Whenever you ride in an airplane, you will always hear the safety how-to speech that always includes putting your oxygen mask on before anyone else’s, including your own children. The reason for that, they say, is because you can’t properly take care of someone else until you’ve taken care of yourself. If you can’t breathe and you’re trying to focus on helping a 3-year old put an oxygen mask on, you’re going to end up passing out and/or killing you both. That’s an extreme (and common) example, but it’s true and can be transferred to all aspects of our lives. If we are too busy taking care of everyone else, we will end up running ourselves into the ground and/or passing out. Literally or metaphorically. We have to care of our own well being before we can take care of anyone else.
Another great analogy is trying to fill someone else’s cup without first filling your own. You can’t fill someone’s cup if yours is empty. Fill your proverbial cup; then fill theirs.
Becoming a mom was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the most exhausting, introspective, life-affirming, and life draining experiences I’ve ever had. I love my children more than literally anything, but some days I feel so completely and utterly drained that I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I’ll push myself well past my limit, thinking “It’s fine, I’ll just do this and this and this, then I’ll take a break.” But in the process of completing the initial three tasks, I’ll add about fifteen other things. My kids will be hungry, thirsty, fighting, and tired. The puppy will need to eat, drink, be let out, cleaned up after (she’s not 100% house broken yet) and chances are that I’ll end up fishing three or four of the kids’ toys out of her mouth. I keep adding things to my list of things-to-do before I take a mommy break, that I never actually make time for a break. I work myself to the bone and I don’t even have a fancy giant paycheck to show for it.
That’s motherhood, right? NO! It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way. We are human. We need to recharge and relax just like our kids. Arguably, we should be recharging and relaxing just as much as our kid, maybe even more. We spend all day caring for other people; we need to make sure we are also taking care of ourselves.
It might sound like an overwhelming or time-consuming concept, but there are plenty of quick, easy, and even free ways to provide yourself with some self-care to help keep you in a better mental space so that you can be your best for your people.
Here are some of the quick, easy and free ways to provide self-care for yourself in as little as five minutes:
1. Take a bath
Bubbles and bath bombs are fantastic but completely optional. Even if you’re just sitting in the warm water, listening to your favorite songs/podcast/book, or watching something on your phone, or reading an actual book (although I’m always worried I’ll drop it in the water) this is a great way to take some time for yourself and relax.
Reading is my go-to form of self-care. It’s so easy to get lost in a good book and forget all the drama and nonsense surrounding your everyday life. It gives you a chance to check out and live someone else’s life for awhile.
3. Take a nap
Another classic. I was just talking to my sister about how often I used to nap with my oldest when I was pregnant with my youngest. Until he was about two years old, my firstborn would take two naps a day. One in the morning, around 10 am, and one in the afternoon around 3. I napped with him every single time throughout my entire pregnancy. It was the best.
I’m slowly realizing that not everyone is like me; not everyone finds peace and clarity in writing. But, if you’re like me, even just sitting down for twenty minutes and having a “stream of consciousness” style journaling session, you will come out of it feeling refreshed and maybe even have your perspective on things shift ever so slightly.
Personally, this doesn’t work for me, because I haven’t learned how to shut my brain off, but I’ve been told it can work wonders for a person. Sitting silently and calmly in a quiet place for even five minutes can help soothe your tired momma soul.
We hope all you mommies will use these tips and get some well-deserved me-time off your busy schedule because you’re so worth it!
Mallory Wanless (A Mom Blogger)
One Nerdy Momma
About the Writer: She is a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, 3 and 1 years old. In the above post, she is sharing her quick tips on providing self-care, which is most important for mommies.