Whether you are nurturing a career or business, an intimate relationship, a secret dream, or a family, your time and energy are among the most valuable commodities you possess. No matter how carefully you plan or how wisely you spend them, the truth is that they are extremely precious and in limited supply.
“Mothering” may mean something different to everyone, but the ultimate goal here is the nurturing of your “self” and making “you” the priority. Self-care involves taking simple actions that have a positive effect on your mind, body, and soul, but many women (and mothers) believe they don’t have the time to think about themselves while dealing with the demands of others or everyday life. We work hard to nurture others; yet, we often forget that when we don’t give ourselves the care and experiences that allow us to be our best — we often are not our best. We don’t have our best gifts to give to others, we don’t perform as well as we should, and we don’t feel as good as we could.
We all need quality fuel to help us lead the vibrant, full, unique lives that only we can live — and it doesn’t have to be radical or difficult. Here are five tips to help for mothering your inner and outer self so that you are well-primed for anyone or anything that life throws your way.
Tip #1: Do one thing for yourself every day.
It’s your intention and your follow-through of this one thing that matters — not the size of the action. It may be in giving yourself flowers to put on your work desk. It may be by giving yourself permission to say “no” to something you really don’t want to do. It may be in taking the time out to pamper yourself with a spa day. Maybe something as simple as adding an extra 5 minutes to your snooze button. It may be in taking a little time to shop for something new, like a new sports or workout outfit, that will make you feel better and get you out of that tired, baggy t-shirt and feel more motivated to go out on a next run or to your local gym. Give yourself permission for a little self-indulgence. Large or small. Every day. Just one thing.
Tip #2: Keep yourself safe & protected.
As a woman or a mother, that nurturing instinct can have us more concerned for the attention, care and safety of others. But, keeping yourself personally safe and protected can lend itself to better caring for others while also helping you to better feel and remain physically and emotionally healthy. There are many ways that you can do this, like taking a self-defense class, or carrying easy-to-use safety devices with you, or just really looking around and paying attention to your physical surroundings so you can better avoid potential issues. We want to be able to stay safe while out exercising or on a run alone. We want our homes to be physically and environmentally safe. We may even wonder about technology security or cell phone safety factors. There’s a lot to consider, so don’t shy away from starting with yourself first. You’ll be better prepared to do more to help protect others around you too.
Tip #3: Slow down and … rest.
Yes, you are busy, and you can’t stop what you are doing. But when you don’t slow down and take time to rest, your ability to concentrate and focus decreases. Your productivity goes down, and you forget things. While you may tell yourself that watching TV or checking social media on your phone is “resting,” it isn’t. These mindless activities don’t refuel you, and you lose time that you could be using to replenish yourself. Practice slowing down in the right ways. Rediscover naptime. Go to bed on time. Worrying about being late for a big meeting tomorrow? Afraid you’ll sleep through your alarm? If you’re brain simply won’t slow down at the end of the day or you are having trouble getting or staying asleep at night, some of these yoga poses before bed might help.
Tip #4: Exercise regularly.
Believe it or not, regular exercise can transform your life — inside and out. Whether you are a gym rat, you thrive on group fitness, or you prefer to experience Mother Nature firsthand, engaging in some sort of physical fitness or activity is one of the most productive things you can do for your mind and body. Does exercise seem more like a chore? There are many simple ways to stay motivated. If you’re new to the world of exercising, try yoga, Pilates or other types of low-impact workouts that benefit both your mind and body. Regardless of what you do, carve out time for physical activity, and it will give time back to you in spades.
Tip #5: Eat a well-balanced diet.
A healthy diet is a critical component of any successful self-care plan. Nutrition has been linked with cognitive, physical, and emotional health, and eating a well-balanced meal gives your body and brain the minerals and vitamins they need to stay well. Stay away from insulin-releasing, sugar-spiking, inflammatory or processed foods. We like to aim for foods (meats, chicken or fish) that lead heathy lives themselves or grow on trees and plants. A little trick for your plant-based portions — the more colorful the vegetables or fruits, the more antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins they have. Looking for ideas? Our healthy recipe and meal swap section contains nutrition-packed dishes, creative alternatives, healthy recipe makeovers, and favorite traditional recipes for all types of eaters and taste buds!
Everyone is unique and with different needs, but overall, the goals of mothering your inner and outer self are to help reduce stress, maintain relationships, meet emotional needs, and discover a state of good physical and mental health. The more you care for yourself, the better you can care for others. It may feel like everyone expects the world of you, but more than anything, they just want you in their world!