I am a mother of three children under the age of 6 and to say that our lives are a bit hectic is an understatement.
I remember one morning being woken up by one of my children & grumbling as I got out of bed. The crazy morning continued with tantrums, breakfast chaos, and being late getting out the door.
Later that day I spoke to a friend about the morning chaos and she said,"Children feed off of your vibe."
That's when it hit me! If mama ain't happy, then no one is happy!
I realized that I set the tone for the family and if I didn't make my self care a priority then I wouldn't be giving the best version of myself to my husband, children, family, or friends. If I didn't make a change, our household would continue on a downward spiral of tantrums, sleep deprivation, and barely surviving life.
You can't help others if you are running on fumes. It is a DAILY choice and challenge to keep up the self care, but I feel much more calm and controlled in the chaos of life. I feel more energized and present vs. stressed and overwhelmed. I enjoy spending time with my children without constantly thinking of all the other things that need to get done.
Self care is a commitment to honor and nurture yourself in order to prevent burnout. The key is to incorporate self care in your life in a variety of ways. I focus on three main types of self care - Physical, Mental & Emotional.
Physical Self Care
This includes taking care of your skin, eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
- Incorporate a DAILY skincare routine: Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Just like you brush your teeth everyday to prevent tooth decay, you need to protect, repair, and maintain your skin with an effective skincare routine.
After my kids, I found myself dealing with adult acne. Needless to say my confidence plummeted. After trying a lot of products, I finally found multi-med therapy with Rodan and Fields - Unblemish Regimen, that transformed my skin. My skincare routine is twice a day am/pm. Whether you are battling acne, sensitive skin, dark spots and sun damage, or fine lines and wrinkles, RF has something for everyone.
- Meal Plan: Meal planning every week will ensure you eat healthy meals vs. reaching for convenience foods.
During the winter, I plan our dinner menu on Saturday and go shopping on Sunday. I will prep a few things on Sunday to make the week easier. During the summer, this changes a bit because I shop fruits, veggies, and cheese at our town's farmers market on Friday. Then, the rest of the items I buy on Sunday.
- Exercise: Exercising helps to increase your energy levels & reduces stress & anxiety.
I wake up before my kids every morning to ensure I get my work out in. I mix it up between walking and yoga one day and then a full body workout the other days.
- Sleep: You don't realize just how important sleep is to functioning until you don't have it. Study after study says that sleep deprivation can cause a number of issues such as clumsiness, lower immune system, irritability, weight loss or gain, and adversely effects brain and cognitive function.
During the early months of a newborn, moms should try to make up for lack of sleep by taking naps during the day. Also, try to trade off nightly feedings with your spouse so that you can get a solid 5 hours of sleep a few nights a week.I also recommend that you create a bedtime routine to allow your body to relax. I have a 9pm alarm to remind me to get ready for bed. I put on my PJs, go through my evening skincare routine, make myself a cup of chamomile tea, get into bed, and read a chapter or two.
Getting better sleep has made me feel better, be more creative, and best of all, a happier, more patient parent.
Mental and Emotional Self Care
This revolves around your thoughts. Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts.
- Create a daily gratitude practice: By practicing gratitude every day, you will condition the mind to search for the positive things in life vs. focusing on the negative.
Instead of saying "I have to", I now live by the words "I GET to" which really changes your frame of mind and makes you appreciate even mundane everyday things.
I was cleaning my shower the other day and I suddenly realized how blessed I am to have the strength and good health to be able to do this especially while living with scoliosis. The thought made the time go by much faster than usual.
- Make time to prayer and/or mediate: Even 10 mins a day will reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Life is messy and crazy, the key is being able to remain calm and controlled while navigating the turbulent waves of life. My favorite meditation app is called Calm.
- Never stop learning: Find ways to continue to develop your thoughts and skills through books, classes, Ted Talks and podcasts.
Since I have a limited amount of time, I usually listen to podcasts, audio books, or talks while doing laundry, walking, or working out. Life long learning can open doors and introduce you to new opportunities. It can also help you connect with others and cultivate deeper relationships.
So how do you make self care a priority?
- Schedule It - create appointments in your calendar so you feel more committed to it. Life is chaotic and things will happen but if you make self care a priority and set it as part of your day you are more likely to do it. Here are my daily/monthly blocks:
5-6am: Mediate, pray, do yoga, walk, or complete a full body workout. This is my time to get clarity and to fuel my mind, body, and soul.
Noon-1pm - Lunch & some me-time activity - a walk, a phone call with a friend, listen to a podcast, read, or journal - anything to recharge me mid day.
3pm: While walking to the bus stop to pick up my son, I think about three things that I am grateful for.
Monthly/Quarterly: a massage, a hike, a weekend retreat, a concert or a talk by an inspirational speaker
- Find an Accountability partner: a spouse, a sibling, a friend, or a paid expert. Tell them what your plan is to incorporate more self care into your day or week and then have them check in with you and hold you accountable.
Self care is a journey that needs to be adjusted to the ebb and flows of life. But what I will say is that by making it a priority, I have found myself happier, more fulfilled, & more patient. I am a much better parent, wife, daughter, and friend. I invite you to share with me one action that you will take in the next two weeks to incorporate self care into your daily life.
Get your very own self-care checklist now!
Just enter your name and email below and it will be sent directly to your inbox, lickedy-split.
If you have not yet discovered your unique self-care love language click below to do so now and start loving yourself more intentionally today!
Learn more about Vanessa.
Readers will get a free sample if they complete the skincare consultation on my website and email themselves the results (US and Canada residents only): https://vmccabe.myrandf.com/Pages/OurProducts/GetAdvice/SolutionsTool
It is a DAILY choice and challenge to keep up the self care, but I feel much more calm and controlled in the chaos of life.