I'm not gonna lie, I've been stressed lately. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, I feel like I'm facing new expectations and a fuller calendar than the month before. When I get this frazzled, if I haven't paid attention to my little self-care for moms list, the end result is not pretty. I overreact to little things, I'm measuring my worth by how much or little I accomplish, and at the end of the day, I feel absolutely yucky and exhausted.
Is it just me?
I've found that I have to slow down, create a self-care plan, and learn how to handle stress by the grace of God. If I'm going a million miles a minute, I'm sure to miss out on what He's telling me, or what my kids are telling me, for that matter.
It's easy for moms to be hard on ourselves for the simple fact that we can't do it all. We even feel guilty about craving a little me time. So how can we have a healthy mind and body without feeling selfish or neglecting our to-do list? I've got a few ideas.
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Self Care for Moms
Our lives are filled to the brim with all kinds of tasks and emotions. As a caregiver for your little ones, you need to make sure you have a well to draw from, so to speak, and that you're caring for yourself as well.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2, NIV
You're raising your children to be more independent and take care of themselves, so set an example by taking good care of yourself. They will notice when you're healthy, peaceful, and intentional about self-care. Seeing your healthy habits will sink in little by little, making it easier for them to watch after their own health when they're older.
Nurture a Healthy Mind and Body
Moms need to replenish our bodies and minds after facing a busy day. There are so many ways to improve your mental and physical health but start with the basics. Make sure you're up to date on doctors' visits, regularly eating fruits and veggies, and staying healthy by taking care of your smile and your skin too. Prioritize reading your Bible, soak in some sunshine, take time for a hobby or just a mindless TV, and pray often.
Staying physically active is part of keeping healthy, but you need to do a bit more than running after your kids. (Boy, do I wish chasing toddlers and washing dishes counted here!) It can be really challenging to keep up with an exercise routine when you're a busy mom but do try to do a little bit each day. I purposely think of this as staying active instead of working out, it's less intimidating that way!
Your health is so important to your family and to God, too. It's beyond difficult to make a difference in the world if you're feeling neglected and stressed. Do your best to lay your burdens down, and to do things that help improve your physical and mental health.
Self Improvement Ideas
Self-improvement ideas are a dime a dozen. The hard part is implementing them! The last thing I'd advise is to make a resolution on this topic. Instead, set a realistic goal or choose a guiding word of the year to help you focus on positive changes.
Your ideas for self-improvement should be beneficial for you (don't decide to learn French if you have no use for it), God-honoring, and a little challenging too. You can probably think of a few areas about yourself and your life that you'd like to improve upon.
Just start slow and simple, aiming for accomplishing one thing at a time.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.' 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV
A few self-improvement ideas:
- read a book on a topic you're passionate about
- show kindness to others in one small way every day
- trade soda for water
- get a new haircut
- read the Bible every day
- work on your skills in your favorite hobby
- get out of your comfort zone in relationships
- keep a no-pressure journal
- be active every single day
Tested Stress Relief for Moms
Stress relief for moms might look a bit different than it does for others. We may blow off steam in similar ways to everyone else, but I have a few tips that are just for stressed mamas.
Caring for your children is automatically going to put a bit of a strain on you. Of course, parenting is worth it and our children are a precious reward! But stressed moms don't make happy moms.
When you're overwhelmed, try
- talking to a fellow mom about your struggles
- allowing others to help take care of your kids
- blowing off steam with your kids by running around outside, having a Nerf gun war, or exercising together
- taking a time-in break with your kids doing a peaceful activity together (like reading)
Moms really need each other and a supportive community to avoid burnout. Be aware of what triggers stress for you, and make a plan for how you'll alleviate it when it happens. Make sure you rely on God first, followed by others for support.
Grab a Me-Time Moment
Finding “me time” is the best form of self-care for moms to refresh and recharge. Can I get an amen?
It's okay to take a bit of extra care for yourself! Consider yourself encouraged to pamper yourself a little bit with these me-time ideas.
- Grab your favorite book and chocolate.
- Spend some time praying with worship music on in the background.
- Give yourself a manicure, complete with exfoliating your hands and moisturizing with hand cream.
- Grab a bath bomb and take a relaxing bath.
- Think about lovely and admirable things by creating a fun board on Pinterest filled with things that make you smile.
- If you enjoy being creative, grab a coloring book and some colored pencils and have fun!
- Pour yourself a cup of herbal tea or hot cocoa and read a devotional about God's love for you.
Create Your Self Care Plan
Now that you have plenty of ideas, grab a pen and paper and begin to craft your personal self-care plan. It should consist of these categories:
- Healthy Mind and Body
- Self Improvement
- Stress Relief Ideas
- Me Time Moments
Write down at least three ways that you'd like to take better care of yourself in each category. Remember that the point is to help you reduce stress, so don't create a difficult plan that would only frustrate you. Assign daily, weekly, and monthly times to do each activity.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39, MSG
Have grace for yourself as you work on this! Self-care for moms is a challenging concept that takes thought and intention. It's more than okay for you to take care of yourself!
Be sure to read these additional posts on being Christian Motherhood:
- How to Be a Good Mom: A Biblical Perspective
- 5 Tips for Reading With Your Child at Home
- New Mom Anxiety: Three Truths to Find Hope and Peace
- Parenting by Faith: Releasing Your Child to God