- Jessica Milicevic is the owner of Maven Media, a branding and marketing agency in North Carolina.
- She has compiled a list of ways that working mothers can take care of themselves without sacrificing too much time or money.
- Disconnecting, enjoying the calm, and practicing self-compassion are easy ways for moms to put their well-being first.
- Visit Insider’s Business section for more stories.
The term self-care has become one of those buzzwords so overused by bloggers, marketers, and influencers that it hardly makes any authentic sense anymore. Everyone from big brands to blogger moms encourage us to take care of ourselves, usually by participating in one of their products that promises to bring us calm, peace and mindfulness. We rarely get the true serenity of a candle or a cookie, but the idea that we have to take care of ourselves always prompts us to do whatever we can to achieve it.
Self-care in its most basic form is what you do to take care of yourself. As working mothers we have become conditioned to do everything for others, so the idea that we should be doing something for ourselves can seem totally selfish and alien. But practicing self-care for working mothers is easier said than done. Besides, what is self-care anyway, if not a way to escape?
Time and finances are often factors in any working mom’s decision to take time for herself.
When we think of recharging ourselves using the self-care method, we often talk about it because we have neither the time nor the money to take a day at the spa, or any other luxury image that has become synonymous with care. personal. And because the meaning of the term has become so commonplace, we often reject the practice altogether.
In an effort to redefine self-care for the working mom, I’ve created a list of ways we can all practice true love for ourselves, without sacrificing a lot of time or money. These practices can be incorporated into your daily life so that you can easily take the time to reset your mind, body, and soul and fill that empty cup.
I know I don’t inspire a lot of confidence starting with something this simple, but stick with me.
There was a time in my life when maternal depression sent me to the hospital for a week. In the middle of the chaotic moment, I started having a panic attack as I contemplated what was really happening to me.
What kept me from melting completely was the breathing. In yoga, I had learned to block out the rest of the world and just count my breaths as I inhale and exhale, and when it mattered most, I could use this practice to calm my whole body.
In the middle of a busy day at work, when your coworkers are difficult and the boss is stubborn, or when your kids are all screaming and your partner wants your attention, just take a moment to stop.
Pick a place where you can be alone (when I’m home it often means hiding in my closet) and sit down. Put a timer on your phone for five minutes. Close your eyes and breathe in to the count of six and exhale to the count of six. Count out loud if you need to, to give yourself a sound to focus on.
Give yourself permission to push all other thoughts away (after all, it’s only for five minutes) and just listen to your breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and focus on the consistency of your breathing. If you practice this often enough, the breath will automatically kick in when you feel tense and stressed, as I did.
Read more: I am an influential mom who earns up to $ 12,000 per month through paid referrals. Here is how I increased my income and kept up while taking care of my son.
2. Log in
It may be specific to extroverts like me, but I’ve found that having a conversation helps me take a break from my stress and engage in informal talk therapy.
Some of the best connections I’ve made started online in a Facebook group for working moms. Instead of just using the platform to just ventilate (which is totally acceptable!), Try using it to connect with other moms. I asked for advice, or shared an interesting article, or even shared a photo of my kids and invited other people to share as well.
The advantage of being a member of a group for working mothers is that they understand what you are going through. Whatever you struggle with or take joy in, they probably do too. Connecting with other women in this way can help us make friends, which is definitely part of taking charge of ourselves.
Most of the time, after taking care of my four children and running my own business, I need some time to switch off. Instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media, I’ve implemented a form of self-care that really helps me reset: silence. I sit on my couch and don’t talk to anyone, and I ask my husband not to talk to me for an hour.
Every working mom deserves time to reset her mind and rest her brain before bed. Arrange with your partner and children to take an hour to not talk to anyone, then choose an activity that brings you joy.
Try to pick an activity that doesn’t overly stimulate your brain, like listening to a podcast or reading a book, and give yourself permission to put everything else aside and enjoy it. If you can, jump in the tub and let yourself melt for an hour.
I can see many of you rolling your eyes at that suggestion. How does it take care of sleep if it is also part of simple human existence? But ask yourself: what quality of sleep are you getting?
After eight hours in the office and four hours of homework, dinners and bedtime routines, working moms often find themselves stretched out on the sofa, mindlessly watching TV or scrolling through social media before slipping into bed. We only lie down to support the mental load we carry, holding ourselves back even later and often letting us fall asleep anxiously.
Instead, try to give yourself real rest. Search shows that getting enough sleep can help you have the energy to manage anxiety and can increase the positive consolidation of thoughts and memories while we sleep, which in turn keeps us in a better mood when we are awake.
Commit to being in bed, screen-less, at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. every night. If real self-care comes from taking care of ourselves, getting enough sleep should be a priority.
Read more: A CEO swears by organizing 2 “focus days” per week when he does not attend meetings. Here’s how he integrates them into his routine.
5. Permission and forgiveness
As working mothers, we carry so much on our minds and hearts. From our colleagues to our children, we want everyone in our life to feel supported and happy. In addition to the need to make everyone happy, there is ultimately the feeling of guilt when we are unable to complete this impossible task.
Mom’s guilt is a burden we all carry, but how it manifests in our lives is different for everyone. For me, I let guilt dictate my happiness. I never gave myself permission to be imperfect or to allow others in my life to feel dissatisfied or disappointed, and my mental health started to deteriorate.
In order to tackle any of the self-care items listed above, you need to give yourself the time and space to do so. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself and be happy and healthy.
When planning your day, you have the option of choosing to do something for yourself. While doing things for your friends and family is generous and kind, you should also be kind and generous to yourself.
It can be as simple as choosing to take a shower instead of preparing a meal that takes longer for your kids or your partner. Give yourself permission to take 30 minutes to be alone, do something you need to do and be.
It often forces us to also forgive ourselves for whatever we feel we are failing (which we often don’t, but again, mum’s guilt) and knowing that we are doing our best. Forgive yourself for any negative thoughts you have and allow yourself to be a human being with needs and the ability to be imperfect.
Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or complicated. It can be as simple as doing things to maintain your emotional and mental health so that you feel balanced in your daily life. While self-care is absolutely necessary, real self-care is something we need to do regularly to be able to give 100% to our family, friends and coworkers. It’s a cliché, but it’s also true: you can’t give with an empty cup. So fill in yours and know that it is in the service not only of others, but also in the service of yourself.
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