You can buy self care planners and self care temporary tattoos ; the whole self care industry is worth a whopping $11 billion dollars and there are 30million #selfcare posts on Instagram. The reality is though, the term ‘self care’ is a loaded one; it looks different for everyone, depending on circumstances, personality and overall health. It might come in the form of a single downward dog or a warm cup of tea whilst bathing the kids; a minute to stretch your neck and shoulders out after a particularly long feed, or some deep breaths while you’re hanging out the washing. One thing it isn’t necessarily is expensive or time-consuming.
As mums, many of whom work, finding time to ourselves can be such a struggle, now more than ever in this weird new lockdown world but these small acts can make a big difference. We asked you guys to tell us what me – time looks like to you, and the responses were just wonderful:
Helen says: “Self care as a new mother is an ever-changing thing. It can be as simple as doing nothing and enjoying the luxury of solitary wasted time while your baby naps. For me though, time spent in my body breathing and flowing on my yoga mat, is how I practice self care. Our bodies are taken over by motherhood, the borders of our physical territory rearranged by pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, carrying, cuddling, and rocking. There is something deliciously healing about lying down on my mat with just me and my body. Breathing in, breathing out.
“It can be as simple as doing nothing and enjoying the luxury of solitary wasted time”
My quick morning practice:
-Spend a few minutes noticing your breath, and how your body feels
-Deepen your breath, breathing in and out for equal length
-Notice the pause at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale
-Notice your whole body open on the inhale and hug in on the exhale
Enjoy the rest of your day!
Gente says: ” Self-care as a first-time mom has had many faces. In the beginning, showering and eating was all the care I could manage to get. I’ve learnt that self-care definitely doesn’t live up to the lofty ideals like it once did…more often than not it’s taking things off of my to do list, rather than adding any. Long baths and face masks are a winner for me, even if they only happen once a fortnight. A quick workout and meditation from Kait Hurley makes me feel loved and cared for. But my biggest form of self-care is mental and emotional; accepting where me and my baby girl are at, keeping comparison at bay and finding joy and gratitude in being present. I don’t always get this right either, but when I do it’s a game changer.”
“Self-care definitely doesn’t live up to the lofty ideals like it once did…more often than not it’s taking things off of my to do list, rather than adding any”
Do One Thing
Jordan says: “There are so few times in our lives when we are fortunate enough to experience the gift to focus on one thing. Doing away with a busy daily schedule, I now choose to do only one thing a day. Whether that is it a moving meditation practise during a walk whilst my little one drifts off to sleep or us both dancing like loonies around the kitchen to music. Motherhood for me is not so much about ‘doing’ but rather ‘being’. And if surrendering to simplicity isn’t good enough self care then I’m not sure what is.”
“If surrendering to simplicity isn’t good enough self care then I’m not sure what is.”
Get Outdoors (& exfoliate!)
Heather says: “As a mother of two, self care can become something easily forgotten about but is also so necessary for my own mental wellbeing.
After a day of being up from 6am and the girls not in bed by 8 some nights: I go straight into my garden and take a little walk around. I love to look up to the sky, close my eyes and just breathe. The sound of the wind rustling the leaves in the trees for me is very calming, I feel like everything has finally slowed down and I can breathe. In the morning if I can, I like to exfoliate my face and put on a simple cream. Basic but makes me feel more human after being up most of the night feeding. I also like to make my own decor for around the house- I make canvas’s, origami decor and recycle old furniture by sanding it, giving it a lick of paint and changing accessories such as handles.”
Alicia says: “I must admit that self care as a new mum for me (each time) hadn’t been a priority to start with. But by baby No. 4 I was ‘pulling up the drawbridge’ and wish I’d done that from the start. My first born was in NICU for a week with me close by on the ward and I’m not sure me or my husband focused on anything/one else for a long time. It was probably when he was 4 months and I had my first bath on my own, with purpose (you know?!) – and I felt the bath salts and the herbal tea and the silence and the lack of responsibility for the moment seep through me and I just knew it was THE MOST beneficial thing for me. 3 more kids on and my husband and I still know the importance of baths and that bit of down time. We give each other half an hour off; it’s that release of responsibility, the indulgence of a hot lavender bath, a door closed. Priceless. Rejuvenating. Essential.”
“We give each other half an hour off; it’s that release of responsibility, the indulgence of a hot lavender bath, a door closed. Priceless. Rejuvenating. Essential.”
Make Free Time Your Time
Abbi says: “One of the biggest shocks after having my little girl 10 months ago was how little time I had to myself to do the things that, well, made me me. When I think back to life before being a mum, pretty much everything I did feels like self-care now. Now, self-care means keeping hold of that small part of me. Me from before. Me doing something for me alone. Naptimes = my time and I am ruthless about what I will and won’t do. Out goes cleaning, admin and anything I can do when the baby is awake (she loves to sort laundry and watch me do HIT sessions, luckily). In comes reading, doing my work, yoga, drinking hot coffee and writing. It’s so easy to slip into either domestic drudgery or mindless phone scrolling, and before you know it, that precious time is gone, so for me, it’s all about mindfully choosing what to do with the quiet time. One of the best things I’ve done recently was a 30 day journalling prompt from Amber Rae, it helped me manage the anxious feelings about the current lockdown and explore myself and my identity again.
Simplicity is Key
Carlotta says: “As every new-mama knows, self care is crucial but often making time for it could just feel or simply literally be impossible. I realised, however that very simple gestures could instantly make me feel recharged and give me more head space. Things that I love the most, and don’t take much time are:
1.Having a warm relaxing shower. I would usually have it at the end of the day, when my partner is at home so he can stay with little Oliver. This would give me some few extra minutes. I make time to put a hair mask on and also to apply a body cream or oil.
2.Changing your bed sheets, especially when you are going thorough one of those famous sleep “regressions”, feeling the crispness of fresh sheet can make a huge difference!
3.Practicing some yoga. My new years resolution was to try and practice every day…of course this didn’t happen! But even doing it a couple of times a week helps me. I like to practice in the morning, while my partner is making breakfast with Oliver. A 10 minute deep stretch does the trick. Since giving birth I really crave hip opening poses so the lizard is just perfect for me.
4.Journaling. I started to write quite a lot during pregnancy. In these days I love to write down some of my thoughts at the end of the day, when Oliver is asleep. It really helps me to process my feelings and to understand what motherhood means to me.
Changing your bed sheets, especially when you are going thorough one of those famous sleep “regressions”, feeling the crispness of fresh sheet can make a huge difference”
Carve Out Small Rituals
Flossie says: “Self care is very important to me and has become more so since becoming a mother. I love to eat healthy local and organic foods to nourish me and my family everyday, I love to look after my skin by keeping up with my skincare routine and the occasional face mask and a hot bath. Finding the time for these rituals can be tough but to look after yourself means you have more energy to be a better mother/partner so it is essential to look after yourself. Even if this means a hot cup of tea and a meditation once a day either before everyone gets up or in the evening, taking a few moments for yourself is so important. Keeping a positive mindset is key to my life, from the food that I eat to keeping healthy skin to walks in nature and meditation together these things keep me balanced and in good spirits the rest of the time.”
Unplug and Create Space for You
Paris says: “For me, self care is about a period of time each day that I guard and protect for my own. Usually the hour after my eldest goes to bed, and whilst my youngest naps (he’s only 3 months old so this time shifts and morphs as he changes his own routine.) I always do the same. Retreat to my room, shut the door, light my candles, put on my comfiest of comfies (that deffo means bra off!!) and read a book. If I turn to my phone at this point, I always feel less restored once this time is over. Unplugging from the virtual world, my work, the rest of the house and even my children (if possible) is what makes this time so soothing. It’s amazing how focused and recharged I feel once I open the door back on the house again.”
Just remember though, self care isn’t fancy; it’s just something that brings you joy and serenity in abundance.
One thing’s for sure; self care for mums is important – as Lisa Nichols puts it, “Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows. Then you can serve others, joyfully, from your saucer”. Just remember though, self care isn’t fancy; it’s just something that brings you joy and serenity in abundance. It can take many forms, and expensive spa days or long meditation sessions, it very rarely is.
Do you have any self care rituals or routines of your own?