You know you have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. What is your oxygen mask, though?
We suggest 10 easy ways you can take care of yourself each day. Separately, each of these is a tiny step in your life. Taken together every day, these steps can help you nourish yourself, breathe deeply, and keep yourself ready to care for your children and family.
1. Sleep. When you are parenting a baby or a young child, sleep can be a difficult issue. Sleep is the most important factor in your physical and mental health, though. You need to arrange family routines so you get what you need or the rest of the structure will suffer. Sleep is your own oxygen mask.
2. Greet the Sun. Whether you do a yoga sun salutation or you just step outside to acknowledge that the day is beginning, this simple act of greeting your day consciously can heighten your awareness to keep your from drifting through your day.
3. Work Out. Does it seem impossible to get dressed, grab your yoga mat, and leave the house for an hour? If you are busy and never get through your whole list, you can easily convince yourself not to leave home for a workout. You do have other options to stay physically fit. The 7-minute workout is a scientifically based series of 12 exercises. It is intense. Turn on the online timer, and just do what the timer tells you to do.
4. Groom Yourself. Before you had children, you would not have thought that you would need to remind yourself to take basic grooming steps, but it is easy to forget when the day sneaks up on you. So, before you forget, brush your teeth, wash your face, and brush your hair. Quick. Simple. Done.
5. Write a paragraph in your notebook. What?! Don’t have a notebook? Get one. One notebook to rule them all. You have a lot to keep organized, not just information about house and family but your own thoughts. It really helps to have one constant anchor. For me, that’s a notebook, and I use the bullet journal method to keep myself organized. I think it’s important to have a physical notebook rather than a phone app. So, write a paragraph in your notebook just for you. Tell yourself about yesterday; write out loud about today; tell your worries or share your joys. Just write for you.
6. Remind Yourself. When everything is so busy that you are tired and a little cranky, it’s easy to forget that the work you are doing matters. Raising your beautiful little human beings is a job that sends ripples of positive effects through the world and through time. Take another moment to bring yourself to awareness, and remind yourself of the good you do in the lives of people around you.
7. Eat well. Not all food is equally nutritious. Especially when you are stressed and tired, you need foods that will boost your immunity so you don’t crash. The key is to stock the healthy foods rather than the low-nutrition foods. Then, when you have only a few minutes to make food for yourself, you can grab dark vegetables and fruits and make yourself a smoothie.
8. Listen to Your Music. Bring who you really are to your parenting. For a lot of us, music is a big part of identity. Forget those collections of baby songs or children yell-singing pop hits. Turn on your own music. Sing your songs to your baby. Dance to your songs with your toddler. Make driving singalong time.
9. Read a book. Before you laugh, think of the time you spend breastfeeding your baby. In addition to gazing at this beautiful little human being you get to hold, give yourself 5 minutes here and there to read a book. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever takes you away or reminds you who you are—whatever you need right now.
10. Drink a cup. At night, when the baby is finally asleep, drink a cup of Peaceful Mama tea. The chamomile, lemon balm, and oat straw are calming. Just take a few minutes by yourself to reflect on your day.
If you can’t take every step every day, it’s OK. Just keep taking steps and moving yourself forward.
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