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If you’ve ever clicked on a Tumblr blog or Twitter post, self-care almost exclusively looks like bubble baths, candles, face masks, cutting everyone out of your life who isn’t perpetually positive, forgetting your kids, and basically doing whatever you want. Some of these points definitely have merit. But, if the only way you’re taking care of yourself is by submerging into a Lavender bubble bath, chances are, other aspects of your life are crying out for help. Here are some things to remember to do for yourself as you navigate the trials of motherhood.
Make – and Keep – Your Appointments
As a mother, your life probably revolves around your children: taking them to and from practices, school, various appointments, play dates, etc. So, how on earth are you supposed to make time for own health?
The thing is, you have to. By not taking care of yourself, you start to wear yourself thin and will actually have less energy to give to your children. You have to make time for the bare essentials.
These days, it’s as easy as going online and making an appointment. Take yourself to the doctor, a counselor if you need it, the OB-GYN, the dentist, etc.. Your health is your number 1 priority, so you can keep your energy and sanity up for your family!
You’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true – exercise has been proven to lower anxiety and stress levels, improve mental health, and elongate life.
It doesn’t have to be anything super strenuous: it can be as easy as walking that mile from the parking deck to your office instead of taking the bus. Take the stairs to the 2nd floor instead of taking the elevator. Any little bit you can do throughout the day to get your heart rate up counts. You will be able to see the difference that exercising makes in your patience and reactions to your kids.
Maintain a Social Life
This sounds absolutely impossible. Where on earth are you supposed to time find for yourself, let alone sacrifice even THAT time to spend it with other people? The secret is, though, that spending time with other people actually gives you energy (assuming they are life-giving people and not bad friends).
Having an adult conversation with someone who has a vocabulary past middle school is essential. Humans need connection, and you’ll definitely feel the effects of denying yourself that connection after a while. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal – a lunch or phone call here – but connecting with other human beings who get what you’re going through is a game-changer.
Just because you’re a mom. It doesn’t mean you won’t have time to get romance or intimacy from your partner. Despite all the household chores, taking care of the kids, sorting out bills, doing the groceries. At the end of the day, being with your partner at home isn’t the same as bonding. Lack of intimacy, can make you feel isolated, even if you aren’t. You can read this article: What Else You Don’t Know About Erik Erikson’s Intimacy Vs Isolation. It’s a great read that tackles conflicts, loneliness, and solutions. Sexuality is never taboo!
Make it a priority to take 10 minutes for yourself every day. If this means you have to wake up earlier, then do it. Take these 10 minutes to yourself to meditate or reflect on your day, take inventory of how you’re doing, and just be with yourself for a little while.
10 minutes a day may seem so little that it wouldn’t make a difference, but it adds up. It can be easy to forget yourself in the midst of life’s craziness, so taking that extra time to spend with yourself is essential in reaffirming your identity outside of being a mom. You’re still a person outside of that!
While these tips may seem ordinary and unglamorous, these are simple, real-life necessities that most people gloss over. However, keeping your physical and mental health in check is infinitely more important than anything else.