Self-maintenance is a vital component of life. It is essential for success and well-being; we cannot be our “best self” if our batteries are empty. Yet, oftentimes, as busy moms we get so caught up in a whirl of caring for everybody else that we forsake our own interests. After chatting with my mom’s extraordinary posse (a.k.a my cherished girlfriends) I realize that too many modern mammas still view “time for oneself” as indulgent or, worse yet, greedy. The reality, though, is that if moms do not take time for themselves, they will burn out.
When I forsake my “individual self” and the stressors in my life are at their most tense, I am reminded to take a step back and recharge. How am I reminded? Well, there is unyielding tension that rests in my shoulders, fatigue that crushes my whole being and the occasional migraine. That is more than enough motivation to get me up and running to the nearest gym, spa or coffeehouse!
Because relaxation makes us happier, healthier and a whole lot more productive, here are a few simple tactics for even the busiest of moms to unwind:
1. Stay curious and try something new.
Novel activities not only lift the spirit and expand the mind but also lower depression as well. If you are self-conscious about lack of coordination, try a zumba class and get you’re groove on. Call upon a friend with whom you haven’t spoken in some time or simply go to a restaurant or coffee shop alone. Slowly Step out of your comfort zone and you may just experience new pleasures.
2. Sometimes Mamma Needs a Time-out!
It is imperative to fit a little “ home alone” time into your schedule. A friend of mine (mother of 4) sets her alarm for 5am daily so she can relax, have coffee and just “be” before the morning rush unleashes its fury. Do something enjoyable: listen to music, meditate or read a good book. DO NOT use the time to fold laundry, pay bills or perform pesky household chores. Quality over quantity is what’s most important.
3. Schedule a Play date (for yourself)!!!
Human connection is a must. Why is it that the busier we become, the more we neglect our social life? A friend of mine recently called to make sure I was okay after she hadn’t seen me in a while. She then proceeded to tell me she thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. This wake-up call made me realize how out of touch I had become. The point is- STAY CONNECTED: Plan a girl’s night, catch a chick flick, go for a cocktail, grab a mani/pedi, etc. It’s fun and healing to break out of “child mode” every now and then. And the amazing thing is that even when I feel too exhausted to get out of my comfy sweats, let alone leave the house, once I meet up with friends I instantly re-energize.
Hopefully these tips will inspire mother’s everywhere to lead a more balanced and centered lifestyle. When mentally and physically strong, we can appreciate the many blessings we are granted–especially those of our precious children. And that, my friends, is what true pleasure is all about!
Shelly F. Gill is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts degree from Rosemont College. She is a guest writer for several websites, including The Examiner, focusing on make-up and beauty tips. She loves good poetry, wine and music. Shelly lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband and young daughter.