Self care is essential to everyone. We all need to take care of ourselves. My health and wellbeing is my personal responsibility, yours is yours. The more we can take care of our own wellbeing, the better we are able to function in our lives.
We have this strange idea as a society that self care is ‘selfish’. And yet, when people don’t take good care of themselves, they are also damned. Self care and not taking care of yourself both deemed to be selfish and irresponsible….. what a strange world we live in!
When you take good care of yourself, you are better able to show up at your best in all the areas of life you value. You can be a better friend, a better daughter, sister, colleague, boss, neighbour and all the other roles you occupy in life. This is particularly true in your role as mother.
You cannot give your best to your children if you are stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, or ill. If you want to be fully present, and be able to be the very best mother you can be, you need to be operating at your best. I know that when I am ill, or when I have not been taking care of myself, my parenting skills deteriorate. During the times of my life when I have been really unwell mentally, my children have suffered. And conversely, when I am taking care of myself, I can be far more present and focused on them.
While self-care is vital for all, and for all mothers, it is particularly important for single mothers. If you are the only one at home with the children, who takes care of them if you are sick? Who can be calm and present with them if you are strung out and overwhelmed?
Developing an effective toolbox of self care strategies, developing good self care habits, and making the time to do things that support your own wellbeing is far from selfish. It is essential for your children’s wellbeing.
It also shows them that you value yourself as a person in your own right, and teaches them that women, and mothers, deserve and need to take care of themselves as well as their children, a useful lesson for the adults, and maybe parents, they will grow up to be.
Self Care is Simple
Self care doesn’t need to be things that you have to pay for, or leave the kids with a sitter for. It can be as simple as making sure you drink enough water through the day, take any meds you need to take, or remember to breathe deeply from time to time.
Here is a list of things you could try as self care activities to improve physical and mental wellbeing, reduce stress, promote relaxation and rest, and increase your sense of happiness and contentment.
- Put on music you love and dance in the kitchen
- Wrap yourself in a soft blanket
- Watch an uplifting movie
- Make sure you take any medication you need
- Phone a friend and chat
- List all the things you can think of that you are grateful for right now
- Develop a regular gratitude practice
- Take a walk in nature
- Sit by the sea and listen to the sound of the waves on the shore
- Take some deep breaths
- Grab a journal and write about your day, your dreams, your goals, and how you can create the life you want to live
- Make something – write a story, knit something, paint something, anything creative will make you feel better
- Make sure you speak to your doctor about any health worries you have
- Share your worries with a trusted friend
- Invite a friend to lunch
- Declutter a space in your home
- Give yourself a manicure and paint your nails
- Drink more water – most of us are dehydrated, so be sure you are getting enough water
- Switch off your devices an hour before bed
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom, and avoid looking at it for at least 30 minutes when you get up
- Reduce your caffeine intake, slowly, increasing the amount of water and/or herbal tea you drink
- Learn to breathe better
- Practice Yoga
- Find a fun hobby you and the kids can do together – my son and I have just started climbing, it is giving us some great fun and wonderful quality time together
- Stop and listen to the sounds of nature around you
- Add more walking into your day – park the car further away from the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a break at lunchtime and walk for 20 minutes….
- Set a timer to remind yourself to take 3 deep breaths every hour
- Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move your body for 5 minutes every hour
- Find some simple, wholesome recipes and cook healthy meals with the kids
- Find 5 minutes to sit and focus on your breath daily
- Celebrate the small wins – when you look at the little things you accomplish each day, it’s so much easier to stay positive about the big things you have to get done as well
I will, I am sure, add more to this as I think of them.
What would you add?