I need to take a break from these tasks every so often so that I can grow as a mother and as a person. Otherwise these stresses will pile up and I won’t be able to…
…to avoid burnout.
If all we do is work and we never care for ourselves, we aren’t going to have happy healthy families. Instead, we just burnout and don’t have the strength and energy to do anything for anyone.
And now let’s get to the final reason for self care.
And Self Care Reason 1
Take care of yourself because being a mom is hard!
It really is. Being a mom is like working three full time jobs at the same time! Mom’s have to organize the family, cook, clean, and more! We naturally end up in charge of things like planning groceries and other shopping, and looking after kids (remembering when they need appointment for doctor, dentist, eye check ups, etc. Not just watching them!).
Quick Start Self Care Ideas
This isn’t an article about what to do for self care (and I’m still learning this). But here are a few ideas to start off your brainstorming list.
- Learning something new (reading, online class, community class)
- Bubble bath with candles
- Going for a walk
- Take the space in your home that you most dislike and find a way to improve it
- Video games, board games, or a favourite show
The Byzantine Life
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