I struggled with self-care for years. I put the needs of everyone before my own. As a mom and wife, self-care took a backseat to everything. My needs came last if they even came at all. When people would ask me about self-care, it was as if they were speaking a foreign language. I lost sight of taking care of myself that I didn’t even know what self-care meant.
It was truly a struggle for me. I was caught up in caring for family and making sure their needs were met. My kids were involved in many activities and I involved in numerous ministries at church. Add to that my commitments at work, with friends and family, I was on the bottom of my to-do list. Actually, I wasn’t even on my list at all.
Then one day, I reached a low place. I was burnt out, stressed, and just plain miserable which caused a trickle-down effect in my family. My family was stressed and anxious. My household was in shambles. Everyone was just miserable. However, I soon realized that as the woman, wife, and mother, I set the tone for my household. My household’s overall well-being was dependent upon my mood and actions.
This realization motivated me to start a self-care and personal development journey which involved a lot of self-reflection and strategies to help me become more self-aware. I took steps to regain control over my life. I started eliminating things from my plate and clearing space in my life so I could fill my life with more things that I loved and enjoyed. Not only that, I put myself on my to-do list and made myself my #1 priority. By making these changes in my life, things slowly started to turn around for my family and household.
Self-care is non-negotiable. If you want to be the best person you can be, you have to take care of yourself first. Here are 5 tips to help you begin your self-care journey.
1. Ditch mom guilt
Stop believing the lies of mom guilt. Mom guilt will have you thinking you are failing at everything. An important part of self-care is to reframe your mindset and realize you are the best mom for your situation. You are doing the best you can with the resources you have. Somewhere along the line, we start to believe that it is selfish to make yourself a priority and satisfy your needs and that is where the mom guilt comes in. Well, now it this the time to combat the lies with the truth. Self-care is the best gift you can give to yourself and others. When you are whole and well in the mind, body, and spirit, the trickle-down effect breeds positivity and happiness among those closest to you. Self-care is a selfless act and far from selfish, don’t let the lies of mom guilt tell you any different.
2. Start your morning the right way
A morning routine will help you get your day off to a great start. Prayer, meditation, journaling practices are all great ways to start the morning. However, you have to find a routine that works best for you. When you create a morning routine, you set the tone for your day. You are able to set your intentions for the day and often go into the day with a more positive mindset. When you have a morning routine, you are putting yourself first and taking care of yourself at the beginning of the day. Therefore you eliminate the excuse and reasoning of not having enough time for yourself.
3. Say “No”
“No” is a complete sentence. Normalize saying “no” without offering an excuse or reason. You do not have to be on every committee and your kids do not have to be in every activity. When you start saying no to others, you open the door to say yes to yourself. Stop thinking about your “no” as a bad thing. Think about your “no” as reclaiming the power of your time and energy. You are freeing up space in your life so you can do more of the things you love and enjoy. When you eliminate overwhelm and start doing more of the things you want to do, then you naturally feel better about yourself.
4. Take a break
The hustle culture is toxic. Life is not a constant hustle and there are no rewards for being a martyr or a superhero. If you are constantly on the go, then you will certainly burn out. An important part of self-care is knowing when to step back and take a break. LIkewise, disconnect and take a break from social media. Put your phone on do not disturb. It’s okay, really it is. You don’t have to be connected to your devices 24/7. Go for a drive. Find a room in your home where you can be alone. Whatever your method, take some time to be alone with your thoughts and decompress. Your mind will thank you. Learn to disconnect and take a break, even if just for a few moments.
5. Give yourself some grace
One of the most important parts of self-care is to give yourself some grace. This is a journey, it is not a sprint. You won’t get it 100% right all the time and that’s okay. The important part is that you are intentional every day to take steps towards taking better care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. If you encounter a day where you don’t practice the best self-care, that is okay. Try again the next day.
Self-care is a constant. It is something you will actively focus on doing every single day. There will be days where you practice it fully and other days where you forget about yourself completely. However, the point is to keep going. You may have to check yourself along the way when you find you aren’t prioritizing your self-care and that’s okay.
As a mom, you have enough to worry about. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or hinder yourself in any way by obsessing over self-care. There are so many forms of self-care and it extends beyond bubble baths and manicures. If on some days all you can do is sit in the car for 10 minutes before going in the house, consider that a self-care success. The point is to just start taking care of yourself and soon it will become a habit. Most importantly, hang in there mama because you’ve got this!