Self-care is important.
We all know that. However, the act of self-care, while super important, can be a little overwhelming for moms. Because, well, being mom is exhausting!
Let me tell you a little about my dream self-care day. I start the day waking up on my own (no alarm clock, no babies jumping on my head). I then take a long, hot shower, put on my comfiest yoga pants and head to Target to have a coffee and stroll the Dollar Spot. After my stroll, I spend the afternoon getting a deep-tissue massage and finish my day laying on the couch watching uninterrupted reality TV or quietly reading a book.
However, my life is far from this fairy tale! As I type this, I just returned home from a full day of work. My family and I are trying to survive the two hour time slot between finishing work and starting the bedtime routine. I currently have a 15 month old at my feet eating (throwing/crushing/etc.) goldfish, while screaming for a cookie (and yes, I gave in and he is now eating the cookie).
This is what motherhood looks like.
It’s messy and unpredictable. Traditional, elaborate self-care is not always feasible, but that doesn’t mean that we should neglect ourselves completely. I’m here to let you in on a secret: self-care does not have to be time-consuming! Here are 5 realistic self-care activities that you can do in 5 minutes or less. That’s right, FIVE minutes. So turn on Sesame Street, YouTube, Baby Shark, or whatever you need to keep your little ones attention for 5 minutes and take a break!
I’m not talking about reading a novel (unless that’s your jam!) But, that’s basically impossible for me these days. I’m talking about something short. Maybe an article on a topic you find interesting or an excerpt from a personal development book. If you don’t enjoy reading, get creative! Instead of reading, listen to a few minutes of a podcast or an audio book.
2. Take a Few Deep Breaths
Obviously breathing is essential to life, but sometimes in the chaos of motherhood we forget to really take a breath. Sit down and put your hand on your stomach. Take 5 deep breaths. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your stomach rising and falling. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it will instantly calm you. This is also an amazing skill to have on hand when your kids are a little out of control. Take a deep breath before having an argument for the 500th time about why you need to wear a coat when it’s 0 degrees outside. (I’m taking deep breaths just thinking about that argument. It’s amazing how convincing toddlers can be!)
3. Have a snack
Don’t share your snack with your child. Don’t eat the leftovers of your son’s crushed goldfish and call it a snack. Have an actual snack. Pick something you really enjoy. My favorite option is a piece of chocolate. Believe me, I know how hard it is to eat in front of your kids, so I recommend eating this snack out of their presence. They are probably so into their TV show that they probably won’t notice you hanging out in the kitchen for five minutes. Savor the taste. Enjoy the moment. Then return back to reality and hope that your little ones haven’t destroyed anything important in your absence.
4. Take a Walk/Stretch
Basically, just move a little. We already know all of the benefits of movement, but incorporating a full workout into the day seems almost impossible. If your kids are young enough put them in the stroller and walk around the block. If they are a little older, let them run outside while you do a few laps around your house. If you hate walking (or are not physically able), get your movement in by doing some light stretching. Five minutes of stretching will relax your muscles and in return, relax you.
5. Have a Dance Party
Self-care can be a lot of fun. Dust off your old Spice Girls CD (I know you saved it!) and Spice up your Life for the next 5 minutes. You can slam it to the left and shake it to the right and just like that you will feel refreshed and ready to get back to the crazy world of parenting. If they want to cooperate, you can even have a dance party with your kids, but having a dance party completely alone is most definitely preferred!
Let me know what you are doing!
I hope these quick, easy self-care ideas inspire you to incorporate a few minutes of self-care everyday. I’d love to hear some of your favorite self-care activities (no matter how elaborate they are)!