Updated: Oct 27, 2020
It's 2020! As mamas, we are charged with juggling multiple responsibilities, including household chores, drop-offs/pick-ups, sleep training, recitals, breaking up fights, working, and now we have a pandemic. More moms than ever are in the workforce. According to the Center for American Progress, "Women now make up half of all workers in the United States, with nearly 4 in 10 homes having a mom that is also a working mother."
Stay at home moms, we definitely see you and appreciate you. After sheltering in place for three months, I can appreciate moms who are parenting all day. I have been on a journey for the last five years, balancing working, streamlining household routines, overscheduling, minimalism, and more. Being a role model to the kids is critical, especially today, with all of the YouTube sensations taking over their learning platforms. Forgetting about your own needs can hurt kids. If you do not pour into yourself, it isn't easy to pour into the family. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue ultimately lead to burnout. Any efforts you put into self- care has a huge payoff for the kids, who are ultimately your heartbeats.
Here are a few strategies and healthy coping mechanisms that may help a few mamas discover self - care as a priority:
1. Breathe and practice gratitude - This sounds cliché' but don't underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. Gratitude works well with breathing because you are taking time to be present and think about the joys of life. Gratitude is true prosperity, especially in a world that is driven by greed and money. Give yourself grace and think positive thoughts. A beneficial tool in my life has been the Secret. It has abundantly changed my life trajectory, and I have been able to change life habits because of learning the attraction laws.
2. Find a hobby - Something you enjoy doing in your spare time. I get all wrapped up into my kids and even have a special Instagram page just for them. It took some self-discovery, but I realized dressing up and taking pictures is a hobby for me. Also, food and discovering fun hangouts around the city are a few of my passions. I love writing about food, but I drink plenty of water, eat fresh herbs, and primarily eat plant-based when I am not eating out. The most important part of food blogging, for me, is eating mindfully.
3. Journal, read and organize your life - I know that's a substantial amount of information to swallow, but once I started writing, reading books of interest, and organizing my agenda, closet, desk, office area, etc. - things fell in place. It helps with the constant cycle of I should, and I didn't know today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe on Sunday. Maybe next Sunday. Plan it. You will be happy you did. Drawing and coloring are also helpful to minimize your stress. Studies show, coloring with the kids can also be interactive for you and minimize some stress.
4. Pamper yourself - This does not have to be expensive. Light a candle to de-stress the senses, indulge in a hot bath, drink chamomile tea, buy fresh flowers, invest time in your health. It's probably not ideal for taking a Veuve Clicquot bath every night but trying something that soothes your soul around night time. Cozy up in freshly clean sheets, some people have fur babies, snuggle with your pet, and wear soft fabrics. I wear silk pajamas when I need to rest more.
Healthy sleep routines are also important and something I struggle with (from time to time). There are tools to help moms with Sleep Deprivation. If you suffer from lack of sleep, please know that you are not alone, and there are resources out there.
Even with a pandemic, it's still imperative to make those appointments for wellness visits so schedule yours asap.
5. Get physical - Do it at any time. Taking 15-minute breaks, in intervals, throughout the day can help you stay active. Micro self-care can work if you struggle with finding the time to do it during the day. I have been using micro-breaks during the day and wearing tennis shoes to work to inspire me to get active. My husband also got a smartwatch to help me reach my fitness goals. The smartwatch is a good accountability coach if your goal is to monitor your activity during the day.
6. Have a girl's night out - Schedule at least a few hours of uninterrupted fun with a friend or your squad. You have to put on shoes and get dressed, but the time spent away from the kids can be beneficial to you and them. Have a trusted friend/family member who can watch the kids, and you can reciprocate with them. This will allow you time to get out there and not have to say ' I don't have a sitter' to your girlfriends.
7. Make a connection with a mom - Find a trusted source that you can confide in about some real issues you are going through, especially during those early stages of parenthood. I was blessed to have a mommy circle waiting for me as soon as I had my first child. My older sister is really the socialite, and she had a host of best friends who were in the same phases as me with kids. You will be surprised at some of the same questions you have that other mamas have as well.
8. Plan a vacation/staycation - It's okay to stargaze on Pinterest about some places and pin them. Also, set reminders and make financial goals that will help you get there. A study released by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments associated with stress and anxiety. I will just let that sink in. In conclusion, we all need to book more vacations.
9. Do something that you have never done before - Bucket list behavior. International travel, run a 10k, hiking, Safari in Africa, overlook the Empire State building, learn to bartend, luxurious spa weekend, stay in an ice hotel, skiing, hot air balloon, kayaking, starting a blog/business you name it. Jumping out of your comfort zone will allow you the freedom to gain control over your life. If you like it, you may proceed and do it again. If you don't, then at least you can say you were not afraid to try it.
10. Cook a new dish - There is great joy in discovering a new recipe. Some fun dishes to try to make from scratch are pizzas, dips, anything with truffle, Mexican and Jamaican, charcuterie boards, and desserts.
Last but not least, set new professional goals. As an HR professional, one of the challenges the role of HR has is developing the workforce and also nurturing our HR careers. Being a goal-getter helps to create a sense of excitement about the future. It can be getting a professional certification, obtaining a master's degree, or Ph.D. Whatever your passions are, explore them, and do it unapologetically. If you make a mistake, it's okay; there's always tomorrow. There's an entertaining self - care bingo game going on now by Fly with Alisha Reed. It was very revealing to play. Check it out.