It is oh so common these days, and particularly at this time of the year, that we as mothers are really struggling to find the time in our day on top of all of the other things we must do - to find time to take some much needed care of ourselves.
When our lists are long, the absolute last thing we feel like doing is adding another thing to do, even if it is something for us. The mental load of all the things can be so overwhelming that the thought of even trying to come up with something you can do for the 5 minutes you might get to yourself, that may meet a need within you, is more difficult than doing something for you in the first place.
I wanted to share with you today some strategies I use, and I use with my clients, that help not only find the time to do something greatly needed for yourself, but also what to prioritise so that you do get the most out of those short bursts of "me-time".
The distance between knowing and doing is a million miles. We know it is important to take care of ourselves but knowing it is important doesn't mean we do it.
The first and most important thing here is to know that we are all individual. We all lead completely different lives, in completely different bodies, with completely different families, circumstances, support, finances etc.
The strategies you use to support yourself in your everyday life are yours and yours only. What might not look, feel or sound "right" to someone else does not matter. This is about how YOU can support YOURSELF in the ways that work and fit in with YOUR life.
So if that means literally scheduling in time in the morning before the kids get up, or time once they are in bed at night, then do that. Or perhaps its looking for those pockets of time during the day - maybe it is when your little ones nap, or when your partner gets home from work, or when they are happily playing for a moment. Whatever it may be, start with the shift in your mindset that carving out, or creating some time in your schedule every day is a non-negotiable. It is essential for your own health and wellbeing.
The thing is, if you don't believe you have enough time - then there will never be enough.
Number One - if we are trying to set up new habits for ourselves, the most important thing we can do is be connected to WHY it is important that we follow through with these new habits. What I mean by this is that we need to have in the forefront of our minds, why it is that we need to be doing this for ourselves right now. I highly recommend spending some time thinking about or journalling on this topic. We want to delve deeper than the surface level stuff - why is it really important that you take care of yourself? Pretty often, for a lot of the mamas I speak to, it boils down to wanting to lead by example and show our children how important it is to take care of yourself everyday. And by practicing that for ourselves, we teach our children that it is a normal part of life that we also nourish and nurture ourselves so we can best take care of those around us. Regardless of what is going on around us, we are allowed to both be a parent and take care of ourself.
If this one doesn't resonate for you then that is completely fine. Think about what it does mean for you. Are you a better version of yourself, a better mother, lover, partner, employer/ee when you take care of you? Connect into something really meaningful for YOU. If something is important to us, we make time for it. Connect the importance of taking care of yourself with the action of doing so, so you are motivated to follow through. Crucial step one.
Number Two - If life is already feeling really busy and full, it can feel near impossible to find some time for ourselves. I want to introduce you to this concept of CREATING time for yourself. Often a really nice way to welcome a new practice into your life is to create and hold the space for what you are inviting in. One way of doing this is letting go of, or clearing out some things in life that are taking up space that no longer serve you. This could be physically or energetically. Maybe having a clear up at home, or creating a space in your environment that is yours that is where you go to check in with yourself and do whatever it is you choose to meet your needs (more on that soon). Or maybe it is that energetic or mental/ weight we carry around with us. What could you let go of, or say goodbye to that is taking up space within your body or mind to create some flexibility for you? What would be something supportive you could do that would lessen that mental load? Is it writing things down, is it delegating, is it asking for help, is it a responsibility you could drop or something you could just stop doing etc. I invite you to think about at least one thing that you can let go of to create some space.
Number Three - Daily Check In. In the pocket of time you carve out for yourself, be sure to create a daily check in practice. Somedays you might only have enough time to just simply check in, and other days you might be able to do something to more deeply meet a need within. In my opinion the best place to start, especially when building a new habit is to create some kind of structure or rhythm to it so that all you have to do is show up. Maybe your daily check in is meditation, journalling or yoga, or maybe you have a mindful cuppa in the morning where you are purely present with yourself in that moment and allow your own thoughts and feelings to come to the surface. If you would like a structure to your daily check in practice you could create your own or download my daily check in here.
Getting into the rhythm of asking yourself how you are really going each day is a powerful tool to receive some feedback from what is going on internally. It gives us insight into what may be the most helpful way to address what it is our body/mind needs most in this moment.
Number Four - Focus on one thing at a time. If you've got a day where you have managed to carve out more than just a few minutes for you, ask yourself what is something that I could do that would make the biggest difference to me now? Be intentional and focus that intention down one avenue. For a lot of fellow mamas, I see them cycle through a few things that would have the biggest impact on that day. Sometimes that may look like rest, other days that might look like play. Maybe a coffee with a girlfriend, or a netflix binge session, a workout, a cook up, reading, booking that appointment, setting boundaries etc. Whatever it is that feels most supportive for you at that given time, put your energy there and know your intention behind your action.
There is enough time for self care. There is not enough time to make up for the life you'll miss by not filling yourself up.
Number Five - Here are a few ideas of things that you can change up to allow all of the above to flow freely to you, and so you can really embody creating this time and space for you.
If you need some inspiration to change your space physically/mentally/emotionally, you could try focusing (one at a time) on these things:
Listen to music
Dance & Sing
Spend time in nature
Limit your screen and technology time
Yoga/ Stretch and move your body
Create a sleep or rest routine
Spend time with friends
If this post resonated with you, please know that I see you and I feel you <3
I am currently in the process of creating an amazing online, self paced program to launch in early 2020 called Me in Motherhood which is designed to be very much in theme with finding time and looking after yourself in motherhood. Let me know if this is something that excites you, and I will add you to the waitlist so you can be the first to hear about it.
Alternatively, we can book in a time to have a chat to map out what it would be like to delve deeper and uncover how to make those changes you've been dying to make but just don't know where to start. Fill out the contact form below <3
With love and well wishes to you beautiful mama,