Being a mum is one of the most fulfilling experiences a woman can have, but it's also one of the most challenging and exhausting. It's super easy to get lost in the chaos of raising a little one while trying to figure out what your baby needs, wants and craves, so your own well-being can very easily get bumped to the bottom of the list.
This is why self care is so important. Because while it may seem like a luxury, it’s essential if you want to be a happy and healthy mum. Let me tell you why:What is Self Care?
Self care doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, self care is simply taking intentional steps towards caring for your physical, emotional and mental health. That nap you had on the couch? The walk you took in the sunshine? Do them intentionally to look after yourself, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful dose of self care.
Self care can be as short or long as you like and have the time for. Simply taking a few minutes each day to purposefully do something that recharges your batteries and refills your cup is all you need (and sets an amazing example for your little ones).Why is Self Care Important?
Self care activities aren’t just enjoyable, but they’re also crucial to support your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s important to prioritise self care, not only so your cup doesn’t drain dry, but so you also have the capacity to feel like yourself and be the best mum you can be.
Self care will boost all aspects of your well-being, including:
- Reduced Stress: raising kids can be super stressful, but taking time for yourself will lower your stress levels, make you feel more relaxed and make the time spent with your kids and doing chores more enjoyable (or bearable!).
- Improved Mental Health: self care can help reduce overwhelm, anxiety and depression symptoms and help you feel more in control to create the life and environment for your family that makes you happy.
- Increased Energy: self-care is magical here! The more time you take out for yourself recharging your batteries, the more energised and motivated you’ll be to conquer the day.
- Reduce Irritability and Improve Patience: self care is a potent way for the body to reduce your stress hormones and increase your capacity to tolerate the things that are getting under your skin.
- Better Relationships: when you take care of yourself, you’ll be feeling so much better and have the capacity to show up as your best self in your relationships with your partner, children, and friends. Rather than needing those stolen moments alone to pause.
If you don't make self care a priority, you risk experiencing burnout. A place where you’ll feel bone deep physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, struggle to feel happiness and calm, and feel like a shell of yourself.
It’s a common experience among mums who try to do everything themselves and don’t make time for themselves. There’s only so much your body can give, and the demands on you while raising a little one is higher than usual, so self care is essential to keep burnout at bay.The Impact of Burnout on Mums
Burnout can affect all aspects of your well-being and impact your ability to be the mum you want to be and give your little one the attention they deserve. These are just some of the heart-crushing impacts caused by burning out::
- Fatigue: you may feel tired all the time and have trouble finding the energy to complete daily tasks such as making nutritious food for yourself, interacting with your family or doing things that usually make you happy
- Brain fog: you may struggle to think clearly or focus on what you’re doing
- Anxiety: you may feel anxious or have panic attacks
- Depression: you may feel sad, hopeless, cry easily, and lose interest in things you used to enjoy
- Mood changes: you may feel easily irritable and be prone to snapping at loved ones, and overwhelmed by small things and feel unlike yourself
- Physical health: burnout can cause physical health issues such as headaches, a funny gut, sleep issues, and muscle tightness
Making self care a priority can be challenging when you’re navigating the world of motherhood, but it can be easy with the right tools:
- Set aside time: schedule time in your calendar and with loved ones for self-care activities like movement, reading, or having a nap
- Ask for help: don’t be afraid to ask your partner, family, or friends for help with looking after the little one while you refill your cup. They’ll want you to feel the best you can be, and it’ll benefit your relationship with them when you’re feeling more like yourself.
- Take breaks: take breaks during the day between activities to recharge your batteries, even if it's just a 10-minute break. Going from one task to another will wear you out a lot quicker if you don’t take a moment to pause.
- Start by doing something you enjoy: it’s the easiest form of self care you can get and requires the least effort. Whether that’s reading, gardening, painting, walking, enjoying a coffee, etc. Choose whatever lights you up the most.
Above all else, remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, your baby and your family. When you fill your own cup up, you’re better able to handle the challenges of motherhood and still have leftover to pour into the cups of those around you.