Attention, busy moms: 5 ways to take care of yourself in the craziness of life
Hey, guys! Today, please welcome Sarah Forgrave from Righteous Fit Mom to the blog! You can read her bio at the bottom of this post. Sarah has been kind enough to share some ideas with us about how to take care of ourselves, in the midst of caring for everyone else!
Your day starts at “dark o’clock” with the sound of a crying baby…or a whiny toddler…or a peeved school-aged kid who can’t find his favorite book. You drag yourself out of bed, throw a robe over your pajamas, and shuffle your way into the chaos.
From there your day snowballs into breakfast prep and cleanup, brushing kids’ teeth and hair (and maybe your own, if you’re lucky), sending bigger kids off to school, changing the little ones’ diapers, cleaning up messes, picking up the bigger kids at school, helping them with homework, driving them to practices and lessons, making lunch and supper somewhere in the madness, and going to bed so you can recharge for the fun again tomorrow.
Whew. Is it any wonder we moms are so exhausted?!
While airlines tell grownups to give themselves the oxygen mask before they put it on their child, most moms do the opposite in everyday life. We pour ourselves out day after day, putting our children (and sometimes even the dog) first, and give ourselves the meager leftovers.
The good news is, we CAN take care of ourselves, even on those crazy days when we’re barely surviving.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:
- Start your day with the Lord. Now I know this isn’t a new idea – I think we’d all agree that to do this mothering thing well, we need help from a Higher Power. But putting it into practice during a busy schedule isn’t always easy.Instead of putting pressure on yourself to have 30 uninterrupted minutes, try starting smaller. Even a brief 5-minute pause can make a big difference in your day. Check out the First Five app from Proverbs 31 ministries, or try another devotion book that’s designed for those short snippets of time. (Jesus Calling is a personal favorite of mine.) If you want to be more intentional about extending your time with God, this morning devotions routine is a great place to start.
- Stay hydrated. Again, nothing new, right? But how many of us actually do this? A few tips to make it easier: Invest in a large water bottle that’s spill-proof and insulated. Keep it with you at all times. Consider investing in a second one to keep in your car. In the winter, hydrate with herbal tea. (An insulated travel mug will be your best friend for keeping your tea warm.)
- Keep easy, healthy snacks ready to grab. (Here’s a list of inexpensive snack ideas to get you started.) *Editor’s note: these are not necessarily Paleo snacks.* Consider spending a few minutes on the weekend prepping snacks in individual baggies. Stock them in a dedicated snack drawer in your fridge or shelf in your pantry. On extra busy days, stash a small cooler or lunch box in your car with an ice pack and a few healthy snack options. (Some days I’ve found the only time I can actually eat is when I’m driving, while my kids are strapped in their seats. ☺)
- Get moving, whenever and however you can. If you have time to go to the gym, great. But some days it just won’t happen. When a busy schedule gets in the way, don’t throw up your hands and say all is lost. Find small snippets of time to move however possible.It might mean trying some of the at-home workout moves found here. It might mean adding a few squats while you’re pushing your toddler on the swing. It might mean putting some extra gusto into cleaning your bathtub so you work up a sweat. One friend of mine is always on the go with her sons’ sports schedules. While they’re at practices, she walks laps around their soccer field. Wherever, whenever, however you can – just move.
- Remember to BREATHE. Breath is one of the most basic functions of our body, yet we often cheat ourselves out of this amazing life-giver and stress-reducer. (Remember that oxygen tank?) Throughout your day, take short pauses to focus on your breath. Place your hand on your belly, and as you inhale, feel the air expand deep into your abdomen. Hold it there for five seconds. Then slowly exhale, squeezing every last bit of air out. Repeat this as many times as you need, until you feel your blood pressure drop and your stress float away.
Most of all, remember you’re not alone. We’re all doing our best to survive and hopefully make a difference along the way. Draw on the support of others. Stay tapped into God’s strength. And do your best with what you’re given.
You’ve got this, Mom!
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Sarah Forgrave is the founder of Righteous Fit Mom, a healthy habits blog for moms. As a wellness coach and fitness instructor, her goal is to make healthy living as fun and easy as possible. In addition to blogging, she writes inspirational articles and books. Her work is most recently featured in the compilation book, The Gift of Friendship. She has also contributed to a Guideposts collection, a Pearl Girls™ anthology, and the webzine Ungrind. For more information, visit www.sarahforgrave.com.