An Essential Self-Care Routine For Busy Mums
There’s been a lot of talk lately about this thing called self-care. You may well have passed it off as another celebrity trend – like “me time” on steroids - for those rich enough to afford nannies, personal trainers and private chefs.
But if you’re a busy mum (and I’ve yet to meet one who isn’t) and you’re feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, anxious or a bit down in the dumps, or even just bored of the daily routine of looking after people, little or otherwise, then you, my lovely, need self-care the most - and lots of it.
While self-care can mean massages and manicures and making your hair look Insta-worthy, it can also mean something as simple as drinking more water, or getting out of the house for 15 minutes to clear your mind. It can mean joining a community choir because it rocks your boat. Or being brave enough to say no to another friends’ get-together because you need quiet time at home with the duvet and Netflix.
In fact, how you “do” self-care is completely up to you. It’s the “why” of self-care that matters.
Every day we show the world how to treat us. We show our bosses and our colleagues, our friends and our partners, and we show our children. If we consistently put our own needs last until we’re burnt out and exhausted, irritable and unfulfilled, what message are we giving to our children, especially our daughters, about our own worth and value?
You may struggle with making time for yourself. Or you may feel guilty for taking time just for you, away from children and partners and your long list of responsibilities, because “that’s not what mums do”. I’d suggest, as a starting point, a very simple daily self-care routine that takes just a few minutes. You don’t even have to leave the house or change out of your pajamas.
I like to think of this routine as taking your emotional temperature much the way you’d take your child’s to see if they need Calpol. It involves asking yourself three questions and you can do it while brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea:
** How am I really feeling right now?
** What do I most need to do/happen to help me with how I am feeling right now?
** How can I do this/give myself this?
Take your time and be as honest as you can. If you get stuck on the last question, imagine it’s your best friend asking: “I am feeling (your answer to question 1) and I really need (your answer to question 2) but I don’t know what to do.”
What advice would you give her?
As women, we’re conditioned to feel that putting our own needs first is selfish. But it’s the reason air stewards tell you, in the event of low cabin pressure, to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping your children with theirs. You need to survive, but more than that: you need to thrive, to be your best, brightest, loveliest self in order to help others. And that means – dear busy mum - making your own self care a priority, not an afterthought.
Who’s looking after you when you’re busy looking after everyone else? Download your free copy of the Self Care First Aid Kit workbook – three steps to nurture your mind, body and soul when you need it most.
Dawn Quest is a life coach and writer who specialises in helping women discover their true purpose and potential, to design a life that feels meaningful, satisfying and fulfilling. Before becoming a life coach, she worked as a journalist and TV producer in Asia and London.
Find her at www.dawnquest.co.uk
- Jo Love