Self-care for mums who are way too busy for self-care
As a mum of four, with a career and two demanding cats, it is hard not to poke someone’s eye out with a frozen turkey dinosaur when I hear about the importance of self-care.
So I thought ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’. I do hope it won’t make you want to hit me with a bar of chocolate as you run your candle-lit bubble bath.
Clichés aside, it turns out self-care is not only a luxury for the bored, childless or unemployed; we actually need to look after ourselves in order to function. Who knew?! And this becomes more necessary when we are in charge of tiny humans.
Another mum once told me that her health visitor said mums should take care of their own needs first, so they are in a fit state to give to their children. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And some line about if you were in an air crash, you’d put your own oxygen mask on first.
Well, as my goal for 2018 is to wear matching socks at least most of the time, put make up on every day and read beyond page 19 of the book I started this time last year, I could definitely do with some self-care.
Here are five ways to introduce self-care to your exhausting busy life.
Follow positive social media
From funny Tweets to nuggets of Facebook wisdom and inspiring Instagram, virtual happiness is easier to grab since the internet became a thing. While real life trumps digital, if you find yourself having a rubbish day, support, laughs, guidance, tips and advice can be just a few clicks away. If you follow feel-good Twitter and Facebook accounts, they will appear in your social media and pop up in your feeds with joyful bite-size affirmations. What a time to be alive, eh?
Buy yourself something you don’t need
I love Yankee candles. I don’t especially think that they make the room smell of Yankee candle when you use them but I still like the aroma from up close as I light them. It can be anything really that will cheer you up. Mine would be a Thornton’s marzipan bar, a real life magazine or special coffee or tea. The scale of the treat is dependent to an extent on budget but there are ways you can enjoy a gift to yourself for under a pound.
Find five minutes of peace as often as you can
Spa days, mini breaks and long lie-ins are better but realistically these are often out of reach. Good quality space for yourself in short bursts is still better than none. Whether it is sinking into the bath with a Lush bubble bar, blasting out your favourite song in the car or emailing an old friend as you sit on the loo, try to find five minutes as often as you can to do ‘you’ things.
Spend time cheering someone else up
Giving to others is widely acknowledged to be good for our own souls. Being generous with what we have is uplifting. You could volunteer to help homeless people or older adults, spend time with elderly relatives, surprise a downhearted friend with a plant or take cakes for colleagues. Or do random acts of kindness. There’s a Facebook page I am on for mums where members leave bars of chocolate with affirming Post-Its on them, in places like baby changing rooms and libraries, to remind strangers they’re doing a great job of being a mum.
Slum it every so often
It can seem like we are almost expected to feel guilty for lounging around in our pyjamas. Duvet days are no bad thing. Once we have children, we are supposed to go out and take them to museums, swimming and other wholesome life-enhancing activities that are cultured, educational and sporty. It is okay to relax too. There is nothing better than staying in your pyjamas all day and letting the kids do the same, watching films and eating popcorn and generally unwinding, as you ‘do nothing’.