How often do you feel as though you put everything you have into raising your children, being a considerate spouse, working hard at your job, and being a present and generous friend? Moms can fall into the trap of taking care of those around them while pushing their own needs aside. Without proper self-care, however, you can find yourself worn down and stressed. The good news is that there are self-care tips that are actually effective.
My favorite definition for self-care comes from ReachOut.com, which defined self-care as:
Any activity that you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. It can help you feel healthy, relaxed, and ready to take on your work and responsibilities.
It's common for women, mothers in particular, to spend their lives caring for and nurturing others. It's draining when you try to be everything to everyone. in an interview with the Kim Foundation, licensed clinical social worker with Methodist Community Counseling Program Mary Kate Hoffmann said that because caregivers are busy, the first and easiest thing to eliminate from their schedules is self-care. "Neglecting self-care can lead to compassion fatigue," she said. "Not only does compassion fatigue negatively affect the sufferer, but it also impacts our ability to care for effectively others.”
Just like when you are on an airplane and the flight attendants remind you to first put on your own air mask before helping others, it's important to make sure you are taken care of so that you can be successful at caring for others. Here are some effective self-care tips to get you feeling great again.
1. Unfollow Pages Or People Who Make You Feel Bad
You hardly have the time to catch up with your social media feed, so why should you spend it feeling bad? Unfollow the people who make you feel bad. Cut out the guy who keeps sharing obnoxious fake news and the girl from high school who only posts about her oil or protein shake business. You will be surprised how much better you'll feel by paring down your friends list.
2. Go For A Walk
You may think that the last thing you want to do when you're feeling run down is to exercise, but according to Scientific American, women who averaged 200 minutes of walking every week have more energy, socialize more, and feel better emotionally. Go for a walk after dinner to collect your thoughts, or take the baby on a stroll midday when you just need to get out of the house for a few minutes.
3. Cross Off A Pending To Do List Item
Everyone has that one thing they've been putting off forever. Maybe it's getting your eyes checked or changing the burnt out porch light. Whatever it is, tackle the one thing you've been meaning to do and you will feel happy and accomplished afterwards.
4. Join A Club
Busy moms don't tend to have time for a social life. A hobby or social club can help bring like-minded women together and may even help you live longer. A study published in BMJ Open, found that adults who join social groups after transitioning to retirement have a longer lifespan than those who don't. You may not be at retirement age, but there is a transition that occurs when you have kids. Being part of a group can help you maintain friendships during this transitional period of your life.
5. Quit A Committment
On the other hand, sometimes moms put too much on their plate. If you see that you're time, energy, or mental health is being drained by participation in a club or volunteer group, consider giving it up. According to Volunteer Match, volunteers and other people who work without pay have a low threshold for burnout.
6. Get More Sleep
If you wake up early for work or school, or have a baby who still gets up in the night, consider going to bed earlier. Sure, it stinks to miss watching your favorite show as it airs, but your body and mind will thank you for it in the morning. According to Healthline, when you don't get enough sleep you are at greater risk of getting sick, you have a harder time concentrating, you gain weight, you lose your libido, and you become accident prone.
I can personally attest to the mental health benefits of decluttering. Every time I clean out a closet or cabinet, I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Every trip to the thrift store and every bag of trash I toss makes me feel lighter and more focused. Being organized will help you get ready more quickly in the morning which is the first step to having a great day.
8. Visit Your Doctor
When you're a mom, you spend a lot of time at the pediatrician's office. When they become adolescents, rarely does a month go by that you aren't taking them to the dentist, orthodontist, optometrist, orthopedist, etc. Because of this, busy moms tend to let their own check-ups fall to the wayside. Everyday Health noted that mammograms, blood glucose tests, and Pap smears are just a few of the health exams that are essential to a woman's health. As women age, it becomes more important than ever to visit your health care professionals regularly.
9. Go On A Trip
If you have the ability to take a vacation, do it. According to Psychology Today, vacations can break your stress cycle and help you feel clear headed and ready to take on the world. Even a weekend away can do wonders to improve your mental health.