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Do you consider self care a luxury? Like it’s something that people that have nannies and personal assistants do. Or maybe it’s just people who don’t have young kids or don’t have jobs.
Maybe you don’t necessarily see it as a luxury for the rich and famous, but still not something that you have time for.
As moms, we often consider the difference between necessities and luxuries. A Disney vacation is a luxury, shoes that fit is a necessity. Taking the family out to eat at a fancy restaurant is a luxury, making sure your family has food is a necessity.
We set aside time and resources for the things we consider necessities and whatever w have left can be saved or spent on a few luxuries.
This is all well and good until we start viewing self care as a luxury. When we hear the phrase self care we might think of massages and spas and hours of escape from pressure and pestering.
We make self care into some grand escape from reality and therefore something that we just don’t have the time and money for. We see it as something we can do without in order to be more productive, care for our families, work, run our businesses, etc.
But self care is in fact NOT a luxury.
Self care is essential for being the best parent, person, family member, worker, human we can be. Taking care of our mental and physical health is mandatory if we want to be happy, thriving, loving parents.
Making time to exercise is absolutely essential as a mom. Not only does it help us look good, but it has a ton of other benefits.
Exercise increases energy
It increases our endorphins
It provides a good example of a healthy lifestyle for our kids
It helps us de-stress
It helps us clear our minds
Exercising improves our self image
It can help you feel happier
It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease
It helps your bones and muscles
It helps your brain health
Exercise helps you with relaxation and getting better sleep
It can even promote a better sex life
Exercising even just 10 minutes a day can have a huge impact on your health and well-being. Exercise enables to deal with stress and stay healthy and be happy. All these things make us a better parent and a better worker.
If our goal is to be the best we can be for our kids, our families, our jobs, and ourselves, then we can’t think of exercise as a luxury that we try to fit in. It is an essential that we schedule and make sure that we do.
Sleep is just as essential as exercise if not more so. Lack of sleep makes us cranky and irritable. It makes our thinking slow and therefore makes us less productive.
When we are sleeping it is that time that our bodies heal and detoxifies themselves. In fact when we sleep, our brains clear out toxins the build up of which can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Think about that. Just by getting better sleep, you can help reduce the risk of burdening your kids with the need to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them.
On top of that people who get good sleep receive the following benefits:
Get sick less often.
Get along with people better
Stay at a healthy weight.
Lower their risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
Reduce stress and improve their mood.
Think more clearly and do better in school and at work.
Plus a ton of other benefits. If you want to learn more about the benefits of sleep and things you can do to help you fall asleep and get deeper more beneficial sleep, check out the book Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. It will change your life.
What we put into our bodies has a major impact on what we can get out of them and I’m not talking about poop. Food has the ability to heal or harm. It can sustain us or it can break us down.
If we want to have energy, fight and prevent disease, and look and feel our best, we really need to look at what we are putting into our bodies.
This doesn’t mean being a perfectionist or banning all sugar ever. It doesn’t mean letting calorie counting control our lives, but it does mean learning about what foods make us feel good, what founds help us fight disease, and what foods we like but don’t really like us back.
I personally have found the 131 Method to be an amazing resource to learn about how different foods affect our bodies and how I can create my own diet that works for me. We are all unique, so what works for one may not necessarily work for another.
But, the 131 Method teaches you how to figure out what works for you. It helps you make healthy choices and never makes you feel bad if you slip up from what you intended to do. This method helped me have my healthiest pregnancy and lose the baby weight while juggling work, a husband, and 3 kids.
Finally, this list would not be complete without addressing mental health. As moms we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all. We want to do everything our moms did and more. We work, hold the family together, clean house, create elaborate birthday parties and everything else.
It is impossible to keep this up for any extended period of time with out taking time to focus on our mental health.
Going to therapy can be amazing with the right therapist. But, if you can’t swing that time wise or financially, there are other things you can do.
You can have a gratitude practice every morning where you really think about things you are grateful for and why. You can meditate for a few minutes a day to give yourself a little peace and calm.
You can make time to bond with other women. Find women that you love and trust and plan meetups. Do brunch or just go on a walk together and get exercise and bonding time in one.
In this day and age you can hangout without needing to get dressed up and hire a baby sitter. Crack open a bottle of wine and Google chat with the ladies after the kids have gone to bed.
In order to best be there for and care for the ones we love, we need to be calm and healthy and happy. The only way to ensure that is to actually take care of ourselves.
Remember you need to give yourself the oxygen mask first before you can help others. Self care is essential for our health and happiness. Never treat it as a luxury that can be delayed or pushed aside.
Make time for you now. You deserve it and so does your family.