7 self-care strategies for working mums
Many mums feel overwhelmed on a regular basis.
We constantly think about the needs of others, and when it comes to our children, those needs are high.
We forget to look after ourselves, not only physically but mentally and spiritually too.
Juggling family and business makes us incredibly susceptible to overwhelm, overload and burnout. Aside from knowing we should eat right and exercise regularly (which doesn’t always go to plan!), there are a few simple strategies we can implement each day to ensure we look after ourselves.
Here’s our top seven self-care strategies …
1. Wake up earlier
For those blessed with the morning gene, springing out of bed at the crack of dawn straight into downward facing dog comes naturally.
For the rest of us, it’s more like downward facing snooze button. But if you can develop the habit of waking one hour earlier, you will see incredible benefits.
This one extra snippet of time gives you a chance to prioritise yourself – whether it’s exercise, meditation or working on that someday-maybe project. This could be just the boost you need to manage your stress levels and get back a little piece of yourself.
2. Do, delegate or defer
A never ending to-do list is overwhelming. Create a system where you process tasks as efficiently as possible. Can you do it in the next minute or two? Can someone else do this for you? Can you accept you won’t get this done anytime soon?
Become vigilant and control the number and type of tasks you burden your mind with.
You can also delegate to your kids! It’s important to teach your children to take responsibility for tidying up after themselves and contribute to the running of the household. It can sometimes seem counter-productive but as they get better at doing chores, your load will lighten.
3. Use your lunch break to actually have lunch
If you manage to get an official lunchtime, it’s probably consumed with running errands, grocery shopping, making calls or paying bills.
Eating a sandwich over your keyboard is not a proper lunch break.
Whether you work from home or an office, you should take time out for yourself during the day. Slowly eat your lunch and walk in the grass with your shoes off. Soak up a little sunshine if you can. Just 20-30 minutes will give you a mental break and re-energise you for the rest of the day.
4. Just sit still
How often in a day, a week, or a month do we just sit still?
Call it meditation or relaxation, but simply sitting for as little as 5-10 minutes, letting all your thoughts falls by the wayside as you focus on your breathing and simply ‘being’ in the moment has tremendous effects on your mental state.
Practice ‘just sitting’ regularly – it’s calming effect makes you better able to handle the chaos the day throws at you.
5. Grow your support network
It certainly does take a village to raise a child, and as working mums we rely on this village to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. Aside from the day-to-day logistics of running the household, it’s important to think about our own support network and how it serves our well-being.
How many close friends or family relationships do you nurture?
Do the micro-systems you interact with give you the support you need?
Joining a group to find like-minded people, your ‘tribe’ will provide you with a much-needed sense of community. It might take you a few goes, but your tribe is definitely out there – look for them in business networking groups, mothers’ groups, fitness groups, study or hobby groups.
Grow your support network into places where you can relate to others and share your experiences. It will unburden you to know that others are in your corner and know the truth of your struggles.
6. Stop and play
How often do we hear people say ‘Enjoy these years while they last – you’ll miss them.’ You smile politely as you mentally punch them in the face.
It’s similar to childbirth where you’re programmed to forget how hard it was and only remember the good stuff. Just make sure you’re not too overwhelmed or busy to notice the good stuff as it’s happening.
Take some time to just stop everything and play. Trying to take as many moments as you can to truly be present with your children will actually boost our own sense of well-being and give you a healthier perspective.
7. Practice positive self-talk
We all have a dialogue constantly running in the back of our minds. It would be truly astonishing to record the amount of thoughts a busy mum has in a single day!
We consider hundreds, if not thousands of details just to get out the door in the morning, including packing everything required for any possible scenario. We project what our children might need before they even need it. We hypothesise, analyse and worry.
Among this busy dialogue, there’s a certain way we talk to ourselves. Our thoughts create our reality. If we are riddled with guilt, wear ‘poor-me’ glasses all day, or punish ourselves for not meeting our own (ridiculously high) expectations, we are allowing negative self-talk to become our negative reality. And this impacts everything.
By steering our thoughts towards self-compassion, acceptance and self-love, we can be a little kinder to ourselves. To train our brain to do this, we need to practice consciously and consistently. We can create an environment in our heads, and therefore our lives, which promotes happiness.
Because we spend so much of our energy taking care of others, it’s important not to forget to take care of ourselves. Implementing any or all of these simple strategies will help remind us that our well-being is important too.
Have a cup of tea and give yourself a hug.
Happy Mother’s Day!