This post could really be for any mom, so don't worry if you don't identify with being highly sensitive; all moms need to have a self-care routine!
I'm writing this especially with highly sensitive moms in mind because I think, for myself at least, daily down time and self-care is almost crucial for my survival. I'm not a good mom if I'm not able to wind down in silence at least once during some part of my day. If you're wondering what makes someone highly sensitive, you can check out this questionnaire.
You might be highly sensitive if...
- Loud sounds, bright lights, coarse material, and strong smells haunt your soul
- You've got a rich, complex inner life going on
- You pick up on subtleties in your environment, like people's moods and body language
- It stresses you out to have too many things going on at once
- You find relief when you get a chance to be alone after a stimulating day
- You don't like being observed while doing a task
For me, it can seriously drain, overwhelm or irritate me if:
- I have too many activities planned
- I have to leave the house too many times in one week for said planned activities
- I'm wearing clothing that isn't soft or doesn't fit well
- I don't get a chance to tend to that inner life I've got going on in my head
- The kids have tantrums in public because I feel like all eyes are on me
- I don't get to be alone at least once a day
- The kids are being loud, even if they're happy
- TVs are on too loud
- Too many lights are on in the house
If you're a sensitive person, and a mom on top of that, I believe it's almost crucial that you get down time every day to re-set from all of these type of mom scenarios that happen pretty much daily. With kids, there is no place to escape sometimes. In order to put on your best mom face, you HAVE to take care of YOU.
Why is self-care so important?
Regular self-care is not a luxury that's only afforded to those who have time. EVERYONE has time, and if you think you're too busy to make time, your body will force you to make time later on down the road. Regular self-care doesn't have to last more than 10 minutes a day, but the benefits of taking that time and using it wisely will have enormous positive impacts for your emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health.
Benefits of regular self care:
- Daily self-care lowers your stress levels, which means a healthier body
- Declutters your mind
- Resets your emotions
- You get to know yourself
- Improves your confidence and state of mind
- Achieving inner peace
People who work out daily or several times a week will say that when they don't work out, they notice such a difference in how their bodies feel. Well that's how you'll feel after you get into the habit of taking time for yourself every day; when you go a day or two without it, you'll feel the mental and emotional clutter start to pile up.
What self-care is not
For some strange reason, there are people who hear the world "self-care" and feel like it's going to be a chore. I can hardly identify with these people because it's truly one of the highlights of my day, but self-care should not be seen as anything close to a chore.
Self-care is not...
- Doing anything you dread
- Doing anything just because you feel like it's what you're supposed to do
- An occasional, rare activity
Self-care looks different for everyone. I personally need to write in order to release my thoughts and emotions, but not everyone does. My husband needs to run and do vigorous physical activity to feel stress release, and I definitely don't enjoy either of those things!
What do you love to do?
Ideas for self-care
The possibilities are truly endless. Everyone is unique and has different tastes, desires, and goals. Here are just a few ideas for self-care activities:
- Read books you love
- Listen to music
- Create - write, paint, draw, photograph, play music, sew, carve, etc.
- Move - yoga, dance, run, walk, have sex, play a sport, lift weights, hike, climb, garden, etc.
- Reset - watch a sunrise/sunset, enjoy a cup of coffee, turn off all electronics, do a guided meditation, write down what you want, think of 10 things you're grateful for, create and repeat affirmations, etc.
- Pamper - do your nails, shave your legs, buy new makeup, do your hair, wear clothes that make you feel good, wear your favorite perfume, eat whole foods that make you feel good, exercise, fall in love with your body, go on a date with yourself, etc.
Create a sacred space
I think this is suuuuuper important for moms with young children. Our bodies and space are pretty much extensions to our children in their eyes. They usually like to be with us and on us for much of the day. Moms need a special place of their own where they can refill their well.
I shared a glimpse of my space the other day on Instagram:
I've actually been re-decorating my room to accommodate my "mommy tranquility space". For me, a tranquil space has soothing colors, soft lighting, cozy fabrics, a relaxing aroma, and peaceful sounds. And something living; I love succulents because unlike flowers, they don't die within a week and they're easy to maintain. They improve the quality of air and they bring a touch of nature to your space.
Sacred space accessories:
- Soft lighting - candles, string lights, cozy lamps
- Essential oil diffuser
- Comfy bedding
- Inspirational decor
- Meditation sounds app - I use and love this one. My settings: relaxation isochronic tone, rain on the roof, & brown noise.
- Relaxing music- Enya anyone?
Create a self-care routine
I go into this a lot more in my book Sacred Self-Care for the Highly Sensitive Mom, but in a nutshell self-care is really simple: take time out alone to do things you love doing or that help you re-center. You can spend 10 effective minutes re-centering, a few hours, or any amount of time in between.
What you do during this time is what will make the difference or not: sometimes it's nice to just veg out and scroll through our phones or binge watch tv, but in order to really connect with yourself and see a difference in your emotions and life, I think it's really important to do some type of activity that helps you let go of stress, rather than just ignore it.
Some suggestions for making the most of your self-care time:
- Pick a time of the day that works best for you with where you are in motherhood (life with a young baby looks different than life with a preschooler who sleeps through the night, etc). My kids wake up early and I'm also a night owl, so mornings don't work for me. I do my self-care time at night after my kids are in bed.
- Turn off electronics and notifications
- Work on yourself: read books that help you grow. I've been doing this workbook every few nights and it has been truly transformative.
- Guided meditations are amazing: I love guided meditations because our minds and bodies don't know the difference between our current reality and the one we're imagining in our heads. You can get instant relief and peace from a guided meditation. This one is one of my favorites. Not to mention, by following the steps in this meditation, you will begin to see changes in your life, which is the most awesome part about it.
Don't stress out over what you should do, just allow yourself to be drawn to whatever grabs your attention. If you don't like doing something, don't do it. Once you spend enough time with yourself, you will begin noticing what you're drawn to. Start with what you most need in life. If you don't know what you want, write down what you don't want, and then the opposite of that. Pick a starting point, and then follow the crumbs on that delicious trail.
I created this 2-page Self-Care 101 quick reference for you to keep. I share on there my own nightly self-care routine to give you an idea of how I spend that time!
Do you have a self-care routine? I'd love to hear about it!