I am a firm believer in the fact that, if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, then we simply aren’t at an advantage to take care of others. I love the saying ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first’. It sums up the whole concept and there is a huge difference between selfishness and self preservation.
That being said, finding the time to pamper oneself and take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, seems like an impossible task when one is a Mum. I’ve really struggled to strike a balance and manage to even shower some days, let alone have a full blown pamper session. But over time I have picked up a few tips and tricks on how to manage it, so I thought I would share some tips on how to make time for yourself and ideas for what to do once you get said time to yourself, all as helpful inspiration for my fellow frazzled Mums!
Tip #1: Make the time.
This is the key. Me Time can only happen if you make the time for it. Silence the mummy guilt. Push aside the pressure to do everything. Leave the dishes in the sink and hand the kids over to your other half or family or a friend. Book in time for yourself as you would a doctor or dentist appointment. It might not be something that you can manage every day, but even once a week is better than nothing at all. Be it a whole day or just a couple of hours, just make the time. There are seven days in a week and each has 24 hours. It is possible, if it is a priority.
Tip #2: Make the most of nap times.
If you are lucky enough to have children who still like to nap, then embrace the nap time as being time for you. I tend to do this every other day, simply because I also tend to do the opposite of me time and tackle things like washing and housework or admin at nap time. But on the days where I need to chill out a bit, I usually make a cuppa and either catch up on social media or watch Netflix. That nap time hour is just pure gold to me.
Tip #3: Be Organised
I try to plan everything. I have calendars and planners. I set alarms on my phone to remind me to do things and I have notebooks piled high containing all sorts of notes and information. Not only because I have a ridiculous fascination with stationary, but also because I really find that organising myself and what I am doing gives me a good deal of structure and it saves me that all important commodity that is: time. If I can claw back a few precious minutes of my day because I know what I am doing and when I am doing it, then it means I can spend such minutes doing things for me. Same goes for keeping things organised in the house. If I can open a cupboard and just grab what I need as opposed to grappling with a landslide of crap, it means I am quick and not wasting any, you guessed it, time.
Ideas to Help You Relax and Unwind:
Idea #1: Reading
I usually do this at the end of the day when the kids are asleep. Simply because after a few pages I am ready to slumber myself. But I find that that there is nothing like reading a book to get my eyelids all heavy and sleepy. If I watch TV or read things from a screen then I am usually awake until the wee hours of the morning and my mind becomes a buzzing mess. But, with a good book, I escape for a while and my brain gets distracted from everything else through simply focussing on the story in front of me.
Idea #2: Exercise
It can be hard to get out of the house to a gym or a class when you have littles in tow. I contemplated it myself and then realised that having a membership or booking onto a class would just pressurise me into going and then if it wasn’t possible I would just end up feeling really disappointed and frustrated. So, I figured that there are ways of bringing the gym to me and fitting in exercise around our day. Going for a walk with the buggy is always a winner, simply because it means we all get out of the house, breathe in fresh air and there is nothing like carting around two children to up one’s cardio intake. Especially if there are hills around. Am mortified at how unfit I have become but am looking forward to improving it over time and it is lovely to do something for myself whilst fitting it around being a Mum. I also use yoga tutorials on youtube and we have an exercise bike and dumb bells that are easy to bring out of an evening once the kids go to sleep. Just 20 minutes three times a week is enough to make a substantial difference and all of the endorphins feel better than any amount of coffee you can neck down.
Idea #3 A Hot Bath
I know, so generic. But it really is one of my top ways to relax and unwind. I light candles, pour in the bubbles and take time to soak all the worries and aches away. I’m in love with aromatherapy oils as well at the moment and find they really take an ordinary bath time a step closer to a spa treatment at home. This Miniature Bath and Shower Oil Collection from Aromatherapy Associates is my go to for bath time, the Relax, Revive and De – Stress oils are especially good. And seeing as you only need a little drop per bath, they last a good while too. A hot bath wouldn’t be complete without a good candle either and I am really loving this Lily and Cottonseed Candle from Pecksniff’s.
It was a gift for my birthday recently and it is just so fresh and clean, really nice for bath time.
Idea #4 Go out with Friends
Finding a time when yourself and your friends can all get together is tough. Life is hectic for everyone, especially Mums, and it can feel as though you won’t be able to see each other until that one weekend date in April 2020. But, with enough calendar combing and a little flexibility, it is possible. It doesn’t have to be an epic night out or massive trip somewhere. Sometimes it’s nice just to get together for a coffee and catch up without the kids about. I can try and see my friends with the boys in tow but it is never relaxing. Inevitably myself and whoever I am seeing spend the time trying to grab little snippets of info from one another whilst juggling nappy changes, feeding, burping, entertaining and the odd Cbeebies episode. It’s nice to leave motherhood at home and revert back to being just me and enjoying time with my friends without distraction. Not to mention it is always nice to leave the house without a nappy bag, buggy and two infants.
Idea #5 Mindfulness
I have been really enjoying using this Headspace app recently. It has little exercises for you to complete every day to increase your self awareness and mindfulness, effectively coaching you on how to meditate. Just 10 minutes of sitting quietly at the end of the day, listening to the hypnotic tutorials of the guy on the app, really has helped me to zone out, breathe and relax. We get so caught up in the busy buzz of the day. It is really nice to just stop and take in your surroundings for a bit. I always feel calm after the exercises and that calmness then leads to me feeling revived as well.