Self-Care doesn’t happen after everyone else’s needs are met, so tear up that old, tired self-talk script and put yourself first. No, not that you have the luxury of long stretches of “me” time, usually it’s just the opposite.
“Sometimes you only have five minutes,” says Moms Who Dare® Community Founder Jodi Silverman, certified life coach for 5 years, podcast host of “In the Nest™ with Jodi, and motivational speaker. “It was a lot harder when my children were young, but I still found mindful ways to savor the moments.”
Ideally it would be great if you could rise an hour before your adorable, persistent “Rugrats” of 2 ½, 4, and 6 bolt down the hallway and pile on top of you pleading, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, W-a-a-a-a-ke up!”
But if you can carve some me time into your morning and evening routines, then you can find some sanity in an insane time of our lives, and set up your day up for morning flow and ease into evening winddowns.
Certified Life Coach Silverman has dedicated her life to helping moms take better care of themselves, nourishing their minds, body, and spirit.
I know, it goes against the grain to consider yourself first. “I just think we’re born that way,” explains Silverman. “So, I think moms naturally shift to caregiver, you know, protector of all things. These are little extensions of ourselves. We instinctively give to others before we consider our own needs.”
Ask for what you need. The first thing she teaches moms is to ask for partner support. “Stand up and give yourself permission,” she insists, “which doesn’t make you incompetent or weak.”
“I know you’re so used to putting yourself second, third and fourth, and that’s a hard thing to break. But I think we must break the cycle. Say to your significant other, ‘Hey, you know, I need a half a day here. I need 10 minutes… I need 20 minutes.’ It’s not selfish to say, ‘You get half an hour of TV time, and I get a half an hour of reading time.’ “
She says it doesn’t make you a bad parent if you don’t entertain or take care of everybody all the time. But you must ask for help, which moms rarely feel entitled to do.
THE FIRST STEP: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT DRAWS YOU IN AND PULLS YOU OUT OF THE MORNING FLOW
TIP 1- REMOVE DISTRACTIONS AND EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS
TIP 1-REMOVE DISTRACTIONS AND EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS
IN: Plan to wake before your family does, even 15 to 30 minutes early. “So, when I get up, I usually just sit on the side of the bed for a minute, take a few deep breaths, and think, ‘Okay, it’s another day, and it’s your day.’”
OUT: Don’t say, “Alexa, snooze,” three more times to catch more Z’s. Even 10 extra minutes might help you start your day calmer and more focused.
TIP 2-WAKE UP MINDFULLY
OUT: Don’t pick up your phone before you take care of yourself. “Because if I do, suddenly, I’m hijacked by what’s happening in my email and social media.”
“Then I don’t feel as good. I’m not as calm, relaxed, and focused going into my day.” So, she uses her phone for an alarm clock.
TIP 2- DISCOVER WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD IN THE MORNING
IN: Start with a special comfort drink—cold smoothie, or hot steaming coffee, tea, or lemon water. “I find a quiet space to stop, take some deep breaths, and sip my hot lemon water,” with apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper she says to be healthier, feel better, and lose weight. “I travel with it. It makes me feel good in the morning. It’s like a pro-biotic, so good for the gut.”
OUT: Don’t use that extra time to worry about completing your to-do list. Instead, find a way to connect with and appreciate the moment.
IN: Pause to appreciate nature. “I generally walk my dog outside, get the newspaper, and take a moment to look at the sky. I love looking at the clouds. I notice that the moon is still out in the morning.”
TIP 3: BE AWARE HOW OTHERS IMPACT HOW YOU FEEL
IN: Find your tribe. “Surround yourself with people who recognize that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself,” Silverman advises. Then you can talk more openly about your challenges and share your wins, like the Moms Who Dare Community.
OUT: Don’t hang out with complainers. Try to spend more time with uplifters, less time with grumpy people.
IN: Do multiple mind-body awareness check-ins. “Mindfulness is being aware of how you’re feeling physically and mentally. My day begins by taking care of myself. If I’m not aware of how I’m feeling, then I can’t make a shift or change.”
Silverman uses best-selling author Danielle Laporte’s research-based strategy delineated in her book, “The Desire Map,” to make empowered choices and set heart-centered daily intentions by asking these leading questions to guide her process: How am I feeling? How do I want to feel today? Accomplished or excited? Rushed or calm? What do I want to put into my body? Who do I want to spend my free time with?
In her book, Laporte begins with how you choose to respond to people, places, and events, even things beyond your control. Today that might be living and working in the yellow zone during a global pandemic.
OUT: When feeling anxious, don’t convince yourself to stop feeling that way. If you say ‘I am anxious, I’m anxious. I want to get rid of this anxious feeling,’ then you will feel worse.
TIP 4: BE CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE FEELING
IN: Instead, accept and unpack your feelings. “I’m better off saying, ‘Okay, so I’m anxious. What has happened for me to feel anxious? What was I just thinking or talking about that could have caused me to feel anxious? Was I listening to something?’”
IN: Pay attention to your emotions to gain awareness of your triggers.
OUT: Meditation isn’t quieting your mind and emptying your head of all thoughts, right? “People freak out because they have to sit and think of nothing.” That’s a common misconception. Meditation is about noticing your thoughts and then coming back to center, with a breath or mantra.
IN: Meditation is when you give yourself time to sit in a quiet space, in your house or even in the car, “and I just close my eyes and breathe, even if it’s taking 10 deep breaths.The rest of the day I’m more focused, I’m feel calmer, less reactive, and clearer.”
IN: Mentally prepare for your day. “Before COVID-19, If I were meeting you for coffee or an appointment, or if I was headed to a tennis match, I would purposely get there early, park in a different part of the parking lot, and I would close my eyes and just breathe for 10 minutes and repeat a mantra. That would help me relax.”
THE NEXT STEP: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT EASES YOU IN AND PULLS YOU OUT OF EVENING WINDDOWNS
IN: Remove distractions and emotional triggers. Put your phone down. “My phone is programmed for ‘Do Not Disturb’ from 11PM-7 AM.” So, the only phone calls that can come through are from my immediate family.”
TIP 5- DISCOVER WHAT CALMS YOU IN THE EVENING
IN: Unplug from electronics. “I’ll either read a book, listen to music, or just lay there and reflect about the things that went well during the day, consider tomorrow, and take deep breaths.
IN: Curl up with Silverman’s favorite inspirational books for Moms:
IN: Use “Calm” app for sleep stories, guided meditation, inspiration, and more.
Moms don’t realize how self-care directly impacts how they respond to their family and life.
According to Silverman, Research Professor Brene’ Brown, who has studied courage, vulnerability, shame , and empathy for more than two decades, nails it when she bluntly says: ‘You need to get your shit together first before you can help anyone else. ‘ “If your goal is to be more patient and more understanding, and you’re sleep deprived and angry, well, how good can you really be?”
“I think it’s about finding the little moments and realizing they will grow to bigger more meaningful moments. So, instead of saying, ‘I just don’t have the 20 minutes.’ Ask yourself, ‘do I have five?’ Five minutes to step back and take some deep breaths can be huge over time.”
“So, I remember crawling into my closet, shutting the door, curling up in the corner clutching my timer. I could still hear ‘MOM! MOM! MOM! ‘and I yelled back: ‘I’m not answering now, I got my timer on.’”
Okay, so she admits giving yourself a time-out is not a perfect solution, “but it kept me sane!”
If you liked this article and found it useful, then please comment and share with your network. Could you take better care of yourself?
I would love to share your journey back to health and well-being!
Is your family thriving or slumping? Have you shifted from just getting through your days to finding pockets of happiness and things to be grateful for every day?
If you feel that you have an actionable tip to empower families, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can share it with this audience, and then we can lift each other up on our journey to being whole again