Sometimes, as you juggle it all, your day-to-day life as a mom can feel pretty hectic. You know how it goes: You’re rushing to get ready for the day while prepping kids, handling tantrums and trying to remember everything on your agenda. And that’s all before 8 a.m.! Add school pick-ups, sports and meal prep to your day, and it can be difficult to find much, if any, time for self-care, especially if you add a career to the mix.
We hear you! As a mom, it can be a challenge to prioritize your own health goals as you juggle the multitude of demands on your time and energy. But it’s important to work in some vital “me” time as often as you can for your own well-being. After all, if you’re not taking optimal care of yourself, it can be difficult to take optimal care of the people you love.
You don’t have to wait until Mother’s Day to give yourself the gift of self-care. Read on for simple ways you can work in that all-important “me” time for moms.
Commit to the importance of “me” time
First, let’s talk about why it’s so important to make regular self-care a priority. You may feel like you’re being selfish or indulgent if you crave some regular time alone — but you’re not! In fact, taking time to care for yourself is the exact opposite of selfishness, as doing so directly benefits your family. When you are physically or emotionally depleted, you may not have the energy to give as much as you’d like to your family, whether that’s playing with your kids, being emotionally present or helping them tackle their homework. Being drained may also make you prone to being more irritable and less patient.
Taking time for yourself, on the other hand, helps your brain reset, allows you to work off stress and gather your composure, and dive back into parenthood with a little more stamina and patience.
Even though you may acknowledge and appreciate the importance of “me” time, finding time to fit it into your schedule can be another matter altogether. Use the following tips to help prioritize your own self-care.
1. Double-team with fellow moms
Chances are, other moms you know from school, youth sports, friend groups or your neighborhood are in the same boat as you, craving some valuable, but all-too-rare, me time. Unite to make self-care happen for all of you! Reach out and see who is interested in taking turns watching the kids. Perhaps you can take the group on Tuesdays, someone else takes them on Wednesdays, and someone else watches them on Thursdays.
Try to schedule each session for a one- or two-hour playdate. Not only will the kids love it, but it will give you — and your fellow moms — regular, scheduled time to go for a walk, get a massage, attend a yoga class, take a nap or just relax in the house for some much-needed quiet, restorative time.
2. Put a twist on mundane chores.
Granted, this isn’t the most glamorous way to fit in some alone time, but choosing to approach an item on your to-do list as an opportunity for some quiet time may work for you. You may be able to turn a chore into an opportunity to re-charge a bit through some simple tweaks. If you have a baby napping or kids playing in the next room, you might try the following:
- Put on your favorite music and get lost in the zone
- Get lost in a podcast or audiobook as you go
And when you find a spare moment of quiet, it’s important to use it to pay attention to your body, your mind and your own needs. Get in the habit of checking in with yourself regularly to determine what you crave at any given time. If you’re tired and could use a nap, let that chore wait while you rest and recharge.
3. Wake up 30 minutes earlier
Try booking 30 minutes in the morning just for you. It may be difficult at first, but rising earlier is a habit that pays off, as it gives you time to enjoy your morning while the house is still quiet. It can also help you feel more prepared for the day and to greet your kids feeling patient and calm.
Here are a few suggestions to start your day off positively:
- Meditate (check out these 4 reasons why meditation is good for busy moms)
- Watch the morning news
- Take a walk around the neighborhood if someone is at home to watch the kids
- Pop in an exercise DVD or stream a workout app and get your body moving
- Meal prep with help from Jenny Craig's online program.
If you’re feeling overly tired and don’t think you can bear to set your alarm any earlier, be sure to check out our top tips to maximize sleep as a mom. After all, sleep itself is a form of “me” time too!
4. Maximize quiet evenings
After the kids go to bed, you have a period of time that is calm and precious. Try to cut down on evening activities that take away from your too-brief quiet time.
- Working mom? Do meal prep on the weekends. Try to do your shopping and prepare the majority of your meals on Saturday or Sunday. If once a week is too difficult at first, try breaking it up into two days. Better yet, have healthy, ready-made meals, like ones from Jenny Craig, on hand — so you don’t have to worry about your healthy food prep and cooking during the week.
- Limit social media and email. Set a limit for the amount of time you spend on your computer or phone. It can be all too easy to start scrolling, only to realize an hour later that all that valuable time has passed — time that could have been spent doing something for yourself.
5. Schedule your “me” time
To make “me” time happen, it’s necessary to be intentional and plan ahead. Decide which techniques you’d like to start with, whether it’s waking up earlier each day or partnering with other parents to watch the kids. Then, map out the details. Carve out the time and you will thank yourself later. And so may your family!
We hope that this Mother’s Day — and every other day, for that matter — you will commit to finding the time for some well-earned “me” time. You deserve to give yourself the gift of self-care … and your family deserves the best of you!
Do you have a favorite self-care practice? Leave us a comment below to share!
Carole Anderson Lucia
Carole is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California who specializes in health and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Mom & Baby, Yahoo News, Viv magazine and Lifescript. She's won several national awards for her work including a National Science Award and two National Health Information awards. A frequent contributor to Jenny Craig’s Blog, Healthy Habits, she enjoys gardening, spending time at the beach and adopting far too many rescue animals in her spare time.
Favorite healthy snack: jicama dipped in homemade hummus.
These articles are written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals. Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so that our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.