I recently posted on instagram after an incredibly busy week that left me feeling quite drained. It was Sunday night and I was sitting on the couch reflecting on this current season of life. It was one of those moments that things seemed chaotic and out of sorts. My head felt like it was spinning with all of the to-do lists. Do you ever feel like this? It was piling up and I was feeling fried. I couldn’t keep up. You could call it a funk I suppose. Regardless of what it was, I didn’t like it and I needed a way out! It is no surprise that in this season of life, time is not my own. My time belongs to the tiny people that have overtaken my house. The little minions that consume my heart. Those little pumpkin pies that are in constant need of something and everything. At time it can feel a little overwhelming being so needed by so many people. I decided it was time to prioritize my self-care. Here are some things I tried to help me feel more in tune with myself and wanted to share those strategies with you.
Do you ever feel unbalanced? Like sometimes even the little things seem overwhelming? We spent the last year building our home and the first thing that went out the window was my self-care. Since we have moved into our home, I have spent a-lot of my time trying to find that balance once again. I have even taken an interest in figuring out how others balance their life, family and work. What I have realized is this a normal struggle for so many people. Even the most seemingly put together person can be dealing with their own bouts of anxiety and nervousness. Having bouts of anxiety does not mean this is your new norm. It can literally be a season of life you are in and it will pass. Since I find it helpful to learn others self-care tips and strategies, I wanted to share what helps me when I am feeling unbalance.
self-care strategies that have helped me—
Today I wanted to share a few things that make a big difference for me when I am feeling unbalanced. I of course still have overwhelming days, I think it comes with the job of parenthood. These strategies have helped me feel a little more in control of my current stage of life. I usually find when I can make an effort to prioritize self-care, my anxiety diminishes and I am a better person, friend, mother and wife.
a crappy workout is better than none—
Working out is no longer something I can compromise on, for me, it’s my greatest form of self-care. I have had my fair share of emotional circumstances and life events that have challenged me to my core. Honestly, I did not even know what I was capable of surviving until I was tested. Lately, I’ve learned that exercise directly correlates with my mental health and overall happiness. This is crucial when I am going through harder circumstances in my life.
I am in so much more control of my own emotions when I take the time to exercise. Now, I won’t tell you that this comes easy each day. Being a mom of young children, and commuting to my job an hour away, sometimes there is just no time. Sometimes, I sacrifice whatever I can to get another hour of sleep. Surprisingly enough though, when I sacrifice the extra 30 minutes of sleep to get up and sweat, my entire day has a better outcome. I honestly don’t even find myself tired because I go through the day knowing I did something for me!
set manageable goals for yourself—
Something that I learned is to not put unrealistic expectations on yourself. I set unrealistic goals time and time again and then I get down on myself when I can’t reach them. Setting small goals helps me achieve small victories. Currently, I don’t have time to go to a gym or do two hour work-outs a day. I can however, sacrifice 30 minutes of my sleep in the morning to work on me, for me! 30 minutes is not that long. It really isn’t. You are completely capable of moving and grooving for 30 minutes and focusing on your health for 30 minutes. Now, I know sometimes the workouts don’t go as planned. Often they aren’t even as intense as I would like, but 30 minutes is better than nothing.
For me this workout is best accomplished in the early morning hours, before everyone is awake. This usually means early bed times and sacrificing some time alone. I keep trying to remind myself that investing in my health is the best investment I can make. It directly correlates with my anxiety levels so it really shouldn’t be a choice. It provides me the strength to be calm, interactive and happy person, then it really can’t be something I compromise on. Exercise needs to be taken like a prescribed medication. I challenge you to devote just 30 minutes a day (just move for 30 min!) and I promise you will find results one way or the other.
get up before the kids—
Get up before the kids! Yep I said it. I am sacrificing precious sleep for alone time on the couch. You know the time when its quiet in the house, the sun is just rising and you can actually think. I really enjoy that peaceful time when I can sit and be alone with my thoughts. I love enjoying my coffee all alone, before my role of Mom begins. Its such a special time to self-reflect and set intentions which is something I am trying to get better about.
I am a better mom when I can think alone first thing in the morning—
For me waking up before my munchkins sets the tone for the entire day. I always seem to have a better attitude if I can just have a small amount of time before my role of mom begins. When my kids wake up, they are ready to go! For me, I need time to be able to wake up and get my game face on! I swear they think they are at an amusement park first thing in the morning! As cute as they are, I prefer to jump rope after I’ve had my morning coffee! If I actually succeed in getting this time to myself in the morning, I am such better mom. I actually get excited for them to wake up and snuggle.
set intentions for the day, have a conversation—
I sometimes will read self-care and self-help books, listen to podcast, devotionals or spend time with God. I am trying to do better at setting time to be intentional. This life is just insanely busy its so hard to just “BE”. I love the time that I am alone with my thoughts. On the other hand, I love waking up and enjoying quiet time with my husband. We will literally schedule our talks for the morning. Often we are so busy and so tired we don’t have time to have structured conversations. After long days at work and wrangling all the kids to bed, energy to make big life decisions just isn’t there. So, we get up before the kids, to be alone with one another and communicate. I love this time with him as well. We will have coffee and just be present with one another.
Waking up before the kids makes a huge difference in my overall productivity and happiness. I’ll be honest with you though, this does not always happen the way I want it to. Sometimes I don’t get to wake up before the kids due to a number of circumstances. Usually on the days I wake up to them opening my eye lids or standing at the foot of my bed, my day is not as great. I just am not the best version of myself. If you struggle with waking up TO your kids I challenge you to wake up before your kids. Let me know how it goes? For me I would rather sacrifice the sleep time than the alone time, especially at this stage in life! Alone time & quiet time, it just sets the tone for the whole day!
get ready for the day—
For those of you that really know me, you know I love my mom robe. I am a sucker for sweat pants and pajamas and I absolutely love the comfort of home. This will never change, however I noticed something recently and it was directly correlated with my attitude. One day I was home with the kids full time, that I hadn’t showered in few days (mom life) and realized there was something stuck in my hair. I looked in the mirror and really didn’t even recognize myself. It wasn’t the face without make up or the extra weight I had gained while carrying Breckum in my belly. It was the reflection of the person I was becoming.
I genuinely did not recognize the person because I had been living in mommy mode, and my mommy robe for far too long. It was time to remember who I was. This was the day I started making an effort to put time into caring for my self, my person. I started getting ready in the mornings. Whoa. Life changing. Now don’t get me wrong, my go to attire is comfy and casual, but there is a direct correlation when you actually try for yourself.
leggings are great, but put on something that makes you feel GOOD—
I had let myself go, for far too long. It’s not really something I am ashamed of. Between breastfeeding, nightly wake ups, sick kids, you name it, I was exhausted. There was no time to care for myself because my life was consumed caring for everyone else. I had forgotten to put emphasis on my own personal goals, needs, wishes and self-care. Getting dressed, in actual clothes each day does not take much effort. You don’t need to get fully done up to actually feel like a person. Usually my first piece of advice for new moms is to make an effort to get dressed each day. Sometimes getting ready for the day may remind you that you are still in there. It may just remind you of the rockstar you are, and give you the confidence you need to succeed another day.
make lists and check them off—
Make lists. My husband has been telling me to write lists more and more so lately. He always says when I am feeling overwhelmed making a list will help guide me. I will give credit where credit is due, he’s right. Being a working mom and managing a household, all the things that need to get done pile up. I am sure if you are a parent you can relate. Each week comes with its own challenges, and some are more busy than others. My husband has reminded me that I am the queen of making lists. Heck, I don’t seem to have any trouble making a honey do list for him, so why not make myself one. Lists help me prioritize what needs to get done and what can wait. I love crossing things off of the lists. There is something to say about crossing a task off of a list and thinking “Man I am the bomb” for doing that! I recently purchased a few new planner (my favorite linked here) and they have helped me stay organized!
find a hobby, go out with a friend—
Do something for you. Well I haven’t had a hobby in 5 years so let me let you in on a little secret. Mommy hood is tough work, and one of the hardest things to let go of is the unrealistic expectations. No matter how hard you try, you will always think you could have done better. I want to remind you, you are doing the best you can with what you have.
In this season, I am being pulled into so many directions that my hobbies, my dreams, my passions have been put on hold. It’s taken me 5 years before I realized I have literally sacrificed much of who I am, to be home and raise my little kiddos. Raising them and watching them grow has brought so much joy to my life and its hard to transition back into the social life. If you are like me and realizing you need something for YOU, I will be the first to validate, this new territory is hard. I had forgotten how important it was to find something you enjoy, solely for you. But, along with new hobbies, comes the dreaded mom guilt.
When I was going through post-partum depression counseling my therapist always asked me what hobbies I enjoyed. For the life of me, I could not think of one single hobby I enjoyed or had enjoyed. I hadn’t had time in years to pick up any new hobbies, and it had been so long that I had almost forgotten what I liked to do before having kids.
grab coffee with a girlfriend, read a book—
It wasn’t until I was feeling so lost as my own person, that I felt like I had no choice but to start somewhere. I just had to take a leap and try. I started going out with friends, casually. At first it was only for an hour or so, just to be social. Then I said yes to girls weekend, which I hadn’t done in years. Last spring I even went away for a night or so with a girlfriend. I got my first pedicure in years with a girlfriend and remembered what it was like to just go out and enjoy those girly things. Slowly I started reading again, and then I began blogging. I found an outlet on instagram and it was the first step I needed to just have a voice, tell a story and to connect with other mamas stuck in a rut.
make a list of things you are good at, what you love—
These self-care strategies are what work for me. I know they will not work for everyone. If you are feeling overwhelmed and that your self-care has went out the window for one reason or the other, I want you to do something. I want you to sit down and make a list of the hobbies you like and the things you are good at. Write down things you enjoyed in the future, and write down your goals. Where do you see yourself and who do you want to be?
the day is yours for the taking—
Focus on your future and do not dwell on your past. The present day is yours for the taking and it is only now that you can decide to devote the time into your own well being. This stage of life is hard. It’s a stage that is full of demands, but it’s so important to try and remember it won’t always be this way. So standing up, showing up, and being the best version of yourself may be the best thing you can do as a person, and as a mother. Being a mom is and always will be my favorite title, and these things are what make me the best version of her.
For more strategies on navigating self-care, mental health, and so much more, be sure to check out more of my blog posts here!