As mothers, we often put our needs last. For whatever reason, it feels easier to take of everyone else before we do something for ourselves. While we love to care for our families and homes, sometimes we need that extra mental health boost.
Do you ever struggle to find practical ways to implement self-care?
Whenever I hear someone share about how a mom’s mental health is so important I usually agree with what the person is saying, but a small voice inside my head says Yeah, but you don’t have time to get massages or go for a walk alone. You are too busy taking care of 3 small kids.
It’s true – motherhood is hard. It’s exhausting at times. We can’t deny that reality. But we shouldn’t stay stuck in it either. We can move forward even in the hard.
We may not be able to change the fact that we have mouths to feed and minds to mold. We can’t completely ignore our kids. But we can take small steps to make life easier and prioritize our mental health as moms.
I’ve come up with a list of 4 easy things you can implement today to help boost your mood and emotional well-being!
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Mental Health Tip for Moms #1: Wake up 10 Minutes Early & Journal
Did you know journaling can help reduce stress and manage anxiety? (see more research here) Journaling helps you identify wrong thinking and can even improve your positive self-talk. It doesn’t need to be fancy, simply write down how you are feeling, a few things you are grateful for, and one action step you can take today to bring a smile to your face.
Related: Self-Talk for Kids
You don’t need to journal for an hour to get the benefits. Set your alarm clock a little bit earlier and start journaling. Try it for 1 week and take note of how you feel before and after doing it. Journaling doesn’t take long and can provide great benefits to your mental health!
Mental Health Tip for Moms #2: Go for a Walk Outside
Fresh air does wonders for our soul, but sometimes as moms, we say we don’t have time to exercise. Trust me, I get it. I’ve said “I don’t have time to do that” thousands of times. The truth is if I really want to make time, I will.
I prefer to go for a walk alone and often times I do this after dinner while the kids get some daddy time. But there are occasions where I go for a walk with 1, 2, or 3 kids in tow. To have a peaceful walk with minimal whining I make sure to pack snacks and water in the stroller. Music has also helped reduce any potential whining as well.
Make a plan and get outside. It’s scientifically proven to boost everyone’s mood (see more research here).
Mental Health Tip for Moms #3: Plan Quiet Time Each Day
Nap time is golden when you are a stay-at-home mom, but what happens when the kids grow out of naps? Nap time often ends sooner than parents hope. Transition nap time to quiet time. It’s good for everyone to be alone.
A recent article from Cornell outlines the importance of kids learning how to play alone:
In the fast-paced world of organized activities and play dates, what many 3 to 5 year olds need is not more entertainment or social interaction, but more time for solitary play. Playing alone offers young children opportunities to explore new ideas, discover more wonders, solve their own problems, and work through their own feelings.From Cornell University
If your child struggles to play alone in his or her room, start with a short period of time. Maybe try “rest time” for 15 minutes then slowly increase the time by 5 minutes each day.
I try to encourage coloring, reading, or building activities during “rest time,” but if I need some guaranteed alone time without a screen I’ll grab some of our favorite books on tape or our YOTO player. Kids love listening to stories and when they can use the YOTO device or the CD player by themselves it makes them feel important.
Mental Health Tip for Moms #4: Do Swaps with Friends
When our kids were young and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a babysitter we did a date night swap with friends. One Saturday we’d watch their kids and the next they’d watch ours. It worked because we trusted the other family and we got a night out without breaking the bank.
Now that my sister lives close by we can do the same thing during the day. If she needs a break or her daughter wants a playmate we love having her over! When I have an appointment or need some time to get things done without interruption I plan a time with my sister when my kids can go play at her house. It’s a win-win for everyone.
As moms, we often try to tough it out. We tell ourselves we just need a break but then we feel guilty for actually taking one. We need to stop doing that! It’s okay to ask for help and take time out of the day to do something for ourselves.
Of course, self-care can become indulgent, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid it completely. We need to find a balance and we need to prioritize our emotional well-being too.
What self-care practices help you nurture your mental health?
Share with us in the comments below!