There is an old saying ‘You can do anything, but you can’t do everything’. And for all the mothers out there, this adage couldn’t ring truer. These days, most mothers have so many different responsibilities; we are mums first and foremost, but many of us also work, do our fair share of housework and life admin, we have extended family to visit and friends to socialise with, and on top of all that, we are supposed to find the time to take care of ourselves! It is so important for us to carve out time for our own self-care; how can we be taking care of everyone else in our lives if we have nothing left to give?
To start off with, write a list of what is important to you. What makes you happy? What helps you to relax? What do you feel you need more of in your life? These items could be anything – human connection, exercising, relaxation or spending time in nature. Once you have a list of what makes you happy, you can then assign a self-care activity to each of your key values. For the values listed above, the corresponding activities could include catching up with your friends for coffee, attending a Pilates or Yoga class, getting a massage, reading a book, going for a walk or visiting the beach – the possibilities are endless! Once you’ve finished your list, prioritise the activities so you know which ones are the most important to you.
Now you know what is going to serve you best, you can begin planning and setting aside time for your own self-care. Once you’ve committed yourself to an activity, add it to your diary or phone so you don’t forget it or accidentally double book yourself. This is important as it is so easy for us to make excuses, say we forgot or don’t have time, but by physically recording this activity in your schedule, you are reinforcing the commitment to your self-care.
Last but not least, reschedule your self-care activity! We often forget how much fun we have when we spend time with our friends, or how relaxing a Yoga class can be after a break away from the mat. By re-booking your activity, you start to create a habit where self-care becomes a part of your routine.
It is amazing the difference it can make to our mood and to our outlook on life by just taking an hour or two out of our week to do something just for yourself. Not only is your self-worth reinforced and you feel good about yourself, but those feelings of goodwill and happiness extend to all those around you, including your family, friends and colleagues. When you put it like that, self-care doesn’t sound selfish at all!
Written by Renee Cotey