Did you know that mums only have an average of 17 minutes a day to themselves?
Being a mum is hard work! From waking up in the middle of the night to feed your baby to picking the kids up from school, us mums have busy schedules and that means we’re often exhausted.
So when it comes to looking after your own health and wellness, it’s totally normal to feel stressed and not know where to start - which means that self-care quickly falls by the wayside as you continue with the daily grind.
Research has shown that mums have on average just 17 minutes of time to themselves each day!* But, if you can find even just 10 precious minutes for a little self-care each day, you are going to be so much better for it, and your kids will be better for it too.
This is why I love the concept of MICRO-SELF CARE! The trick is to practice self-care in short intervals, little micro moments, so you can micro-dose on self-care throughout your day.
Sound good? Here are 5 of my favourite micro-self care tools for mums that have ‘no time’ for self-care….
Stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Do not underestimate the power of a deep breath. These precious seconds may be the difference between losing your cool and responding calmly; between feeling overwhelmed and staying focused.
If you’re not breathing optimally, you’re robbing yourself of energy. The way you breathe may be causing you to feel tired, fatigued, foggy, and uninspired. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. This is vital for high energy and mental alertness levels.
Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
- Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
- Deeply inhale through the nose for 4, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8. Repeat for 4 breaths
2. Cup of calm
When you start feeling a little overwhelmed, this is a great ‘2-minute’ self-care tool.
Make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. Notice three things in this moment – the colour of the drink, the weight of the mug, the feeling of the chair. Then consciously breath into your shoulders, try and relax them down a little and enjoy your cuppa – savouring the flavour. Return gently to the senses whenever you notice the mind straying into thought. Be open to your senses, rather than try to analyse what’s happening.
3. Say ‘no’ more!
As a mum, you can often feel like you're pulled in a million different directions trying to please everyone in the family. But it's okay to say no sometimes, and to not take on extra work on your plate when you don’t think you can manage it or it will stress you out.
‘No’ is such a small word yet so hard to say! You can say no and still be a good friend, colleague, sister, person. Saying no is empowering. Saying ‘no’ is a massive self-care gift to yourself.
Here are a few ways you can say ‘no’:
- While my heart wants to say ‘yes’, the reality of what’s on my plate right now makes this a ‘no’ for me at the moment. Thanks for thinking of me.
- I am really touched by your request, and although it’s hard for me to say ‘no’, it is so necessary. I’m grateful that our relationship allows me to be honest about where I am.
- This sounds wonderful and as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give it the attention it deserves right now. I am cheering for your success!
- No, thank you. (sometimes it can be as simple as that!)
4. Self-love is the new ‘relationship goals’!
Positive affirmations are a powerful way of sending yourself a great dose of positive vibes and a great self-love tool.They can be grounding, energizing, motivating, inspiring or loving. When I began recovering from postnatal depletion, positive affirmations helped me like nothing else. And they have been a constant supportive mind-nourishing tool throughout my motherhood journey.
Here are a few of my favourite self-love affirmations:
Today, I choose me
I love my body and all it does for me
I believe in me
I love the woman that I am
I am growing and learning every day
5. Develop an attitude of gratitude
Gratitude is a fantastic little mindset makeover tool and something that you can practice throughout the day as you go, so it doesn’t add anything extra to your ever-mounting ‘to do’ list. Just try and slow down just a fraction, just enough to briefly ‘press pause’ and just try and be in the moment of whatever you are experiencing and mentally note down what you are grateful for in that moment.
So for example – a child’s laugh. Just be in that moment and mentally note down how grateful you are for that magical laugh. DONE! That’s it. Try and rack up as many of these as you can throughout your day. This micro self-care tool will help you embrace the everyday magic amongst the chaos and whirlwind of motherhood.
Louise Murray is a Holistic Health Coach with the qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. She takes a truly holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them with nutrition advice combined with lifestyle and behaviour change, healthy habit formation, mindset tools, mindfulness and self-care practices