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I always highlight the importance of self-care especially for moms because I believe it is very important to make this a priority in your life. I don’t know why there was ever a stigma attached to taking care of oneself as being selfish. The last time I check, being proactive about one’s well-being is actually beneficial and should be considered important, no matter what. In other words, it’s ok to want to be our best self by ensuring that we are mentally, emotionally, and physically ok.
So now that I have “kicked” that stigma outside the door, I am now an advocate for self-care. I am now the mom that will tell you to put the dishes and the laundry down and go take a break. I am the mom who will tell you to go on a solitude break for some time. I am that mom who will tell you to not get to the point of a mental breakdown before you finally decide to prioritize your health and well-being.
So why have I become that mom? I became that mom because I walked in that dysfunctional life before. I felt guilty taking the time to take care of myself because of an ancient mindset that was attached to women that we were supposed to be everything.
I call it perfectionism at its best! But there is no perfect mom. We are all on a journey of trial and error. Every mom gets to that moment at any stage of their life and we tend to blame anything that happens to us as “falling short” in any area.
However, I don’t believe in perfectionism anymore. I believe in self-care being your focus as a mom and then when you’re at your best, you can be the best for your family.
That constant fight with perfectionism will disappear and your focus would now be on having the balance that you need to be a better mom.
In other words, as in airline protocols, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help others. Think of it this way, so that both mom and kids can stay afloat.
In this blog post, I will be highlighting ways in which you can make self-care a priority in your life without the feeling of guilt associated with it.
Are you also struggling to understand the importance of well-needed self-care as a mom? Please feel free to add to my list, or ask your questions or concerns below. I would be happy to help you!
“Self-care is not only important, but necessary to help us to balance our mental, emotional and physical well-being as a mom.”
I am a huge advocate for taking care of your mental well-being. In fact, I believe that this is one of the most important aspects of self-care to make a priority as a mom. We don’t really think about the importance of always taking care of our mental well-being as moms because some of us, for example, were always taught that being “tough” is the right way to go. So we too hide behind this “tough” mentality to our demise.
But I am here to tell you that it’s not ok to hide behind the likeness of being seen as a “tough” person because it does eventually causes us to break down on the inside. Seeking the help we need in times of weaknesses and struggles with life is most times frowned upon.
However, behind those closed doors, at the end of the day are women who suffer in silence. They know life is tough, balancing family is hard and it can get to become too much or overwhelming at times. So I strongly believe that “hiding” and pretending to be ok is not ok and sometimes we have to take the initiative to fight for our well-being no matter what and regardless of what our mothers, grandmothers, or other women in our circles have taught us.
So what does taking care of our mental well-being look like? It involves the steps mentioned below:
- Know when to stop and give yourself a well-needed break. We sometimes don’t know when we have reached our max. We think that feeling burnout is normal when it’s quite frankly coming to the end of ourselves in complete exhaustion. Stop and take the time to rest. Nothing is worth getting to the point of a mental breakdown because we believe we can do it all.
- Know when to seek help. Many of us don’t like asking for help, especially when we’re struggling with our lives. We like to put on a persona of having it ALL together, when deep down we genuinely may be struggling. When that takes a toll on us mentally, we may become more, angry, depressed, or even suicidal in thoughts. So is it ok to get to that level? I say the best thing to do is to seek the help that we need no matter what. Find a person, counselor, pastor, or someone who you can trust and confide in to share the struggles that you feel. They too can offer much-needed advice and feedback on what you can do to overcome.
- Know when it’s time to prioritize our life and schedule to make adjustments for our mental well-being. Sometimes we as women and moms, like to pack our schedules to capacity because it shows how “busy” we are. But honestly, we can sometimes under all that business, cringe and hold bitterness. Yes, we want to seem like to others that we are “mom of the year” by trying to attend every child event on the horizon. But we both know that it takes a toll on us mentally and sometimes the kids end up hating the activity later on anyway? What was the whole point? So give yourself the space to keep your schedule as light as possible and try to cut back on having to balance too many things all at once.
- Know when it’s time to quit careers, friendships, or environments that are toxic. Yes, I said it, and here’s why: A career, friendship, or environment that affects your mental well-being is just not a good match for you. When you have prioritized your well-being and have considered it to be important, then things that can cause you to fluctuate in your mental well-being are not ok as well. Look at these areas in your life and if you value this priority then you will also value making the changes that you need in order to create the balance and the life you desire for yourself.
I wrote about this in my book, A Balanced Life: Moving From a Dysfunctional life to a Purposeful One, to highlight the ways in which we can move from what’s not working for us to something that is purposeful and stable for us. Get a copy on Amazon.
You may be wondering what’s the difference with mental well-being and emotional well-being. Well, there is a difference between both. Your mental well-being looks at taking care of your mental alertness, while the emotional aspect looks at your feelings. Your emotional well-being most times is internal. Your thoughts about yourself, life, and everything in between. We were created to express our emotions whether for the good or the bad. We were made to laugh, or cry, to be happy or to be sad. Our emotions can really affect us tremendously if we don’t take care to nurture them as well. Here are some steps that we can use to nurture our emotional well-being:
- Be aware of negative emotions. Negative emotions are toxic to our well-being, especially when we dwell on them for long periods of time. Sometimes quite frankly we are even unaware that we have them. When we do have them, however, the goal is not to keep festering in them but to rather shed light on them and try to work through them. Bring them to the surface and replace them with more meaningful words.
- Don’t internalize negative feelings without letting them out. Why do we have therapists, pastors, or mentors if they didn’t have an important role to play in our lives? When we do talk about our emotions to trusted individuals, we are also highlighting our struggles to others who can help us to navigate them as best. They help us to also get them to the surface and also shows us ways to handle them appropriately.
- Don’t keep negative emotions for long. You will sometimes hear for yourself or from even others about persons who seem to always be negative, angry, or even sad. It’s because sometimes whatever life may have thrown at us, can be internalized for so long until we become exactly what we dwell on. That’s why I always say to keep things at the surface and try to eliminate them as much as possible so that it doesn’t turn us into bitter, angry people. Yes, I am also aware of trauma and grief being too overbearing sometimes, but also with time, these things can make room for healing that doesn’t leave us in a negative state. The goal is to not hide it but to be aware of it and seek the help or counseling that is needed, in order to overcome it.
As a former pharmacist who has seen hundreds of thousands of patients in my career, I can say that the number one reason for having to be on so many medications to treat diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, and so many others is because of failing to make our physical well-being a priority.
We are in a society or culture rather that promotes “fast food”. Get everything that we need to nourish our bodies quickly so that we don’t have the time to actually prepare the kinds of food we do want to eat. Most of these foods are filled with ingredients that do cause comorbid diseases, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When you give your health and well-being to the world to take care of, you get what you invest in yourself back. In other words, you become what you eat. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against going to restaurants or having a burger every now and then. I am against the fact that many will use these methods as their primary source of food daily.
Most times it’s because we don’t have the time to really cook and prepare healthy meals for our families because of the busyness of life and the easy life of fast food. What I, however, believe and am now an advocate of, is practicing taking care of our bodies to the best of our abilities. Here are some suggestions:
- Get rid of stress. Did you know that stress is the number one reason for most of these common diseases? Stress can cause cancer, autoimmune disease, and other frequently diagnosed diseases. Stress also causes us to overeat, not select healthier versions of food to eat and so much more. So take a look at your life and see what is causing you the most stress and access whether or not it’s worth your physical well-being.
- Exercise is key! Exercise is key and you have heard it a million times before. But I will reiterate it for you. It’s key because it helps you to function optimally in so many ways. Now you don’t have to get carried away like the exercise gurus you see. I don’t even have the time for that. You choose what works best for you and make it a habit that you intend to keep. If you make it hard to do in the beginning you will never be motivated to continue doing it. Start small with baby steps, like walking at lunchtime for 10 minutes, or using the treadmill at home, walking in the neighborhood, or doing a fun exercise class. Whatever is doable for you, get it done. That way you’re more motivated to stick to it.
- A balanced diet is necessary. I am not a diet junkie! In fact, I secretly despise them because honestly I can never be motivated enough to stick to them. So I don’t waste my time signing up or reading all these diet fads I’m never going to keep anyway. What I do instead is just each in balanced and proportion by having a little of everything on my plate. I will have my vegetables, protein, and carbohydrate on my plate to ensure I get everything I need. I will also take supplements, such as vitamins, to fill in those gaps that I may have that I’m unaware of. Most of us don’t really know that it’s not really the foods that we eat but the proportions of foods that we eat. When you give food that power over you, it will dominate. So keep it simple! A balanced diet is my go-to diet and it works for me.
- Doctor’s visits are important. Sometimes unfortunately many of us end up at the doctor’s office when it becomes too late. I have seen and heard it too often already. When you inquire about their annual checkups and check with their MDs, it’s far and few between. But I do believe, like a car, it is necessary to get our oils changed, breaks checked and tires rotated every now and again and to think the same way for our bodies. Make it a priority to keep up with your bodies and how they function. That way, you will never have to face those too-late messages when they could have been prevented earlier. Going to the doctor does not have to be a “death sentence” or “bad news”. It’s just a way to stay on top of your health and well-being. I recommend an annual physical and wellness visit, annual OBGYN visits, annual dental visits, annual eye doctor visits, and specialists if necessary to stay on top of your health.
Those are my key tips for making self-care a priority in your life as a mom. Also, I have written other blog posts on self-care for moms, because I am truly an advocate of self-care. To read more of these posts, click on the blog links below:
- A Mom In Need Of A TIME-OUT
- Benefits Of Self-care As A Mom
- Overcoming The Hurdles And Struggles Of Motherhood
- Staying fit as a mom
I wrote earlier about having written a book called, A Balanced Life: Moving From a Dysfunctional life to a Purposeful One. I do believe that we can create the lives that we want to live for ourselves in peace and balance. We need to make it a priority to shift our lives from what’s not working or helping us to be our best selves, to something that is more balanced and meaningful for our lives.
To get a copy of my book, click on the link below.
In addition, for more information about my personal journey of re-discovery, get a copy of my book available on Amazon: I am Who God Says I Am: Always be inspired to live the life God has planned for you. It also highlights my personal journey of transition from a dysfunctional life to a purposeful one.
Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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