The holidays can be a particularly stressful time. As moms, we tend to be the ones running around making sure that the house is decorated, the presents are bought, the events are scheduled, the activities are planned, the cookies are baked and on and on. We want everything to be magical and memorable but meanwhile we are running ourselves into the ground and not taking a moment to care for our own needs. So I am challenging moms to participate in this selfcare advent calendar and make sure to practice some momcare during this holiday season.
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- Declutter. All the cleaning that comes along with raising kiddos can leave your home with at least a few messes scattered throughout. The messes seem to appear out of thin air and then keep growing. The mail pile in the kitchen, the laundry pile, pile of crap on your desk, the mess on your bathroom counter… It always reaches a point where it becomes stress inducing.But who has time to clean around the clock? So it helps to take 15 minutes to declutter one space at a time in your home.
- Take a hot bath. As a mom, how often do you get to have quiet time to yourself where no one if touching you or requiring your attention in some way (p.s. when you are sleeping doesn’t count)??? A nice hot bath once a week is a totally doable thing that can give you some time to yourself to relax. A bath can melt away problems for at least the 30 minutes that you can manage to keep the bathroom door shut (here is a hint…lock the door). So steam that bathroom up and climb into that tub.
- Buy yourself a present. You most likely have a mile long list of gifts to buy for everyone from your kids, to your husband, to your in-laws, right down to the mailman and your kid’s teacher. Frankly, you deserve to add yourself to that list too. So go buy yourself something nice, wrap it and stick it under the tree.
- Schedule a doctor’s appointment. It’s the end of the year and I am pretty sure there is a medical appointment that you have been avoiding. A pap smear, breast exam or a follow up with a specialist for that thing that is kind of bothering you. Go make that appointment now.
- Take a walk. Go on a walk for at least 10 minutes at some point in your day. Take that time to let your mind wonder…Just you and the sights and sounds around you. No cell phones allowed.
- Call a friend. These days we spend way too much time sending emails and text and not actually having a conversation with anyone. Call that friend you have been meaning to call for the last few months and relish in some real girl talk. Let’s just hope you can get in a good 20 minutes before your children realize you are on the phone and try to destroy the house or need to ask you every unnecessary question.
- Sleep. Get 8 hours of sleep. What?!?! Just try it for one night. I know you may be thinking that you have been functioning off of no sleep for so long that you actually think that 8 hours of sleep won’t make a difference. But The power of sleep is completely underrated. It really does make a huge difference in our patience, resilience, and ability to deal with all the crazy unknowns that come along with parenting.
- Be grateful. It is so easy to go through a day taking note of all the things that are going wrong. Be actively acknowledging what you are grateful for forces you to focus on the good things and changes your perspective. Just take a moment and write down 5 things you are grateful for and display the list somewhere visible.
- Play. Play outside or at the park with your kid(s). I won’t judge you if I see you sitting on the park bench on your phone while your kids run around the park like little crazy people. Sometimes you just need a minute to yourself. But every once in a while try playing with the kids just like you were one of them. There is something healing about relishing in the simple pleasures of a child. Swing on a swing , go across the monkey bars, slide down a slide, play a game of basketball or ride a bike. And the bonus will be the huge smiles on your kids’ faces and all the hugs and snuggles they will give you as a thank you.
- Read. A good book can be a great escape from a stressful day. Go buy an actual book and find the time to read even if it’s just for 15 minutes at the end of the day or while you take a bathroom break. But if buying and reading an actual book is just not in the cards for you, Audible is a must have.
- Buy a planner. As the saying goes… “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The reality is life gets really busy when you add kids to the mix. Add that to “mom brain” and it is easy to forget things and get off track. I swear by planners to help me stay on track and remember all the to-do lists, dr appointments, school meetings, work things and million other things I need to keep track of.
- Breathe. Breathing is a powerful stress reliever that we often don’t take advantage of. A few deep breaths gives you a little time to stop and think, feed your body with oxygen and release some tension. At some point in the day, when you feel the tension creeping in…stop, take 10 deep breathes and then see how you feel.
- Love yourself. How many times have you looked in the mirror and pointed out the things you don’t like about yourself or laid down for the night and thought through all the things you did wrong that day. Stop that. It is not serving you in any way. Try focusing on the things you love about yourself. Write down 5 things you love about yourself and display the list somewhere visible.
- Clean out your closet. Get rid of all the clothes that don’t make you feel good, don’t fit and won’t fit. Those size 6 jean you wore before pregnancy…toss them. That once sexy black dress that is now a little too tight, a little too short and shows a little too much skin…toss it. That blouse that no longer buttons over your boobs…bye, bye. The is no reason to have a closet full of clothes that make you feel frumpy and dumpy.
- Volunteer. Taking the time to give to others can be selfcare. Volunteering for a cause or organization can give you perspective, purpose and connection outside of the day-to-day chaos of mom life.
- Meet a friend. Catch up with a friend over coffee, breakfast, brunch, lunch or if you are lucky a dinner date. There is nothing like some one-on-one face time with a dear friend. It’s like free therapy.
- Zone out. As a mom, your mind runs a mile a minute from the moment you wake up to the moment you lay back down for the night. Give your mind a rest and do a mindless activity that doesn’t include your phone… puzzle, knit, color in a coloring book, play a game. It can feel like a meditative practice.
- Show love and appreciation. Let someone know you love and appreciate them. Expressing your love and gratitude for someone else can do a lot for you. It takes you out of our head and reminds you to practice gratitude for the people in your life and accept the love of others.
- Bedtime selfcare. Make a bedtime selfcare kit. At the end of a long day of momming, it’s easy to veg out on your cell phone or just crash from sheer exhaustion. But what if you took just 10 minutes to love on yourself a little? Rub your hands and feet down with cream, write in a journal, read a good book or spray your pillow with some essential oils. Create a little routine that helps you look forward to bedtime and wind down a bit before you get some shuteye.
- Positive affirmations. Negative selftalk is something that seems to come naturally to us mommas. But let’s make an effort to change the narrative in your head. Pick 3 positive affirmations that ring true for you and repeat them to yourself throughout the day.
- Be creative. Making something can feed your soul. It helps you slow down, be in the moment and enjoy the process. Write, cook, sew, paint, craft, garden. The options are limitless.
- Take a class. We are constantly signing our kids up for classes, activities and experiences to help them grow and learn. But when was the last time you did that for yourself? Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we should stop searching out opportunities to grow or learn or just have a little fun. Take a class you are interested in. A pottery class, yoga class, cooking class, photography class. Take your pick.
- Nap. Take a 20-30 minute power nap. Because over the next few days you know that you won’t get the sleep you need. So sneak in a quick power nap to get a good refresh before you wrap another present or bake another dessert.
- Indulge. Make yourself something yummy and indulgent that you normally wouldn’t do. Not something your kids want but what you want. Sweet or savory…It’s your choice.
- Dance it out. You made it. You pulled off yet another holiday season. So put on your favorite music and celebrate with a dance party.
Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper and founder of The Mom Forum.
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