Is there ever enough time in the day to get everything done?! As a mom, the majority of my day is spent focusing on my son and what he needs, followed by the rest of the family, household chores, what needs to be done to keep the blog running smoothly, and the mile-long to-do list I created in my head. What I need easily winds up getting swept under the rug. I have to take the time every day – multiple times a day, really – for a quick recharge. I’m going to share my best tips to practice self-care daily, without sacrificing the precious time you do have.
Below are some easy ways to enhance your self-care daily routine!
In the morning
Wake up earlier
This one is so not for me. I am not a morning person and I have a co-sleeping toddler who will wake up the second I move. However, I know it would be a great way to kick off a self-care daily routine, so I hope to eventually take advantage of some alone time in the morning before worrying about everyone else! When you’re adjusting your child’s sleep schedule, it’s best to shift the time over the course of a few days. Using that principle in this case, you’d wake up 5-10 minutes earlier every three days. Before you know it, you will be getting up early enough to enjoy some time to yourself! Obviously, you can adjust the amount of time and days to whatever works for you. This could easily free up 30-60 minutes of free time that you never took advantage of!
Working it into the Routine
This one is more my speed for mornings. My son and I have a well-established routine that goes like this: wake up, change diaper, pray, read one of our children’s Bibles, brush teeth, and then head to the playroom (aka the nursery that was never slept in). The time that we spend in the playroom is crucial to my mental health most days. It is a safe place where I don’t need to worry about what my rambunctious toddler is up to! I use the time to wake up, collect my thoughts, check my phone or emails, plan our outfits or activities, or whatever else will help me start the day off on the right foot. I have a good 10-15 minutes to get my head on straight, and then we can read, play, and head down to get breakfast started.
We always sit down together for breakfast, but my son usually takes longer to eat (or play with his food and make a mess) than I do. I have learned to utilize this time wisely. I make and prepare my coffee before we sit down so that I can actually enjoy it hot (most of the time). Once I am finished, rather than cleaning up early, I enjoy those few minutes of calm. I can even use this time to get my makeup done using the big dining room mirror if I am determined! Hey, if all I can do is drink my coffee while it is still hot, that is a self-care win in my book!
On the Commute
This can be on the way to or from work, school, or wherever else you go alone. I haven’t had to worry about a commute since having my son, so you guys may need to help me out in the comments below! Here’s what I did when I had a commute, or when I get the luxury of running out by myself: listen to music as loud as I want, jam out to K-Love Christian Radio or any other CDs I have that would allow me to focus on my faith, listen to speaker tapes (podcasts would be a good alternative here), catch up with a friend, or just drive in silence and be present and focused on what I am doing.
During the day
One of the biggest factors of how my self-care daily practice will go is nap time. I don’t always get much done during this time, especially now that my toddler is getting all four incisors at once. Most days, he wakes up a few times and I go lay with him until he falls back asleep. This leaves me with short periods of time if I can sneak away again. Every once in a while, he will do a 2-3 hour stretch uninterrupted and I surely take advantage of that! It seems to be getting better as he is getting older.
Usually, I start by making lunch for my mom and I, and I sit down to eat in peace. I spend the remainder of my time after lunch either working on Uninvincible Mom or getting things done around the house that I am otherwise unable to do while the baby is awake. I will also make a point to take some time to check Facebook, watch a show I saved on the DVR, or just spend a few minutes sitting on the couch doing nothing. Clearly, I can’t conquer all of this during one nap, so I split these things up between nap and bed times based on what my goals are for the day or week.
If your little one is still taking shorter, more frequent naps, you can apply the same principle broken up over the course of the day and still fit in a ton of self-care daily!
I can’t say from experience what I would do on my lunch or other breaks at work since becoming a mom. I hope that you can find at least a few minutes to de-stress from all the demands you face both in your home and in the corporate world as a working mom. You’re amazing for providing for your family in so many ways, and I know it isn’t always an easy choice! Some things you could consider other than eating in peace (it’s so nice isn’t it?!): calling a friend, journaling, painting your nails, taking a walk, or reading a book or magazine. I know that some of these things aren’t possible for everyone, but I think everyone could squeeze something in! Especially a short conversation with a friend or a few sentences worth of journaling.
Just like in the morning, you can find ways to work self-care into your normal routine at night. The nights my SO is here on time, he changes our son’s diaper and brushes his teeth, which gives me a few minutes to myself. It’s a nice, quick break where I don’t have to feel bad for staring at my phone or not giving my son enough attention. We don’t do daily baths because the baby has sensitive skin, but my SO does bath time when he is here as well to give me a little break. If you do baths every night, that would be a great time to sit by the tub while your little one plays and do a nightly skin care routine or even shave your legs!
Once Your Little One is Sleeping
This is the largest chunk of time that I get to myself out of my day. As I mentioned above, I spend this time doing whatever I want that I didn’t get to do at naptime. This could be chores, working on the blog, or watching a bunch of TV to decompress. The key is to really listen to your body and take care of what you need. If your mind is going crazy because of the clutter in the living room, tackle that task and straighten up. If you haven’t gotten a shower yet, do it. If you want to get some work done so that you don’t have to worry about it tomorrow, work away! If you just need to sit down, do absolutely nothing, and only worry about one human being for a little while, you have the permission you were waiting for.
My son won’t go to sleep without me. Since we co-sleep, I have to wait until he falls asleep and then go downstairs to start my alone time. I can definitely appreciate the time where I am only responsible for the needs of one individual at the end of the day (or the illusion of that, because as you know, we are always responsible for them and probably also worrying about them – even when they are sleeping)! Just make sure you aren’t overdoing it and you are still getting enough sleep, or at least as much as you can!
Maybe you already use some of these tricks to maximize self-care daily without sacrificing time, and that’s awesome! I hope you walk away with even more ideas than you started with and really put them into practice. Nothing is better for us moms or our families than making self-care a priority. It is only when we are in tune with our own needs and are well taken care of that we can best take care of and be there for anyone else. We can’t be helpful to others and open to the opportunities of service knocking at our door if we have been neglecting ourselves and are burnt out. A self-care daily routine allows us to be better able to tackle our responsibilities. It leaves us feeling more refreshed and energized, and less burdened and beat down.
I bet that you can take these ideas and use your own creativity to work them into your routine! Maybe you don’t like painting your nails but would love to curl your hair. Maybe you don’t want to do anything while the baby’s sleeping except sleep yourself (I know I do some days)! Practicing self-care daily is so important. This is not about neglecting your children, housework, or job; It’s about using your time wisely to make sure that you aren’t neglecting yourself.
How do you make the most of the time you have? In what ways do you squeeze self-care into your daily routine? I’d love to read all about the little tips and tricks you have picked up along the way! Please share in the comments below, and remember that my inbox is always eagerly awaiting an email from you!