I’m admittedly obsessed with the topic of self-care. Not only because I’ve discovered its importance since becoming a Mom myself, but because I find the subject to be ridiculously simple and simultaneously complicated. It is woven together with other fascinating subjects life self-love, self- confidence, family support, and our own unique generational belief systems on these subjects. And despite the fact that most of us know many of the pillars of self-care to be true, executing on behalf of the wonderful person we know we could be if only we (fill in the blank here with your aspirational wellness activity), can be oddly challenging.
I became a mom in late 2011 and discovered how imperative my self- care became- in one hour I could be transformed from depressed, edgy mommy into positive, energetic woman. I noticed how much more I appreciated my role as mother and how much more motivated I felt to be creative and productive as an individual. Stories beget stories and now as founder of Beyond Mom, a community that encourages self-care and entrepreneurship for moms everywhere, I know I’m not the only one with this experience.
Since becoming a mom to a little girl over a year ago, I find myself reflecting on the importance of showing her what self-love and care looks like. I know this will shape her own perspective on how she treats herself. So I know I must continue this path for her, as well as for me.
Here are a few new and improved self-care tips (again ridiculously simple but simultaneously complicated). I hope they shed some light on the best ways you can care for yourself:
1) Rest: Movement has always been my medicine but I’ve discovered that rest is too. The simple act of closing my eyes, putting my feet up and slowing down my breathing reinvigorates me and frankly, gets me through the bedtime. While I love the days I fall asleep, I’ve discovered that it isn’t necessarily about sleep but about peaceful rejuvenation. In about 20 minutes I feel brighter, healthier and more focused and in my case, ready to keep up with my athletic son for a few more hours. When you feel weary, see if you can simply lie down, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel its natural healing effects take effect.
2) Dress yourself (and your kid) like each day is special– It’s easy as a busy mom with a messy little kid to dress everyone in sweats every day. After all, simple and comfy which can feel most necessary and convenient. But I’ve realized that how you dress is how you feel about yourself…and your children. How we dress is how we present ourselves to the world- be your own best ambassador! Your perspective on life will automatically shift to a brighter more positive way of being! And you will teach your children to have pride in how he or she presents themselves to the world.
3) Even during “family time,” find “you” time– During a family trip to Norway, I happily took some “me” time, consisting of a solo stroll by the harbor of Oslo, a delicious shrimp lunch at the café attached to the Modern Art Museum and a massage at the Thief Hotel (a must stay if ever you are in this magnificent city). Why did I take this time? Because sometimes I just need to be ME, even when I’m with my family. Mommy (and wife) can be a lot of work and taking space to think, read, eat and yes, even pamper myself keeps me present and grateful for the beautiful family I have. Luckily, my husband gets that and supports this time one hundred percent.
4) Make meals a ritual- I’ve found that our family mealtime creates a closeness that is difficult to find otherwise. Nothing else slows us down, stops us in our tracks and focuses us on one another quite like the ritual of a home cooked meal. Life is fast and I confess it can be hard to put the phone down and forget my work for a while. I admit, family dinners don’t happen every night, but we make sure they happen several times per week. So between our Shabbat Friday dinner and at least two more weekend meals (breakfast and lunch count!), we have grown to treasure these times as a family unit. And enjoying healthy, delicious food together is the bonus!
5) Even if you need to slow down with your work, keep your dreams alive- When I was pregnant I found myself extraordinarily nauseous and tired. As a result the times when I would usually be “productive” with my work, I found myself guzzling ginger ale and passing out on the couch. For a while, I beat myself about this new and unanticipated pattern but after a while I succumbed to my reality. What kept me in check, however, were frequent meditations on my goals, jotting down ideas in my notebook, and reading articles on subjects that are relevant to my work. In other words, even though I had to slow down, I kept my juices flowing as much as I could.
As moms and families, we do the best we can to keep ourselves strong, focused, and present. Self-care is the way to make a reality that is happy and positive possible- after all, if we don’t love ourselves first, who’s going to love us back?