Moms are notorious for taking care of everyone – but themselves! Day in and day out, mothers provide for everyone else's needs – often leaving themselves worn and exhausted. It is so important that moms and women take care of themselves and practice self-care so they can be refreshed and fully present in everything they do. Self-care is not optional!! By following these 4 non-negotiable self-care ideas for moms, you'll be refreshed in your mind, body, and spirit – and ready to take on the world!
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well
3 John 1:2 NIV3
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What is Self-Care
There are loads of people, articles, and memes touting the importance of self-care. But what does self-care mean exactly? Self-Care is anything that makes you feel complete, strong, energized and capable. It is what makes you feel passionate about life. It is anything that gets you closer to feeling like you! There are so many different self-care ideas to take care of yourself.
- Emotional Self Care – Take note of obligations and relationships that shortchange you and create inner conflict. Determine how you can remedy them or begin backing out, realizing it may be an arduous process, but quite necessary to your well-being.
- Spiritual Self Care – Are you tuned in to what moves you? Praying, journaling, and simply sitting still for a few minutes are all ways to practice spiritual self-care.
- Take Care of Your Body – As we care for our kids’ health, hygiene and routine, we can’t forget our own bodies. No shaming or guilt allowed, but take time to check in with yourself. Commit to working on what you’ve neglected.
- Self-Care at Work – Our time at work can feel like it’s not our own, but there are ways to practice self-care in any setting. Setting boundaries and thinking before we commit are key self-care tips for moms, wherever your work takes place!
What are the Benefits of Self-Care?
As nurturers of our families, friends, neighbors and church friends, the importance of self-care for women cannot be understated! Self-care practices should be non-negotiable parts of our routine!
One might assume those who engage in self-care habits do so because they love themselves. Many women find self-care hard for various reasons, but loving ourselves sets us up for a bounty of blessings. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the main benefits of self-care is that it can actually be the first step to loving ourselves again, or possibly for the first time! Self-care also helps us to prevent burnout as moms trying to do everything!
Self-Care is Self-Love
One of the most commonly touted reasons for practicing self-care is to build yourself up stronger with the sole intent of better serving others. You’ve heard it said, “You can’t fill from an empty cup.” While benefiting those in our care is a lofty goal, it only scratches the surface.
Beyond merely having the stamina to serve others and behave better outwardly, a true transformation is taking place on the inside. We don’t just act in loving ways. We become love. And love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
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Self-Care Improves Relationships
When we’re gentler with ourselves, we can be gentler with others. The benefits of self-care tips for moms include making you a better friend and more apt to be in community with others.
Investing in ourselves builds a confidence that attracts deeper relationships. We then have more opportunity to see seasons come and go in other’s lives. Caring for ourselves ensures we are better equipped to help our friends handle whatever they face.
Self-Care Improves Health
Self-care is a vital part of taking care of yourself. Cortisol sometimes gets a bad rap, but its job includes regulating adrenaline so we have energy to endure stress, restoring balance to our systems following stressful events, establishing sleep/wake patterns and regulating blood pressure. It’s only when our body gets used to being under stress that cortisol gets out of whack and our body systems follow.
Taking care of your mind, body and spirit reduces stress, slows aging and helps ward off depression, anxiety, obesity, and countless diseases. These health benefits can be accomplished through diet, exercise and ensuring proper sleep. If these basics have been neglected while you cared for others, pick one area and begin with baby steps to build your confidence.
Be sure to also read these great posts with self-care tips for moms:
- 3 Life Changing Books for Stressed and Overwhelmed Mom
- Practicing Self-Care – Making Time for YOU in Your Busy Schedule
- How to Avoid the Negative Effects of Multitasking and Still Get Things Done
- The Key to Success and Having a Prosperous Life as A Girl Boss
Self-Care Ideas for Moms
Mamas can get pulled so far into their children’s lives, especially in the early stages, that they really do feel like a shadow of their former selves. In these times, contemplating the answers to “What makes me feel complete/strong/energized/capable?” may push a mom to tears instead of prompting her to curate a drool-worthy Self-Care Activities Pinterest board.
I know how it feels to be looking at a million priorities, trying to figure out how to get it all done. The reality is that all the things can’t be priority status and more than likely, they’re not all going to get done anyway. Prioritizing what really matters, and establishing a routine are key self-care ideas for moms.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms – Mental Health
Self-care ideas to preserve mental health include mindfulness and meditation. If even the thought of sitting still makes you feel antsy or guilty, it may a sign you need to take intentional pauses to preserve your mental health. It takes practice but I assure you, mama, you are capable! My favorite meditation apps with excellent programs for beginners are HeadSpace and Calm.
Being present can be done outside of these specific self-care activities, too. One of my favorite and easiest self-care tips for moms is to incorporate podcasts into existing household or exercise routines, commutes and car line waits. Tuning out the running dialogue in our head and listening to someone else’s thoughts can be a true gift! Here is a great place to find podcasts.
More ways to practice self-care for your mental health:
- Read – Whether it’s for educational or entertainment purposes, reading gives our brain something new to focus on. One of my favorite books that taught me how to put me first was The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner.
- Track your moods – using a bullet journal tracker, number rating system or color code in your existing journal or planner can help a busy mom spot patterns. When a pattern emerges, whether it is one you want to continue or discontinue, work to discover influencing variables such as relational factors, hormonal cycle, diet, exercise and sleep habits.
- Practice relaxation exercises – In addition to meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga and stretching are all good self-care habits.
- Get social – Being around others and listening as much as we speak reminds us we aren’t alone in the ups and downs we face.
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Self-Care Ideas for Moms – Spiritual Health
It is ideal to set aside daily quiet time for spiritual health. Reading, praying, taking time to reflect, and practicing stillness are all ways to practice spiritual self-care. Spending this time acknowledging a power higher than your own will free you to adjust priorities and exercise wisdom in all areas of your life.
If at first, you’re not able to observe this time daily, consider observing Self-Care Sunday by attending church or retreating from your routine with some solo quiet time. Aim to practice spiritual self-care at the same time of day or week so that your mind, body, and spirit come to anticipate and prepare for this healing time.
More ways to practice self-care for your spiritual health:
- Pray – Communing with God could be the highest form of self-care! Taking time for prayer reminds us who we are in Christ.
- Listen to music – Music can help us feel more connected to God and to others.
- Walk the Talk – Give back by volunteering. Forgive others as well as yourself. Encourage one another.
- Participate in Groups – Get involved in a group that spurs you on in your spiritual growth. This can be a formal group established by your church or informally with friends.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms – Physical Health
Self-care ideas for moms start with ensuring we’re meeting our own basic needs. Are you eating foods that nourish your body and scheduling times for meals and snacks or are they merely an afterthought based on what’s at hand? Are you being sure to get up and move throughout the day and replenishing yourself with enough rest?
Without feeling guilt or shame, evaluate which areas are going without care and vow to love yourself back from the neglect. If meeting these needs sounds near impossible, you might ask yourself what would enable you to make changes and act accordingly. Self-care ideas include utilizing apps, Pinterest and accountability partners to help you get started with meal planning and prep, beginning and sticking to a new exercise regimen and establishing a bedtime routine, just like many mommas lovingly do for their kids!
More ways to practice self-care for your physical health:
- Exercise – Even if you’re not able to get a full 30 minutes of activity, just getting up and moving improves circulation. Plan go-to activities in advance. March in place while you wait on your coffee to brew or stand up and do calf raises whenever you’re on hold. This activity will keep you alert and encourage a full workout later!
- Nourish your body – Eating the right foods not only helps avoid weight gain. Food also affects our energy levels, sleep patterns, moods and ability to ward off and recover from illness.
- Get enough rest – Set a bedtime routine and study what helps or diminishes your sleep. Turning screens off early and meditating during the day is very helpful to nighttime sleep. You may also look into vitamins, minerals, and herbs taken during the day or just before bed to assist with relaxation and sleep.
- Make and keep wellness appointments – Be aware of age-specific well-checks and testing as well as any recommended adjustments due to family history. Prevention and early detection could save your life.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms at Work
Self-care ideas for moms in the workplace begin with learning to set boundaries. Be sure your role, responsibilities, and goals are clearly defined. This is equally important for all moms wherever their work takes place. Defining these items prevents prioritizing tasks outside your goals.
Other ways to practice self-care at work arise when fielding requests to help others with their projects, receiving invites to optional social events and considering volunteer opportunities. Think before you commit! Repeat after me, “I’d love to. Let me look at my existing commitments and see if I can make it happen!” You’ll be setting a good example for others while also reminding your own sweet soul of your non-negotiables.
More ways to practice self-care at work:
- Prioritize – Just because something is a can-do does not mean it is a must-do! When I’m feeling overwhelmed with work, I like to write out 3 Big, 5 Medium and 10 Little things for the day. If more than 10 Little Things come to mind, I mark them as Later. These Later items are eventually added to my list, more than likely as Little items. This system can be based on deadline or by how much effort or time is required. Some days the Little items get no attention and simply get moved to the next day’s list.
- Keep your work area tidy – An organized space welcomes and encourages you to get started on tasks.
- Take breaks – Get in a few extra steps and chat with others or check in on social media. We need reminders there is life outside of work!
- Stay comfortable – Add cushioning to your office chair. Prepare and dress appropriately for fluctuating office temperatures.
Take Good Care of Yourself!
In order to make self-care happen, you’re going to have to MAKE SELF-CARE HAPPEN. Make a point this week to identify a recurring 15-minute block of time where you can put at least one of these self-care tips for moms into action. You may have to set the alarm a little earlier, stay up a little later or cut out an indulgence that no longer serves you. Need some additional resources to help? Here are some amazingly helpful resources for women that can help you in taking care of yourself in all areas your life.
Use those minutes to text a friend or read outside. Find a 15-minute yoga, cardio or strength training video on YouTube. Whip up that DIY beauty treatment you’ve been meaning to try and put it to work! I bet that once you fall back in love with yourself, you’ll be surprised at how many pockets of time you uncover and never look back!
I'd love to hear what self-care ideas for moms that you do or recommend! Comment below with how you implement self-care into your Mom-routine!
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GUEST AUTHOR BIO:
Rachel Mayew is a Crunchy Christian mama who often finds herself searching for ways to preserve the presence of mind and impart some gentleness to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace of life with kids. Her writing empowers moms to make more natural health decisions for their families while accepting God’s invitation to work alongside him loving and healing a broken world. You can read more at Rachel Mayew or connect with her on Facebook.