If you rolled your eyes at seeing self-care, I am with you. Well, I used to be with you. It’s a word that is thrown around so much nowadays. In the cliche “let’s have a face mask and a bath to keep ourselves from turning insane from small children who are determined to test every last strand of patience in our body”. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand how to get self-care as a busy mama. Because quite frankly I don’t have the time. And while I get a little more time now both girls are in school for at least 3 hours of the day, thank you morning nursery, I still struggle to fit everything into my day. I once read a quote that said “no one has more on their plate than the modern mother” oh boy isn’t that true! We have to be in so many places, be so many things to different people, stay healthy, stay sane and of course smile too! (I hope you sense my sarcasm).
However almost 6 years into this motherhood thing. I have finally learnt that to get myself care I have to seek those moments out and it’s not always what you think. Suzy Reading is a wonderful advocate for this. She talks about micro-moments of self-care and once you start incorporating those micro-moments into your everyday life you realise that actually taking time for yourself is a lot easier than you thought.
Here are some of the small things that help me keep almost sane.
- A good cup of tea – Oh it is cliche and ever so British but it’s true. But when I said good cup of tea I mean good. Of course, we all know Yorkshire tea is superior, but recently I’ve been enjoying a cup of Earl Grey. I don’t normally buy them for myself and I had some posh ones. Sitting down in the evening or as midafternoon pick me up with a good cup of tea really felt like a moment for me. It wasn’t about the peace and quiet because quite frankly “what is that?”. But it was me enjoying something for a few minutes and it was good for my soul.
- Walking – So much walking. Not only is it great for my fitness kick but it’s brilliant to clear my head. Dion says I am nicer after I’ve been for a walk! I like to go by myself which is great when he is here to be with the girls but of course, that isn’t always possible. So I put Norah in the buggy, because making her walk is impossible, think crazy drunk friend style walking! I give her a snack and we head out for a walk. It does us both the world of good.
- Posh Handcream – Oh hey pandemic life leaving my hands drier than the Sahara Desert. I was sent some Neom hand cream in a PR package recently and I popped it on my bedside table. Now I take a minute every night to pop it on, massage my hands and enjoy the smell. It’s a minute of me time and I kinda look forward to it every night.
- Oils or Candles – Especially as Autumn draws in there is something lovely about candles and oils. They make the house smell amazing, health benefits too if you are into all of that and it’s just lovely to be sitting down in the evening once the toys are away and just enjoying the candle. Oh man, I really am a Granny aren’t I!
- Exercise – I talked about walking above but finding something that makes me feel good and is just for me. I love that about running, while I don’t always enjoy the run, I like the fact I can only run. I can’t be needed to get something for the girls, I can’t do housework or work. It’s just time for me to focus on myself. Of course, this is a newer thing for me and when I had a newborn and 2.5 years old having 30 minutes to myself to run was never going to happen but making that space for me has definitely helped my mental health.
- And finally, I know I bashed it in the intro but I do actually really enjoy a bath. Piping hot, with bubbles and a cup of tea to make it extra special. I’ve been buying a nice bubble bath, Hello £1 Radox and just taking time to listen to an audiobook or podcast. It’s time for me again.
I hope that helps to frame self-care differently. It’s different things for different people, but you can always make a few minutes of the day for yourself. Even when you don’t feel like you can. Add things to your routine, pop hand cream by the sink, think of ways you can add little extras to your life that will keep you happy and hopefully stay sane in this crazy thing called Motherhood.