Motherhood is a full-time job. I mean it. Seriously. It drains your energy–physically, mentally and emotionally. Which is why I feel that every mom deserves to be well taken cared of. Not by their husband, or their kids, or their mommy friends, but by themselves. Yes, you mummy, need to take care of YOU first. And when you take care of you, you will not only feel amazing, but you will have enough energy to survive the #dailyjuggle!
Self-care is never selfish. Especially for mums who work every single day either to run a household, raise kids while running a job, a business or a career. I love how Jay Shetty defines self-care in a more profound way.
“Self-care isn’t just holidays and massages. It’s working on your habits, mindset, and healing your past. It’s removing toxic thoughts, people and places in your life. It’s living intentionally, purposefully, and consciously.” – Jay ShettyI have my fair share of bad, crappy days too. Trust me, even as a health coach, I’m no perfect mom. And I don’t try to be. That’s just impossible, and downright exhausting. However, I have developed some healthy habits over the years which have helped me a lot in achieving a more balanced, more productive lifestyle. This may or may not work for you. But my hope is you get some ideas and it can spark a thing or two for you to start developing your own habits as well.
1.Start your first 20 minutes of the day doing something for you.
The first 20 minutes of your day is when your mind is at its most vulnerable. So how you prime it will pretty much affect the outcome of your day. So what I do, is the first 5-7 minutes I just lay there in bed, and try to have some quiet time. I think about what I’m most grateful for that day (good health, my family) and what I want to focus on during that day. I then go on to prep my warm lemon water, head out to our backyard to get some vitamin D if sun is out, or do a nice, easy flow or stretch on my mat. I do this while little T is still asleep.
I then have my breakfast smoothie which is packed with fiber, greens, superfood, to give me a surge of energy without the bloat. My fave combos are either my Detoxing Green Smoothie or my recent fave, Peach Carrot Cake Smoothie.
Find something that works for you. Is it listening to music, meditating, journaling, reading a book, or going straight to a nice, warm shower? Dedicate that first 20 minutes for you. Try not to reach for your phone yet and disconnect for awhile. Fill your cup first and get yourself ready and psyched up to conquer the rest of the day.
2.Move and sweat for at least 30 minutes everyday.
My typical day involves taking little T to school. I didn’t drive until just recently, so I’ve been running that 3-5km journey to his school and back almost everyday. Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes brisk-walk around your block with your toddler, or doing some quick squats and lunges while they’re at the playground, that can go a long way in giving you an energy boost.
Exercise releases endorphins, or the happy hormones so every time you sweat, you will feel happier straight after, guaranteed! Find what works for you. Start with 10 minutes a day, then 15, then 20, and 30. Do it twice a week, then 3x, 4x, until you get into the habit and your body will crave for the movement. Remember, progress over perfection. And listen to your body always.
3.Eat more plants.
I can’t emphasize enough how a plant-based type of eating has not just improved my energy and mood, but it also improved my skin, hair, and helped me maintain my ideal weight. And this somehow made me feel more confident about myself and embrace my body and shape much more than when I did prior mommyhood.
If you have trouble where to start, I have a FREE RESOURCE for you which will GUIDE you for 7-DAYS to start EATING CLEAN. Start simple. Start with something easy and familiar. And later on, experiment on a new vegetable or fruit or plant protein and see how that makes you feel. Eat more of what makes you feel good, and eat less of what doesn’t. It’s really that simple.
4.Go out with your girls.
Whether it’s a quick coffee catch-up or a full-night dine and wine with your girls, it will surely nourish your soul and lift your spirits up. Health is more than just diet and exercise. It’s also about our relationships, social, and emotional health. We are built to connect and we crave for those authentic interactions apart from those daily mom-toddler talks.
When I first moved to Melbourne and I barely had mommy friends my age, I took the initiative of joining online mommy groups and communities. It was out of my comfort zone but it was the best decision ever. Now some of them have become really good friends, and even business partners.
Remember that before being a mom, there’s a woman who longs to just have normal, girly conversations. Trust me, it will not only rejuvenate you but your kids and partner will miss you on those nights you are out and will give you extra tighter hugs and longer kisses when you are back. 🙂
Don’t feel guilty for loving yourself, taking care of yourself, making your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.
5.Take it easy on sugar.
I have a sweet tooth and I always have a stash of dessert stashed in my fridge. However, sweets can be made guilt-free. There are lots of natural sweeteners you can go for instead of the refined sugars found in most grocery-bought processed food and snacks. My favorite sweeteners are pure honey, pure maple, dates, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup, and dark chocolate.
Refined sugar especially when taken in huge amounts can totally zap your energy. Yes it can satisfy your craving but a few minutes after you will get a sugar crash and then grab for another piece, and another, and another. So instead, snack on whole foods like apples, nuts, berries. Or if you are a baker, go make your own healthy treats using natural ingredients.
6.Practice deep breathing.
Breathing is such an unconscious act that we don’t really pay much attention about it. I’m guilty of that too. But when I learned how deep and conscious breathing done each morning and night can do wonders for your body, I’ve been committing myself to do it. It doesn’t only calm you, but it brings about certain physiological changes that when done consistently for longer periods of time, can even improve digestion, and sleep patterns.
Here’s a simple breathing exercise you can do once or twice a day. I usually do it the moment I wake up when I’m still lying on my bed, and right before I sleep. You can also do this while seated. And it’s ideal if you can find a quiet spot free of distractions.
STEP 1. Close your eyes.
STEP 2. Take a slow deep breath through your nose (counting 4 seconds). Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
STEP 3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.
When you open your eyes, you might feel a little light-headed and that’s expected. It gets better when you do this exercise more often. Now go practice it, and notice how different you will feel immediately or even after a few days of doing it consistently.
7.Get a good night’s sleep.We are all too familiar with that feeling the next day when we didn’t have a good night’s sleep. Well, multiply that 100x, and you get the picture of what it can do to your overall health. Research shows that lack of sleep can affect a person’s digestive health, hormonal health, even mental health. And if you may be struggling with losing weight, check on your shut-eye hours as that could be a huge factor too. There’s growing evidence that missing out on sleep can increase your appetite. Most people need about 7-8 hours sleep each night.
“There’s practically no element in our lives that’s not improved by adequate sleep.” -Arianna Huffington
My final word for you momma, take it slow and easy. And know that you are always enough. As moms, we always have this heavy burden on our shoulders pushing us to do more, and be more for the sake of other people. There’s nothing wrong with serving others for as long as you’ve filled your cup to the brim, first.
You deserve the love. You are worth the effort.
Your fellow momma,