5 Easy Self-Care Strategies You Can Start Using Today
Self-care is something we all know we need more of. Especially as mothers and wives, we are so inclined to put off our own needs in order to care for others. When you’re really deep in the trenches of motherhood, especially with young kids or babies it can be so very difficult to focus on what you need. These easy self care strategies will help guide you to getting more self care in your day to day life.
Without thought, we sacrifice our own needs for family and friends. It’s just part of being a mom. There are some easy things you can do on a daily basis to be more mindful of your own needs. As women, we constantly feel the need to put ourselves last on our list, when we can actually do better by making sure our own needs are met.
I’ve done it too. You get so overwhelmed and consumed by motherhood that you realize that today is like day 3 or day 4 of dry shampoo. Or you can’t remember the last time you left your house. Sometimes you feel the stresses of motherhood like the weight of the world on your shoulders.
When you take care of you needs; you take time for a shower, get out of the house, or let go of things adding stress to your life, you will find yourself better equipped to handle everything motherhood throws at you. When you’re taken care of, you can tackle everything and make it out without the exhaustion or overwhelm.
To do this, you just need a good strategy. These 5 strategies are consistent in my days and have made a big difference in how I handle motherhood. Some days are more of a struggle than others, but at the end of the day when I look back at my struggle days, I can usually see where I had neglected myself for a few days. So, how do you combat that?
Learn to say no
Saying yes & being the person everyone can count on is something we just seem to be programmed to do. How many times does someone ask you to help with something, or to do something for them, and you don’t really want to do it, but you agree anyway?
Being busy is fine, running 20 directions every day is okay, but how long can you maintain that? At what point do you need to say no?
Yes, you’ll have to deal with some guilt. I always feel incredibly guilty any time I say no to something that doesn’t fit my schedule, or even just isn’t something I want to do. I know that my time is valuable. The time I have with my family is valuable.
Time isn’t something we can get more of. It is finite. How do you want to use your time? Do you want to be so busy you can’t sit back and enjoy your kids or your spouse? Would you rather be doing anything instead of _____ put something you’ve been guilted into doing here ______?
Use your time wisely. We heard it through school and it applies in motherhood as well. Each day our children grow and learn. How do you want them to remember you? Present & active, or running 30 directions & frazzled? The choice is yours to make.
It’s okay to say no sometimes.
Give up control
Oh girl…. This one is so hard. It gives me palpitations every time I have to do it. Here it is though. You need to step back and give up some control.
Does everything have an order that needs followed? Does your husband fold the towels “wrong” or load the dishwasher “wrong?” These are definitely some of our control tendencies. Is it possible that the towels will fit in the linen closet the way your husband folds them? Would the dishwasher run the way he loads it?
Chances are these pain points aren’t really all that big of a deal. It’s possible that doing it a different way will work just as well as what we do already. Yet, we argue and stop those who are there to help us because they “don’t do it right” and we can do it better.
I see it all the time in different mommy groups on Facebook, women continuously complain that their husbands won’t help them with anything, and they’re stuck cleaning the whole house. The house is never clean because the kids are always playing with toys and the world is crumbling down around us.
Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but if you’re in any mommy Facebook groups then you know what I’m talking about. I ran into this too.
The ‘I can do it better’ mentality just adds more to your plate. From my own personal experience in my marriage, I can tell you that I did this. I could fold clothes better, put things in the linen closet better, wash dishes better, you name it he did it ‘wrong’ and I did it better.
What did that lead to? I was frustrated & overwhelmed because I had a husband who, I felt, never helped me with anything. When we finally talked it out, he told me he stopped trying to help because he never did it ‘right’ and I always took over. It was useless to him to even attempt because I was just filled with criticism.
After that conversation, things have changed. I gave up some control. He can fold the clothes, I might cringe, but I don’t go behind and fix it (unless something is going to get severely wrinkled or ruined. When I give up that control & let other people do things it takes more off my plate and gives me more time & energy to get through my day.
Ask for help
This goes right along with giving up some control. I had completely ruined my husbands initiative to help me out by continuously criticizing his efforts to help and doing things for him. When we had our talk about why he didn’t help, he also brought up that he doesn’t notice the same things that I do, or he doesn’t know if I want the ‘help’ with these things.
It was also brought up in our pre-marriage classes that men don’t notice things like we do, and don’t take subtle hints well. I know, with my my husband, if I say “will you help” it leads to less results than, “will you __ (take out trash, wash dishes, fold/ start laundry)___.”
He basically put it as not being a mind reader. He isn’t home to know that laundry has been sitting in the dryer since this morning, or what ever else I want done.
Honestly though, I don’t know how much help I would be to him if he just asked me for help without being specific. Would you know what exactly your spouse would need help with if they just told you they needed your help?
When you need something taken off your plate ask for help.
This goes for other people as well. You could be asking a friend to watch your kids for a couple hours so you can shop/ shower/ clean in peace, or hiring someone to clean your house/ walk the dog or even just using online ordering for your groceries.
Pick some things that you dread, or don’t do any service to you and delegate it out. If your kids are older, delegate work to them. Hiring someone might cost money, but that should be weighed against your time. Is it worth freeing up your time and energy to spend a little money for assistance?
Your needs are non-negotiable
This one isn’t easy. You need to determine, for yourself, that taking care of yourself is a non-negotiable part of your day. It’s right there with brushing your teeth & putting on deodorant. We might skip showers because of being an overworked mom, but we manage to brush our teeth & put on deodorant. Taking care of your own needs is paramount to your success in your day.
Now, unlike brushing your teeth & putting on deodorant, there might be a day you’ll have to skip self-care & that’s okay. Just make sure it’s a something you’re striving for each and every day.
Once you’ve delegated and asked for help with some of the things on your plate, you have freed up some time in your day. Use this time to do something with your kids, or at least once a day, do something all for you.
Grab a sheet of paper & write out all the things you want to do for yourself. This list is for inspiration when you have a few minutes to yourself. Then you’re not spending your whole time trying to figure out what it is you want to do. You can look at your list and see what it was you wanted to do, and choose one that fits your allotted time.
I also make sure to tell my husband exactly what I need after he comes home from work. The conversation is like this:
Me & him discussing our days
Me: I really need a little break tonight.
Him: Okay, what do you need me to do?
Me: Will you ___clean up dinner/ cook dinner/ do the bedtime routine/ whatever needs to be done so that I can get away___? I just need to be alone for a little bit.
Him: Ok. Go do what you’ve got to do (or at times, can you/I do ____ before you go?)
He has the same freedom. When his days have been long & hard he will tell me that he needs time to unwind or to go drink a beer with the neighbor, or whatever it may be, and I don’t argue with that.
We are a team, so we make it balance. He might get to go drink a beer across the street while I cook dinner, but that means he does bedtime so that I can take a bubble bath.
It wasn’t always so easy. There are times where I’m at a breaking point & he wants to go do something of his own. It gets incredibly annoying and we do argue about it some days. Parenthood is hard to balance, but when you know your needs are non-negotiable, and you communicate your needs with your spouse, you become more determined to make it happen.
The path of least resistance
While none of these strategies are necessarily easy, this one took a lot of reflection to be okay with. I could get annoyed about the toys everywhere and clean nonstop from sun up to sun down, or I can choose the path of least resistance & clean other parts of the house while my daughter plays with whatever toys without following her around cleaning.
When she goes to lay down to nap, we pick up toys first. She has been helping pick up her toys before nap & bedtime since she was about 18 months old. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, but now it’s part of her day.
If she is playing with her dollhouse & tells me she wants to keep playing after her nap time, we don’t put that away, but everything else she has out is put away. This not only minimizes the mess but lets her continue playing after her nap without getting upset because I ‘ruined’ what she was playing with.
Choosing the path of least resistance can also mean that you take a breath and realize that this mess is a temporary situation. One day, far earlier than we want it to be, our kids will grow and their toys won’t be strewn across the living room every day.
I know there are people that don’t like this perspective because it minimizes the stress of today. It’s okay to hate the mess! It’s okay to feel anxiety when things are cluttered. It is important, to me at least, to just breathe and realize that this is all temporary. When my house stays clean & isn’t cluttered up with toys everywhere, I will be counting down to having
Keep your perspective and decide what things you can just take a breath and deal with. The toy clutter gets overwhelming, but Pinterest is filled with tons of tips for managing toy clutter. Find what will work for your home and go with it.
Some things just aren’t worth getting yourself all wound up about. These things will be unique to all of us. To me, I can live with leaving the kitchen a mess until morning. It doesn’t bother me, but I know that’s too much for others to handle. I can’t handle toys being left out overnight (with the exception of one toy that my daughter tells me she wants to play with some more & it’s moved out of the way for the night).
Creating your own self-care strategies
Take these self-care strategies and make them your own. Make them work for you, to take some things off your plate and give you the freedom to do something for yourself. Don’t put large expectations on yourself. Do what you want to do, what will fill your heart and give you the energy to keep going.
You deserve the time to yourself