February means Valentines Day and Valentine’s Day is all about LOVE. And Mom’s have lots of love to give out, but do you have time to share some love with yourself too? I know for myself it can be difficult to manage much time for myself in the midst of caring for my child, helping to run my household and my business and stay connected with my husband. That said, I know self-care is important, it can reduce stress and provide you with an opportunity to check in with your own well being, great for managing stress, anxiety and depression. Here are a few of my favorite ways to ensure I am practicing self-care as a busy mom 1) Schedule it in. Seriously. My personal schedule now says “yoga” on it almost every day. This is Emily time. I don’t book clients or take on any other responsibilities during the time. I started doing this after I saw how I was teaching yoga all the time but never really practicing it. Now I know that I have a time each day that will be all about me. Where I can shut my door, tune in to my body and do whatever I feel I need to do to feel a bit better. It isn’t often much time, which leads me to point number 2.
2) Choose quality over quantity. When it comes to yoga, and many other aspects of self-care, if you are busy it can often feel like there is no time. If you don’t have an hour to go to a yoga class (plus the travel) time, or 30 minutes to do that meditation you like, well why bother at all? My philosophy, especially since becoming a mom, is that a little bit is worth a lot more than nothing at all. I don’t always have time to practice an hour plus yoga practice. But I may have 15 minutes, so I do that. And practicing for those 15 minutes usually makes me feel better and consequently makes me more productive all day. If you have 5 minutes you can do a short mindfulness meditation or a few sun salutations. You will likely enjoy it and feel less rushed the rest of the day.
3) Let go of the guilt. This is a tough one for me! As women we are made to feel like we not only CAN “have it all” but we must. Must be the perfect mom, the hardest worker etc. etc. This can often make us feel like failures if we ever need a break. Coupled with the sentiment of “blink and you’ll miss it” of parenthood, I often feel like if I step away from my work or my family I am failing everyone and missing many important things. But the truth is, when I am tuned in present and feeling physically and mentally comfortable and balanced I am a better mother, wife teacher and therapist.
4) Involve others. Personally I don’t think self-care always has to be by your “self” and this is coming from a natural introvert. Sometimes when I need a break but I am on mom duty this may mean a walk in the park. Little one is happily strapped into his stroller enjoying a view of the world while I have a relaxing (i.e. not political) podcast playing in my ears. I’ve given up trying to make my husband a yogi but yoga, dancing and exercise are all great ways to bond with your partner while practicing self-care.
5) Don’t stress if it doesn’t happen. I am aware that “self care” is very much a buzzword these days. I know this is one of countless blogs on the topic. Many of them can make it seem like life without self-care is downright deadly. I know for me, and I suspect for others, this can be a dangerous message. If you are already feeling stressed or anxious about caring for others and you feel like you are failing yourself you may just feel worse. So if you miss your self-care practice today, this week, this month, don’t fret. It may be helpful to take some of these tips to find more accessible ways to bring some important care into your life. And you have tomorrow to give it another try.
Hope you are able to find some time to share some love for yourself! Happy Valentines Day!