[Ad] The end of the month is nigh (and thank god for that because spring is very welcome at this point!), and in just a few short weeks it will be Mother’s Day. With that in mind I thought I’d share a self-care checklist for inspiration of ways to treat yourself (or drop unsubtle hints) for your special day.
March 2019 saw Mother’s Day in the UK fall on the same date as daylight saving – which was, frankly, some kind of sick joke for those of us with small children. Seriously, who decided that was acceptable? Thankfully this year the sleep-deprivation should be a little easier as they’re a week apart – thank god again because I don’t think it could get much worse in this house at the moment. And we all know that too little sleep has all kinds of terrible knock-on effects.
But sleep is just one of several basic self-care needs we should be meeting…
A Beginner’s Guide to Self Care
These are the bare minimum objectives we should be aiming to achieve for the sake of our personal wellbeing:
- Enough quality sleep,
- Regular healthy meals,
- Regular exercise,
- Plenty of fresh air,
- Keeping in touch with loved ones,
- Drinking enough water,
- Time for a daily bath or shower.
But there’s so much more to self-care than just this list of basic needs. We deserve more than that and we can do better. In addition, we should also be shooting for these goals:
Minimising stress, relaxing, and finding pockets of joy.
Taking good care of ourselves is essential to wellbeing and there are many ways to do so, each of which may focus on a different kind of need – the ones that we can live without, but we shouldn’t have to.
If it makes you feel good then you should make it a priority from time to time.
Self-Care Checklist Ideas and Inspiration
Being a mum to small children means it’s not always practical to indulge in self-care, but there are many ways of doing so – it’s about being creative and snatching those moments where you can!
Sometimes it takes a little more planning – or even a lot. Not all of the following ideas will be possible for everyone, but some of the suggestions should be possible for everyone – and the others are ones to look forward to in the future, as your babies grow.
This checklist outlines the areas of our lives that require nurturing in order to ensure wellbeing, and inspiration to complement and meet those needs.
Self-Care Need: Relaxation
As busy parents it’s so easy for our needs to end up at the bottom of the list. But ignoring our need for a break from being used as a climbing frame and an emotional punchbag takes its toll.
Taking the time to relax and unwind is vital to ensure we can continue being the possible parents.
Remedy: A Bath, With a Glass of Wine and a Good Book
Over the past year, since Elfin has become a little less dependent on me (little being the operative word – she’s my mini cling-on!), Dan has got very good at coming home from work and sending me for a bath. Not everybody will be in the position to do this and there are times I could really use the break that it’s just not possible (when one of the girls is unwell for example).
But on those occasions it does happen, there’s nothing I love better than running a warm bath, lighting a tealight to melt my fave scented wax, and luxuriating in a peaceful bath with a good book. it’s soooo welcome and the hour alone really helps me to recharge.
It’s simple – but it means the world.
Self-Care Need: Sensuality
This one may sound somewhat unnecessary, but it makes my self care checklist nonetheless because it’s a legitimate form of being good to yourself, just like any other. It may be slightly less critical, a little more indulgent – but you’re worth it! Especially if you have any aches and pains you’ve been ignoring because you don’t have the time to consider your own discomfort.
Remedy: A Massage or Other Treatment
For Dan’s birthday recently, we treated ourselves to a weekend at a spa with a massage treatment.
It’s something I’d never think to do for myself, because I just can’t justify spending that money on such a personal frivolity – but I’m beginning to think that occasionally I should.
I get it, a spa treatment may seem extravagant – but maintaining your wellbeing is not. So if you desperately need to unwind and a massage would help you with that – and you can comfortably afford it – then there’s really no reason not to.
Self-Care Need: Peace and Mindfulness
Remedy: Declutter, Or Journal
I always find myself coming back to:
Tidy home, tidy mind.
Living in serene surroundings is absolutely vital for my mental health, and I’d wager that many other people respond in exactly the same way to cluttered visual stimuli. The good news is that a little decluttering can be very cathartic.
One of the best things I ever did in our home was putting toy rotation in place. It’s beneficial for all of us, and has really helped to scale back the mess I was struggling with. You can check out exactly how to implement this in my post about how to rotate toys for a more peaceful home.
I also find that sometimes the only thing that can quiet my busy mind is to get everything down on paper. Journaling can be a very powerful tool for helping to notice, analyse, and process difficult feelings.
Self-Care Need: Calm and Exercise
Remedy: A Run, a Peaceful Walk, Yoga Or a Swim
Going somewhere tranquil to get some fresh air can be just as restorative as visiting a salon. I always feel better after immersing myself in nature and luxuriating in the solitude of a walk alone – not that it happens very often of course!
I also enjoy a swim by myself, during which I can retreat from the world for a little while and not think about anything beyond how many lengths I’ve achieved. Getting the blood pumping is one of the best things you can do for your state of mind.
Years ago I used to run and I miss it. I stopped following an injury, but I’m considering trying a gentle return now my girls are getting older. Runner’s high is better than any drug! If you’re interested in running and tracking your progress, there are lots of great gadgets available for this purpose, from smart watches for teenagers, to ones designed specifically for women or men.
Yoga is also something I’ve discovered in the last couple of years, which is a wonderful way to feel in tune with your body and practice mindfulness.
Self-Care Need: Value and Worth
Remedy: A Material Item, Just For You
Yes, it’s shallow. Yes, it goes against my new perspective on ‘stuff’, namely that it’s wasteful and bad for the planet. Yet a little bit of what you fancy, from time to time, is no bad thing.
Particularly if you tend to go without, rarely spending money on yourself because your partner or children always come in front of you.
If there’s something you’ve been coveting and you’ve saved up to afford it then why not actually treat yourself, rather than seeing the pennies tot up – and then spending them (yet again) on the kids? They definitely don’t need more stuff (in our house at least!).
Perhaps just once in a blue moon, it would be wonderful for your soul.
I’ve long yearned for a pair of dazzling shades, and I was delighted to receive these gorgeous Chloe sunglasses to feature in this post last year. I lurve oversized sunnies, and because I’d never splurge on them for myself, I consider them a real treat which I’ll treasure!
I do, however, occasionally allow myself a new lippie or nail varnish to make myself feel fabulous.
Self-Care Need: Intimacy
Remedy: A Romantic Date
Dan and I have started making extra effort to make time for dates again.
It’s amazing how prioritising time for your relationship can lead to a greater sense of wellbeing permeating all aspects of life.
Spending quality time together, remembering the reasons we chose to live and start a family together, rediscovering our love and friendship, and – perhaps most importantly – our shared sense of humour, has re-cemented our family.
Instead of defaulting to stress and irritation when the girls act up, we’re better able to diffuse the tension with fun and laughter. It doesn’t always work, but it’s true that mum sets the tone of the home; feeling happy in my marriage unquestionably improves my mood and resilience in the face of small people who, on a bad day, are hellbent on breaking me.
Self-Care Need: Connection
Remedy: Dinner With Friends
Sometimes, only good food and giggles with your girlfriends will suffice. I find wine or fizz can help too.
It’s taken a good two years to get to a point where I feel I can go out for an evening, but now Elfin will actually sleep when she goes to bed (for a few hours at least…), I plan to start taking full advantage!
Reaffirming friendships (and making new ones) is also a way of rediscovering myself after a long period of being Mummy, and little else.
However you choose to pamper yourself this Mother’s Day, be good to yourself – you’re worth it!