As moms, we tend to overlook our own needs to care for others. I know I do. I’m a single, work-from-home mom, and I homeschool my three children. I also work several part-time jobs on top of all the regular mom responsibilities.
I used to experience burnout more than I care to admit. I realized last year that if I didn’t stop long enough to recharge, my body would choose when to rest. I would get migraines that would require me to lie down and do nothing for hours at a time and my gastrointestinal tract was begging me to take a break.
I thought self-care was something I couldn’t do because I didn’t have time and because I didn’t think it was necessary. Once I realized that self-care wasn’t selfish but rather an essential part of being a good mom, my perspective shifted. I could dream again and not just dream, but make my dreams a reality through small, daily changes.
Here are some practical steps I took towards prioritizing my life and helping my mental well-being…
1. Ask for help.
This was the most important step for me. I hate asking for help. It makes me feel weak and vulnerable. A few years ago, asking a sweet friend to help me was so hard. I’ve learned that I can become so focused on my perception that I lose perspective. So bringing in an outside perspective is invaluable.
We sat down with a notepad and walked through my day. She helped me see that I was allowing too much unnecessary stimulation into my life. I would wake up and scroll social media until my kids woke up. I had dirty dishes in the sink from the night before and the kid’s toys all over the house. My inbox was full and my unread messages were ridiculously high. My mind was in constant overdrive and I couldn’t truly rest to enjoy my life.
2. Schedule time for yourself.
Stick to the schedule like an important business meeting. Got a good book you want to read or a new recipe you want to try? Put it on the calendar. I learned early on that if I didn’t write it down, it wouldn’t happen. 30 minutes here, an hour there, plan your self-care time. Maybe it’s to download and set up an app that helps delete your unnecessary emails or to finally write that thank you card you’ve been putting off.
What I’ve learned is that self-care doesn’t have to be an hour in a bubble bath sipping Rosè. If I’m being honest, I don’t have the time to do that once or twice a week (and really, it’s not even my thing). Self-care can be something as simple as putting in your noise-canceling headphones while watering your indoor plants or downloading a calendar app to help organize your day.
3. Learn to say no.
While rethinking my routines, I realized I felt obligated to take on too much. I don’t like the idea of disappointing people and am an avid people pleaser. Saying no to a girl’s night out when I knew I had an early morning conference call was hard. Telling my neighbor I couldn’t watch her son because I’d had a long week and needed to recharge was hard.
In the long run, it’s what’s best for me and my family. The less hectic my schedule was, the simpler and more vibrant my life became. I have thrived and so have my children. Removing unnecessary noise from your life gives you the time and energy to do the mundane tasks that so often get overlooked. Like cleaning up the kid’s toys and scrubbing that big pot on the stove.
You never know how beautiful your life is until you’re able to sit back and enjoy it. I’ve found these few tips extremely helpful and I think you will too. Start with the most important step (step 1!) and ask for an outside perspective. Your friends love you and want to help you. You got this, girl!