You wake up to rush the kids off to school. You stay up late finishing work or doing laundry. This pattern leads to only one outcome… your total exhaustion and overwhelm. Having a self-care routine can help provide a fail-safe structure to ensure you are taking time to recharge yourself.
As a new step-mom a few years back, I know I felt like I always had my ‘in-service’ light on as I rushed through my work responsibilities to then fulfill the needs of my family. I’d go to bed exhausted and thinking about all the junk I didn’t even get a chance to finish that day.
Not-to-mention, I still hadn’t done my ‘weekly’ scrub/mask in over two months.
Things didn’t get any easier when I had a little one of my own. In just one year, four miscarriages ravaged my body, followed by a healthy full-term pregnancy.
At last, my miracle little one was here, but I could barely stop to enjoy her because I was still recovering from my lack of self care before she was even born.
Ha Ha… caring for a newborn and trying to keep the rest of your family going is a real trick. Once I started to travel again for work, the game got even more complicated.
Let’s just stay that my younger self would have simply remarked… “Idiot…hire some help and hit the gym/spa.” Well, it isn’t so easy when you’re eyeball deep in it, right? I literally had zero self-care routine. Finally, I decided to put a stop to the constant churn of mamma’s duties and take a few breaks in the day JUST FOR ME.
No, I didn’t book a bunch of spa appointments, but I did manage to shoehorn in a few me-moments throughout my day. It might sound minimal, but it sure made a difference. Basically, I set-up a non-negotiable self care routine that has become as habitual as brushing my teeth.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish. Period.
At first, taking my mini-breaks felt selfish. Yet, soon… my little 15-minute self-soirees were slices of the day that relished. From early morning meditation and stretching/exercise sessions to late afternoon creative breaks, these mini mom-breaks let me look after myself.
I guess you could think of them as pit-stops where I could check-in with myself and refill my fuel. The cool part? I had built myself a self-care routine without wrecking my daily schedule.
Today, I ensure to ‘bookend’ my day with self-care. And, if needed, I’ll take a mid-day break to decompress and make sure that I’m doing well.
3 Easy Steps to a Self Care Routine: Decompress Your Day With a Little You Time
You’d be surprised what a few minutes a day can do to your zen balance. Wake-up 15-30 minutes earlier and pre-plan your nightly schedule and you’re set. You know you deserve it. Plus, taking time for yourself will be setting a phenomenal example for the rest of your family. Here are some of my favorite routines morning, afternoon and night:
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about mourning rituals. That’s because they are legit.
Taking a few minutes for yourself before the rest of the house starts waking up is a phenomenal way to ensure you’re starting on the right foot. (With a self-care routine you can be proud of.) This doesn’t have to be an hour workout or extended meditation session. Simply mapping-out a few self-care activities each morning can make a tremendous difference in your day.
I wake-up about an hour before the rest of my family because I’m a natural early-bird. I used to jump right into making lunches, folding laundry, and putting away dishes.
Instead, I now wake-up and take a few steps for myself each day:
[note: sometimes I put a face-mask on before starting this 15-minute routine]
- 5 min: Stretching & Yoga Block Back Relax – I ease-into the morning with some slow movements. I start with a few standing stretches, then lay down on my yoga mat with a foam block placed under my lower back. I literally just let my body melt over that block and stretch-out any soreness I may have developed during the night.
- 5 min: Sit-ups, Squats, Push-ups & Leg Raises – This varies from a standing series to mat-based movements. I keep it different daily, but just focus on some strength-building movements to get my blood flowing.
- 5 min: Meditation – Whether you want to call it sitting still and zoning out or true meditation, I sit still for a few minutes to let my mind get centered. Sometimes, I’ll run a meditation app, listen to classical music or just sit in silence. Love how this quiet time centers my mind for the day.
If I have an extra 15 minutes, I’ll add-in a quick yoga routine to this schedule; usually in-between #1 and #2 above. Most important is to give yourself grace during this special time and be flexible with what you feel like doing.
Afternoon Brain Booster
By the time you get your family out-the-door in the morning and jump-in to your own work, the day can start to blur together. By the time the afternoon comes around, my mind is typically pretty drained. One of my favorite ways to ‘reset’ my day is to do some sort of creative hobby or quick exercise routine. Set the timer and do 15 minutes of watercolor, sketching, walking or quick yoga routine. The name-of-the-game is to jump-start your mind by getting off your work, work, work track and redirect your energy. You’ll be surprised with what just 15 minutes can do for you this time of day.
Tuck Yourself In, Dear
Your kids love a consistent goodnight routine, right? Well, who says that mama’s self-care routine can’t have one as well. Mine typically revolves around nourishing my body and mind in preparation for a recharging, deep sleep.
Here’s My Evening Routine:
- Tart Cherry Juice – My absolute favorite sleep aid! A super gentle form of natural melatonin, tart cherry is a great way to calm your system down for sleep. You can find 100% tart cherry juice at the grocery store, or buy capsules of the extract online or at a natural foods store.
- Turmeric – Your body most likely built up a lot of inflammation during the day from stress or your diet. A well-balanced turmeric extract supplement helps to reduce inflammation levels overnight. (look for one that has black pepper, which is required for absorption)
- Magnesium – Another wonderful calming agent, magnesium also helps your body (ahem) get things moving through your digestive tract. I take one capsule at night and never have issues with my morning movements. (that’s a big deal for me!)
Ok, mama… you spend the day taking care of the rest of your family. Please make sure to take at least a few moments each day to take time for your own self care routine. Trust me, you won’t even miss the time in your busy schedule. Yet, taking control of your self care time will be immeasurable in your own nurturing.