It’s pretty easy to spiral out of self care these days. Yet the more I do it the more I want to do it. It’s kind of like sex, or spinning class. It took some time to realize but as a toddler mama with a hectic day to day, self care is key. When my needs are met, I deal with tantrums better, I am happier for my family, and my positivity shines its light.
Here’s an outline of what’s been working for me. Dare you to try these!
Early Wake Up
Waking before kids creates a space for me that is peaceful and quiet. Time and time again I test this and it’s always the way to go. A quiet house is so rare these days.
Cleanse Your Mind
I learned about meditation when I was 4 months postpartum with my first born and experiencing horrible anxiety. It helped save me. Now that I’m on the other side of that - it’s an amazing way to cleanse my mind every morning. These days I can only get in 5 minutes and it really works.
Here's what I've tried over the past 3+ years.
Headspace- great for their “packs” - themed series’ - and I love Andy’s voice.
Journey Live- offers the Live community option which is beautiful.
Insight Timer- I’m currently really into Insight Timer in the mornings. I love their guided meditations because then I don’t fall asleep. They also offer great music meditations that I've done with my kids!
Try these out and find your groove. Consistency is key here. The more days in a row you do it, the bigger the benefits.
Those Endorphins are Real
I have never been president of the workout club, but a year ago when I ended up with no job, kids in daycare, and summer days ahead of me, I started walking the hills by my house. I noticed a major shift in my mood, in my day, every time I sweat. Exercise is key. They all say it and I’ve proven it to myself. Get a sweat in. Get your heart rate up. Move your body. Pick your way and do it. Scooter races with kids do count! Exercise will bring you JOY! Those endorphins are real!!
Watch Your Coffee Intake
Confession: I love a cozy habit. Having a hot cup of coffee for me is 90% because I like to sit and hold something hot in a nice mug with my pajamas on. (Note: this is rare now in motherhood. Obviously.) I got into the habit of an afternoon coffee and realized it was not making me feel cool, calm, and collected like the mom I want to be. In an effort to sleep well and chill out a little more I stopped drinking that afternoon cup and I feel so much better! If I get the sleep I need I don’t actually need the afternoon pick me up. Watch your coffee intake you guys. It really makes a difference in anxiety and sleep patterns.
Sleep is a Cure All
After cutting out coffee I also added in a magnesium powder called Calm that balances calcium intake—helping you to feel less stressed and more relaxed- it works wonders!! With a 9:30 bedtime and a 5:15 wake up, I’m really not annoyed when my kids are climbing all over me at 6am. Sleep is a cure all!!
After all the things I mentioned I also strive for a little bit of time alone every day. If all I can get is a morning walk in, I’ll take it. This is challenging right now, my kids are really little and we’re all home, all the time. But it’s about boundaries and balance. If you can, work with your partner and ask for the time. Take a bath. Read a book. Lay down and stare into space. Even cleaning can be relaxing when done alone!!
BONUS self care activity: Color! Create! The New York Times even put out an article last week about coloring and how it is healthy for your brain. I love to paint, color, draw, all of it. It is my deepest form of expression and fills me up in all the ways. Big time self care for me.
Which of these are you currently doing? Which are you willing to try? I’d love to hear what works for you - and if there’s something I missed, share with me!! I’m always working on improving my routine with small bits of joy!