10 Practical Self-Care Tips for Working MumsFeb 08, 2022
By Marisa Sim.
Now that dust has settled on the "New Year, New Me" bullshit, let's get real here. I'm not saying you should not improve yourself and achieve the goals you set out in January. But, I'm saying that to triumph as a working mum, you need to have a consistent routine to build the physical, mental and emotional resilience you need to be successful.
We live in a society that normalises being busy and working long hours as productive. While I agree that we should work hard to build our careers and businesses, I disagree that we always have to be busy and on the ball. I have seen first-hand so many mompreneurs, and working mothers work their asses off and suffer from overwhelmed and burnout.
In fact, in the annual Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org, in the survey polled more than 65,000 North American employees, 42% of women reported feeling burned out often or almost always in 2021, compared to 32% of women in 2020. So imagine if they surveyed the whole world.
It is time we change the paradigm of a work-till-you-drop culture and move towards a culture that allows us to thrive on both the work front and our personal lives without destroying ourselves. I honestly believe the way forward is prioritising our self-care before work. I know this may sound crazy, but please hear me out.
When you work yourself to the brink of exhaustion, you suffer. Your health suffers, your mental health suffers, your relationships suffer, and all of this could lead to burnout, which requires you to take a long hiatus from work. Taking a long break when building a career, starting a business, building a team, scaling a business, launching a product, or all of the above, can be detrimental. So instead, you want to create healthy self-care habits that can sustain you so you don't crash and burn.
Here are my top 10 practical self-care tips:
Schedule it in
We schedule everything under the sun, from our kids' doctor appointments to after-school activities, but we leave our self-care in our calendars as mothers. Start planning your self-care time and share it with your family, partner and babysitter. Do this first step now! Yes, like now. Get your calendar and set reminders for all your self-care activities.
Start in the morning
Get up 30 minutes earlier than your family and start when you wake up. Do not check your emails straight away. Start your routine first- It could be as simple as drinking a big glass of water, stretching for 10 minutes, meditating for 5 minutes, and journaling for 10 minutes. Boom! You are ready to start your day after you fill your cup!
Get an accountability partner
If you are not a disciplined person, you need an accountability partner. That way, you can improve and be accountable for your actions. It can be a friend you text after your workout or someone outside your circle, like a health coach. One way to stick to your routine is if someone checks on you. Another way is to do it with a partner. For example, meeting a friend every morning to walk together. You are more likely to stick to your habit if you have someone to do it with you.
Go outside daily
Going outside has so many health benefits. First, it will help your physical and mental health. The fresh air and surroundings help you recharge and reset your mind. Second, being outside can help you think outside the box. Perhaps you have struggled with something, and the walk will spark a new idea or a solution. Even if it rains or snows, dress appropriately and get outdoors. A saying goes something like, "There is no such thing as bad weather, but only wrong clothes."
Spend time with friends
As a working mum, I know you may want to spend all your waking hours working on your projects and business, but you need to spend time with women. It can get pretty lonely when we only focus on work. We need human connection and emotional support from our female friends or colleagues to rant and tell them what is happening in our personal or professional lives. So make time to grab a coffee with a friend and let your heart out.
Set healthy boundaries
As a busy mother, your time and energy are limited. If someone comes to you and asks for something at work, it's okay to say "No" to them if it takes up too much of your time or disrupts your self-care time. Be honest with yourself, learn that you cannot help everyone, and be there for everyone. You don't have to sacrifice your time for others. Learn how to say "no" to things and people that drain your energy.
Eat nourishing foods
I know that when it gets busy, you want to grab something quick and easy to eat. But what happens when you choose convenience over your health. Eating foods that are not nourishing will leave you more hungry and crave unhealthy foods. But, on the other hand, when you eat healthy foods, you are more satiety and have more energy to focus on your work. You will also be healthy and strong to keep working.
We often worry a lot or overthink as mothers, affecting our mental health and sleep. However, many research studies have scientifically proven the health benefits of meditation, including managing stress, developing focus and concentration, and increasing self-awareness. Practising meditation can also help us stay calm and respond to the needs of our family and colleagues better instead of reacting.
Unplug from technology
As a mompreneur myself, I understand how important it is to be online and on-demand, but being "on" 24/7 is not healthy for your mind, body or spirit. It is essential to take time to reconnect with yourself by unplugging from work-related technology after work hours and on the weekends. Pausing technology can help you feel more grounded and connected to the people around you.
Move your body daily
We already live such sedentary lives. With the whole Covid situation, more of us are working from home, which means we are not moving as much. Movement is good for our hearts and keeps our bodies agile and robust, so we don't suffer from aches and pains, which affects our productivity. Stretch in the mornings, take a walk during your lunch hour or get a standing desk.
Changing our mindset around being busy and making time for ourselves and our needs is vital for working mothers. By prioritising your self-care, health and wellbeing, you will be in top form physically, emotionally, mentally to be more productive, creative, efficient to run your business and projects and be there for your family.
Do you agree?
Marisa is a certified holistic health coach and trained Neuro-Linguistic Programming coach. She helps overwhelmed mothers reset and prioritise their needs to thrive in motherhood and their professional life. You can read all about Marisa and her work here.
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