Modern life can be hectic. It can be challenging to find the time to look after ourselves properly, but if we don’t, the other roles we play can become a whole lot harder.
Between caring for our spouse or significant other, the kids and the house, fulfilling our commitments at work, a never-ending to-do list, making time for friends and other social obligations; all these things can leave us little to no time to take care of ourselves.
But what happens when we let our own care fall by the wayside?
Well, we feel stressed, we can’t sleep, we get rundown, our temper flares and we get snappy with those closest to us, which leaves us feeling even worse. The tiredness has an adverse effect on our immune system, and we end up getting physically sick. Add all these together, and we end up in such a state that we’re unable to take care of everyone else.
This is where self-care comes in to play.
It’s incredibly important to establish a daily self-care routine. Now, this isn’t as complicated as it may sound. Self-care doesn’t have to take hours, even 10 minutes a day can have a dramatic impact, but it’s best if you carve out some time every day.
Take your pick
Check out this handy list of twenty simple self-care ideas for busy mums, and pick one or two that you can fit into whatever free time you have.
- Wake up ten minutes earlier and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in silence
- Go for a walk outside
- Call a friend
- Take a soak in a bubble bath
- Have a nap
- Read a book
- Draw or colour something
- Take a yoga/flower arranging/sewing class (it doesn’t matter what it is, but get out there and try something new)
- Go out for lunch with a friend
- Paint your nails
- Watch a movie or a few episodes of your favourite series
- Dance and sing along to your favourite songs
- Light some scented candles and sit and do nothing
- Make up a picnic lunch and take it to the local park
- Put on a face mask
- Host an adults-only game night with home-made cocktails
- Write in a journal
- Wrap up warm and sit out under the stars
- Look through your old photo albums
I’m sure there are a few ideas there that you could manage to squeeze into your schedule, so why not give them a shot? If you have the opportunity, you could even combine them; light some candles, slap on a face mask, then paint your nails while it works its magic. That’s three self-care activities in as little as 15 minutes.
My top self-care tip
Meditation is my personal favourite. It doesn’t have to be an hourlong guided meditation – even 5 minutes of simple breath meditation in the morning before the kids wake up can do the job (that’s usually all I get time for). The feeling of calm it gives me can last for hours, it really is incredible.
As a bonus, you can do it throughout the day – you don’t have to be sat quietly in the lotus position for it to be effective. I’ve been known to practice meditation while waiting in line at the supermarket checkout, while I’m on the bus, and when I’m put on hold while trying to get through to someone on the telephone.
As parents, we spend a lot of our time taking care of other people, but we can’t do that properly if we don’t also take care of ourselves.
I hope you see how important it is to carve out a little time each day to do something for yourself. As I explained earlier, you don’t have to spend hours doing it, even a few minutes a day can have a dramatic impact on your mood, your overall health and your ability to give your family everything they need.
What are your favourite ways to unwind? Drop me a comment below and let me know your top self-care activities.