Self-care during every stage of life is a fight, but navigating the unknown twists and turns of keeping your children alive increases your daily stress to new levels. Self-care is vital to stress management and key to being your best and the best mother to your children.
Your time is precious, so let’s cut to the chase.
One of the most difficult things about motherhood–postpartum and beyond–is how often mothers stop caring for themselves.
If I am catching you prior to having or adopting your first child (or next child), this is for you.
If I am catching you in the throws of piles of laundry (maybe you remember if they are clean or not), wiping little noses with a Disney rerun entertaining your toddler, this is for you, too.
We strive to love others as we love ourselves. But how well can we really love those around us, if we aren’t loving ourselves well?
There is no excuse good enough to ignore your self-care.
We get it—a new life always affects the budget and the amount of available time for self-care. So let’s take some extra steps in preparing the budget and schedule to include meeting mom’s physical, emotional and mental self-care needs.
Like myself, you probably don’t even realize you’re running on fumes until you get more sleep or sneak out for a night with the girls. We know we are better humans when we prioritize self-care, so why do we always put ourselves on the back burner?
A few motivations to convince yourself to prioritize your regular self-care:
Our body, mood, actions and inactions can tell us if we are not managing our stress well. Physical, emotional and chemical stressors all play a part in our stress load.
During this season of chasing littles or night nursing, self-care may not look like getting to the gym on the regular or a spa day, but self-care can be in the little daily things we are already doing while trying to keep your children alive.
Simple modifications or additions to our daily routine might be all the time you have for self-care in your current season—and that is okay! It’s a start!
This list and the the other steps that follow are not meant to overwhelm you or bring any more guilt into your life. These are simply suggestions to improve your quality-of-life (self-care for beginners if you will) and to inspire you to be more intentional with your self-care, because you are worth it.
Once you’ve taken baby steps to include simple daily self-care, you are ready to consider more significant life changes, in order to be the best you for yourself and your family.
Again, these are meant to be suggestions. Please, do not get more overwhelmed. This is about you taking care of yourself.
Especially if you are still nursing, your water intake should equal at least half your body weight in ounces per day.
Drinking more water throughout the day is the simplest way to increase your energy and improve detoxification from daily chemicals we are all exposed to in our environment and food.
Need more reasons to increase your water intake?
Your adrenals are already in overdrive—give them a break.
Caffeine causes you to be in fight or flight mode which causes your digestion to be off and a whole host of other issues— adrenals. Drinking coffee causes your body to make HCL. HCL should only be made when the body is about to digest a meal. You can only make so much HCL this leads to a lack of digestion, especially protein digestion. What do we need protein for?
Coffee also causes stress to your kidneys thus causing your minerals to be thrown off— think zinc and magnesium. We need those!
Don’t just go switching to green tea–it blocks folate receptors in the brain.
I personally love Dandy Root and therapeutic teas as a coffee alternative.
It is easy to lean on quick fixes like sugar and alcohol when we are overwhelmed or stressed out. Instead…
Remember–food is fuel.
Your body will function its best when you fill it with the right fuel like living foods and clean protein.
Protein is the most versatile and valuable fuel you can give your body. Ideally, your body needs 100 grams of protein every day to function properly.
Reducing exposure to pesticides and other chemicals found in boxed foods starts with you—the family grocery shopper.
Adding more living foods into your diet will also improve the health of the entire family; which means less sickness, less behavioral challenges and better sleep!
Consistent sleep can be impossible at certain stages of motherhood, but making sleep a priority is essential to self-care and being your best.
Adding a magnesium supplement was a game changer for me while I was night nursing; it allowed me to fall back to sleep and not feel drowsy or cognitively delayed in the morning, like OTC sleep-aids. I still take it, after night weaning, to calm my mom-list that runs through my head before bed. Magnesium before bed and prayer have also helped me through some rough patches of depression and anxiety during motherhood.
Contrary to my own convictions, chasing a toddler from room to room is not enough exercise. As moms, we need to be more intentional about our exercise and daily activity.
Exercise is essential for eliminating stress, increasing endorphins (the happy brain chemicals) and grounding yourself (fresh eyes, fresh perspective on your situation caused by increased oxygenation in your brain).
We see it all the time—pregnant mom comes in for bi-weekly adjustments religiously throughout pregnancy, she gives birth to her beautiful bundle of joy, she brings her bundle in for their newborn exam and adjustment, but then we rarely see moms continue chiropractic care for themselves past that initial, postpartum visit.
If your body is not performing at its best, how are you supposed to care for those littles that are depending on you?
Nursing moms especially–twisting and contorting in ways you didn’t think possible to calm your baby–need to be adjusted at least bi-weekly to maintain the best possible breastfeeding relationship.
Women amid child-bearing years, need to be seen regularly by a family wellness chiropractor to maintain balance in hormones, including reproductivity.
Moms with bigger kiddos need to be careful when lifting and carrying our kids.
If you don’t have a family chiropractor and you live in the St. Louis area, our doctors at 1st Step Family Wellness are always taking new patients. If you live out of the area, you can find a family wellness chiropractor here: International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
Self-care is essential. Not only for your well-being, but for the well-being of your entire family. It may sound cliche, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. In order to love and care for others to the fullest, we must first love and care for ourselves, or we have nothing left to give. I hope you can implement some of these small changes from Part 1 of: Motherhood and the Daily Fight for Self-Care into your routine to start to work towards taking care of YOU; because you my love, are worth caring for.
Check back for Part 2 where we will cover some simple mental and emotional modifications you can make to implement better self-care. Plus, Part 2 has some awesome author recommendations to keep you inspired and thriving!