Stop feeling guilty about taking time for yourself.
Self care does not make you selfish. That way of thinking is one of the biggest reasons why moms don’t have a proper self care routine. We are selfless people who live to serve others. But taking some time for ourselves doesn’t mean that we are taking time away from others. When it comes to self care, just like most things in life, it’s about trying to find the right balance.
Here are a few of the many reasons why self care does not make you selfish.
You Deserve It
You’re not an unemployed slob living in your parents basement. You’re a grown adult with real responsibilities. And you take care of those responsibilities every single day, whether you want to or not. Being a mother is a tough job and there are so many days you won’t want to do it at all. But you do. And for that, you deserve a break every now and then. Even well paid employees get a mandated set of breaks, so why not a hardworking mom? Self care does not make you selfish because you’ve earned it.
You Need It
Self care isn’t always a spa day or a solo vacation. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Self care can be as simple as taking a long, hot, undisturbed shower or an afternoon nap. It can also be more long term such as taking a course or joining a gym. But it’s not selfish because it’s something you need to do to improve yourself. It’s especially necessary for healing from a physical or mental illness. Self care does not make you selfish because you need it in order to survive.
You Are Important
The way we treat ourselves says a lot about how we feel about ourselves. If you want to be seen as important and respected, then you need to treat yourself that way. Making yourself a priority tells everyone around you that you matter. But it’s more than just your physical appearance. Meditation, self help books and positive affirmations can help to boost your confidence and thought process. Reading, writing, doing puzzles, painting, crafts or games improves brain functions, making you smarter. Self care does not make you selfish because you are worthy of just as much attention as everyone else.
You Are In Charge Of Yourself
A long time ago, you depended on someone else to take care of you. As you grew older, that task was handed over to you. You learned how to bathe, feed and dress yourself and you learned how to shop, cook and clean up after yourself. You learned how to take care of you. And then you became a mother and the task of having to take care of someone else came into the picture. It’s hard to juggle taking care of kids and yourself at the same time. You can find someone to help you take care of the kids, but you will always be responsible for taking care of yourself. Self care does not make you selfish because you are the only person who can take care of you.
You Are An Example
Now that you are a mother, everything you do is an example to your children. They learn by watching you. So when you take time for yourself, they learn that you are important in your own right, and not just their snack slave. They learn that it’s necessary to take care of yourself and to do things that make you happy. This is an important lesson for your children to learn. If they don’t appreciate it while they’re young, they’ll look back on their childhood when they are parents themselves and realize the importance of self care. Self care does not make you selfish so raise a generation of humans who understand that.
If you think about it, the “athleisure” fashion trend is not a new idea.
Athleisure is the fashion trend that supports wearing athletic clothing for purposes other than athletics. And while the term might be new, it’s been around for a lot longer than you think. In the 90’s for example, sporting a classic striped Adidas track suit was the hottest trend, whether or not you were a professional athlete.
But wearing baggy track suits wasn’t the most fashionable option. Athletic wear evolved over time and soon it was the famous Lululemon yoga pants that everyone was spotted in. And it was moms, in particular, who got a bad rap for wearing yoga pants 24/7.
There’s a reason why athleisure is so popular, especially among moms. We collaborated with Grit & Zest, a leader in athleisure style clothing for women, to find out more about this comfortable and fashionable style trend.
Motherhood is an Extreme Sport
When we talk about athletic wear for moms, it actually makes perfect sense because taking care of kids is not that different from a full body workout. We get pulled and pushed in different directions, and there’s a lot of lifting and bending and squatting. We need clothing that’s going to move with us and allow us to feel comfortable while we’re chasing after kids at the playground (or the grocery store).
The good news is that we don’t need to look like a frumpy hot mess in order to be comfortable. Athleisure style clothing lines, like the one from Grit & Zest, give us the option to look fashionable and put together, while still being comfortable and able to move freely.
The Little Black Legging
Black leggings or yoga pants are something that are a staple in every mom’s wardrobe. They’re versatile, comfortable and can be styled so many different ways. The black leggings from Grit & Zest are not like your average, every-day leggings. They’re made with high-tech materials, so they’re durable and heavy duty. Since they’re designed for athletics, they wick away sweat and dry fast, which comes in handy when your kid spills their drink on your lap.
Most importantly, they have a high waist which all moms know is important for added support after growing babies. The seams don’t rub or irritate in annoying sensitive spots so they’d be great to wear postpartum or after abdominal surgery. Make sure to pack a pair in your hospital bag!
A Fashionable Sports Bra
Sports bras aren’t just designed for function anymore, they’re fashionable too. You can feel confident wearing just a sports bra as a top on those hot summer days. Paired with the high-waisted black legging, you’ll look trendy and fashionable while still feeling cool and comfy. If you’re not comfortable wearing the sports bra alone, wear a button up shirt over top but leave the bra visible because there’s no sense in hiding that cute style.
A Versatile Tank Top
A mom’s wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without a comfortable tank top. Black is the most versatile but different colors can make you stand out without too much effort. The Grit & Zest Circle Tanks come in a variety of colors and are also made with quality materials. The mesh panel is completely on trend right now and gives you a chance to show off a little bit of that fancy sports bra, while still offering full coverage.
This tank top is longer in length but it has slits on both sides so that you can move around easily and not feel restricted. It’s also a loose fitting tank which is rare to find in athletic wear. But it still has all the stretch and moisture-wicking properties of any other athletic tank top.
Mix it Up
My favorite thing about athleisure style is the versatility of it. You don’t have to wear a full athletic outfit, instead try to mix and match certain pieces. Leggings with a blouse, a sports bra under a low cut dress or an athletic tank top with jeans can take your outfit to the next level.
No matter what combination you can come up with, I can guarantee that you’ll feel more comfortable. And being comfortable will make you feel more confident. And confidence is beautiful and so important for your mental health. Head over to Grit & Zest and check out their full line of athleisure wear and the incredible reasons they do what they do.
Life has a habit of surprising us and even when things are floating along nicely, there’s always a chance of a bolt from the blue upsetting our mental health. The unpredictability of life is what makes our existence precious and exciting, but not knowing what the future holds can also trigger anxiety. When a curveball does come out of nowhere, how do you react?
Many of us switch to autopilot, but our responses and instincts aren’t always beneficial for our mental health and well being. If you’re going through a tough time, here’s a guide to some of the most common causes of stress and distress and some tips to help you put your mental health first.
The relationships we have with other people can make or break us. Being with a single person or having a group of friends can make us feel ecstatically happy, but there’s also a risk of coming into contact with people who don’t have a positive influence. At some point, the majority of people will decide to break up with a partner or let a friendship slip away because that relationship isn’t making them happy.
Spending time with friends and your partner should lift you up, make you feel safe, secure, content and give you hope for the future. If you question your own worth at any point, feel like you can’t be yourself around another person or wake up every morning wondering if you’re making the right decision, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationships.
If you’ve been with a partner for a long time, you’re married or you have children together, it can be incredibly tough to make the decision to separate. You probably envisioned spending the rest of your lives together and the thought of being alone is scary.
If you have decided to break up with a long-term partner, and there are legalities involved, make sure you get the advice and support you need from a legal firm that specializes in family law. It’s very common to have questions about the processes that are involved. An experienced legal team will fight in your corner and give you the information you need to understand what the next few months will entail and what rights you have.
In addition to seeking professional advice, it’s also critical to take advantage of emotional support. At this time, you might be hurting and feeling very low. Reach out to close friends and family members, talk to a therapist or a charity helpline if you’d rather speak to somebody you don’t know. Remember to take good care of yourself. Spend time with people you trust that make you feel good about yourself. There is no universal guide to healing after a breakup, so don’t put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to others.
The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult hurdles human beings have to overcome. We spend our lives building families and groups of friends and to lose somebody that you love can cause immeasurable pain. One important thing to remember when you’re dealing with bereavement is that everyone is different. People cope with grief in very different ways and there is no cookie-cutter mold that you have to fit into.
In the early days, it’s common to feel numb and to try and fill your time, often doing tasks that really don’t need to be done. Most of us like to try and keep busy purely so that our minds aren’t occupied by thoughts of that person and feelings of sadness and despair.
When you feel able to open up, talking is hugely beneficial. It can be dangerous to keep your emotions bottled up. Don’t be afraid to cry and don’t feel that you have to be strong for others. You might not want to sob in front of your kids, but make sure you have an outlet for your feelings. If this means going to the bathroom for 5 minutes to take time out or making a call to a friend so that you can let it all out, this is what you should do.
They say that time is a healer and to some extent, it is. The problem is that time can also make others forget. When you first lose a loved one, you may find that you’re inundated with flowers, cards, and messages. As time passes, the texts and calls to see how you are dry up as people get on with their lives. This can be very difficult to take.
To help you cope and to make the grieving process more tolerable, don’t be afraid to lean on others and to seek advice. Many people find it helpful to go to group support sessions and to talk to a counselor about their feelings. You might also find that creative activities enable you to express your emotions. Exercise, especially activities that are designed to clear your mind and promote relaxation like yoga, help you sleep if you’re struggling with insomnia.
Unemployment and money worries
If you lose your job or you’re worried about debt, money problems can consume you and contribute to intense anxiety. If you’re trying to raise kids, run a household and keep a roof over your head, it can be very difficult to tackle debt, especially if you’ve lost your job. If money worries are getting you down, and you’re facing an uncertain future, for which you weren’t prepared, there is help out there.
Often, when bad news comes out of the blue, the easiest path to take is to bury your head in the sand and hope that everything blows over. In reality, the longer you ignore debt, the more serious the situation becomes. If you’re unemployed, money issues may be temporary, and finding another job could provide a solution.
If the scenario is more grave, the sooner you seek professional advice, the better. You don’t want to be panicking every time your phone rings or there’s a knock at the door. If you’re chasing your tail and can’t pay your bills, a financial adviser or a debt charity can help you out. There are paths you can take and there may be simple solutions that could save you a huge amount of stress.
Anxiety can really take its toll on your physical health, as well as your mental wellbeing. If you are anxious all the time, and you’re finding it tough to relax and stay calm, there are self-help techniques you can try. It’s also beneficial to talk about how you feel and to ask for help. Often, we make assumptions that people won’t want to be burdened by our issues but that’s usually not the case. You might find that your family and friends are more than willing to support you.
Life is never plain sailing, and most of us have to deal with challenges and obstacles that seem to come from nowhere. If you’re going through a tough time your health might suffer, and this is why it’s crucial to try and look after yourself as best you can. Focus on getting through each day, maintain a positive mindset and accept that some days will be harder than others.
Art therapy is something entirely different than craft time with the kids.
If you’re like me, then supervising a craft with the kids normally consists of a lot of mess and frustration. But ultimately, they LOVE doing it, and that’s why we put up with it. Kids are happiest when they have a chance to be creative, get messy and use their imaginations. And it’s time that moms take a lesson from the kids.
Art therapy is a form of therapy which incorporates the visual arts such as painting, drawing, sculpting and so much more. Formal art therapy is done with a licensed therapist who would guide you through the process and help you to open up suppressed feelings and emotions.
But you don’t need a professional to reap the benefits of art therapy. Simply picking up a paintbrush and letting your imagination go wild can be one of the best forms of self care.
Here are some of the benefits of art therapy.
Putting a paintbrush to canvas is a great way to relieve stress and tension. Create something abstract by using big, bold strokes and don’t worry about making a mess or staying in the lines. You can even go so far as to use your fingers, hands or even your feet to create art. Involve your entire body in your movements and let the stress melt away.
Meticulous movements also have a way of releasing stress and tension. When life feels hectic and out of control, keeping within the fine lines of a paint by numbers canvas or detailed coloring book can give us a sense of empowerment and control.
The ability to create something beautiful gives us a confidence boost like no other. Plus, successfully completing a project does wonders for our mental health. It makes us feel capable and proud and as though we can tackle anything.
While some art forms take years of practice to master, beginners can still create masterpieces. A paint by numbers canvas is a great option for the beginner artist who wants to create something that looks professional but lacks the skills. The fine details are a great way to relieve stress and taking some time each day to work on it can easily be fit into your self care routine.
Distracts the Mind
Activities that distract the mind are great for those who are suffering from anxiety or depression. Similar to watching television, playing a video game or listening to music, art therapy focuses our minds on something other than negative or intrusive thoughts. This is a welcome distraction before bedtime if you’re battling insomnia or on especially bad mental health days.
Opens up Emotions
Formal art therapy is used to help patients open up suppressed emotions or memories that they need to deal with. So it’s no surprise that allowing ourselves to open up our creative side also lets out a flood of emotions. When you feel sad or angry, worried or stressed, try expressing those emotions using an art form such as painting or drawing. Doing something creative can actually increase our dopamine levels, which makes us feel happier.
Express Yourself Without Words
Unless you’re an accomplished writer, words are often a difficult medium for expressing yourself. When we feel something, we picture it in our heads and then try to describe that picture to someone else. Instead of simply describing it, draw or paint it out. Close your eyes and imagine it. If it was in a dream, then do it as soon as you wake up so you don’t forget.
This is a great art therapy practice for those suffering from scary and intrusive thoughts who might be too afraid to explain them out loud. It’s up to you whether or not you want to show it to someone, but getting it out of your head and onto paper or canvas can help you release them and feel better.
Taps into the Subconscious
The thoughts and images in our subconscious have a strong effect on our conscious minds. Most people seek therapy in order to tap into that subconscious mind to find out what is hidden in there. Art therapy can work in the same way.
Try splattering some paint on canvas or scribbling something with a pencil and then imagining what you see in it. Create something without thinking too hard about what it is and watch what happens. Our subconscious minds can leave us clues through another medium such as art.
Art therapy is not for everyone, but those looking for an outlet for stress or anger should definitely give it a try. Find a peaceful location and allow yourself enough time to access your creative side. You can even try a group art therapy class which will encourage you to socialize with others. A family or friends paint night can have a similar effect. And most importantly, whatever you create, show it off. Hang it up in your home, sell it on Etsy or share pictures online. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and who knows, it might be worth something one day…
It can be simple to incorporate self care each day of the week, as long as you have a plan.
As a parent, the days are long and filled with taking care of the needs of everyone else but ourselves. We hear all this talk about self care but it sounds overwhelming, time consuming and impossible. It’s easy to start but hard to keep it up.
So try to set a simple self care goal each day of the week. Here’s a sample plan for self care that will help you take care of your body’s physical and mental needs, without requiring a lot of commitment.
Try these 7 days of self care this week, plus download a printable tracker so that you can keep up with it!
Monday: Move Your Body
No one likes Mondays. The weekend is over, everyone is groggy and the boring, mundane tasks begin all over again. You’re going to need to pump up your energy levels in order to make it through the rest of the week. Coffee can only do so much.
So today, make an effort to move your body in some way.
Clear a spot on the living room floor and do some simple stretches. Yoga is an excellent way to move your body, and there are so many different benefits of yoga! Dance to at least one entire song. Plank for 30 seconds. Do some crunches or lunges or jumping jacks. Go for a walk around the block or ride your bike.
It doesn’t have to be a full workout, just move your body! Exercise is a great form of self care and will boost your mood for the rest of the day, if not the week.
Tuesday: Take an Epic Shower
You’ll probably need to shower several times throughout the week and if you’re a busy mom like me then they’re probably really quick and you’re listening for a kid the entire time. But hey, that’s motherhood, what can you do?
Reserve some time today to take one, epic, glorious shower.
Pick a time when someone else is watching the kids (TV shows and iPads count) even if it means you need to get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Crank up the hot water and USE ALL THE PRODUCTS! Mask your face, deep condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturize and shave your entire leg and not just the bottom 1/4 that shows when you’re not wearing socks.
The rest of the week may go by in a blur and you won’t have this chance again, so make it count. A hot shower and some pampering can do wonders for your mood, mental health and skin!
Wednesday: Clean out ONE closet
…or drawer, or cupboard or room. But be careful not to get carried away with this one. I don’t know about you but I have several closets and drawers filled with all kinds of junk. And I know that moving junk from one closet means I’ll throw it into another closet full of junk and then feel obligated to clean that one out too.
You only get to do ONE.
Next week, you can tackle on another one. Start small, like that junk drawer in the kitchen or the cupboard underneath your bathroom sink. You can make a list of all the areas you want to tackle and scratch one off each week.
You might not think of this one as self care but I promise you will find mental clarity and a sense of peace once it’s done. These areas are always at the back of our minds, and the longer we procrastinate them, the more unproductive and lazy we feel. This sense of unaccomplishment can affect our self image and confidence. It’s amazing how proud we can feel just by cleaning out ONE closet.
Thursday: Get Creative
Tapping into your inner creativity is a great way to boost your mood and help keep your mind sharp. If you don’t think of yourself as a creative person, then maybe you just haven’t found your strength yet. Creativity comes in so many different forms.
Today, use your skills to create something.
You can do some type of craft, paint, color or draw a picture. Try starting a longer term project like a paint by numbers kit. Make something out of salt-dough or paper. Knit, sew, crochet or string some beads into jewelry. Bake something delicious or try a new recipe.
Kids love to be involved in these kinds of activities, but moms are often busy cleaning up spills and helping with supplies. This time, make sure that you sit down, embrace the mess and get your hands dirty. Week after week, you’ll find that your skills will improve, and your mind will be beaming with possibilities.
Fridays aren’t the same as they used to be before kids. Friday nights were something to look forward to, and we’d be checking in with all our friends to find out where the party was at. They’re not nearly as exciting anymore but that doesn’t mean we have to stop socializing.
Make it a point to socialize with a friend in some way today.
Get dressed up, do your hair and makeup and head out for a girl’s night, or date night. Invite a fellow mom over for a play date, or have a sweat pants and taco night in with your bestie. If that all sounds too exhausting then just call up a friend and chat.
Our social connection needs to be expanded beyond Facebook and Instagram. Our mental health suffers when we keep ourselves locked away from the outside world. We need to see other people and have real, human connections. It’s good for our mood to hear another person’s voice and feel their touch. Laughing with friends is like group self-care!
Saturday: Go Outdoors
Finally the weekend is here! What better day than a Saturday afternoon to spend some time outdoors? Weekends tend to be busy for young families, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in some fresh air time.
At some point today, do an outdoor activity.
This could be as simple as sipping your morning coffee on the patio. Or you could plan this day in advance and head out on a camping trip or hike. Be spontaneous and take the kids for a picnic at the park. Yard work and gardening are great ways to be productive outdoors. Even if the weather is cold, bundle yourself up and spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outdoors in the fresh air.
Being outdoors is considered ecotherapy and it has amazing mood boosting benefits for everyone. You should try to spend some time outside every single day. And we’re talking about self care, so relax while you’re out there. Don’t feel obligated to do something strenuous or physical. Napping outdoors is amazing, just make sure you’re in the shade.
At the end of a long and busy week (or beginning of one, depending on how you look at it) there is one thing that is essential to mental health and self care. You need to get some proper sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the most dangerous factors when it comes to mental health, so don’t ever underestimate it.
Make sure to get in some extra sleep today.
You can sleep in, take an afternoon nap or go to bed early. Try your best to work your sleep schedule around whatever else you have going on today, but make it a priority. If you’re struggling with insomnia, there are things you can do to help you sleep better. Use a weighted blanket or try diffusing some essential oils while you sleep.
You’re going to need to keep your strength up to get through another week of motherhood and if you’re running on fumes, you won’t do any good. Sleep is so incredibly important for maintaining our mental health, especially for moms suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety. Sleeping in is not a luxury or reserved only for Mother’s Day – it’s a necessity!
Practicing self care during pregnancy can benefit moms as well as their growing babies.
Expectant mothers have a lot on their minds, in addition to making it through the discomforts and excitement of pregnancy. These pregnancy self care tips are something all moms can try in order to ease symptoms of prenatal depression, anxiety, stress and to ensure a healthy 9 months for both mom and baby.
Pregnancy is a time of massive change in a woman’s life, and becoming a mom brings the most significant life transformation ever. Society tells us that pregnancy is a magical time, and while this is true, it is also a time of many other emotions too.
Many women can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of their impending arrival and may feel anxious about what they will experience as life as a parent. With such a life-changing moment just around the corner, it can help to put some self-care habits into place to help you feel as prepared as possible for your new baby’s arrival, and to make the rest of your pregnancy as relaxed as it can be. As soon as you find out that you are expecting, subscribe for monthly Bump Boxes to make your pregnancy go smoothly.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is of course always important, but doing so in pregnancy can feel like a challenge if you are suffering from morning sickness, or worse still, hyperemesis gravidarum. Trying to eat a diet which is as healthy as it can be is not only a great way to keep yourself feeling good but could also keep your baby healthier in the future too.
According to the Early Life Nutrition Coalition, the First 1000 Days are a crucial time, where your diet can impact on the chances of your child becoming obese in the future, and can also affect them having allergies.
What you eat at the preconception stage and throughout pregnancy is worth considering carefully to get your child off to the best start in life.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to use in life in general but can come in especially handy during pregnancy and your life as a parent. Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment and letting your thoughts come and go. With regular practice, mindfulness becomes second nature for use at times of anxiety and stress.
Keeping calm, and practicing mindfulness should help you from worrying about future scenarios, and past events, enabling you to focus on the here and now, and yourself and your baby.
During pregnancy, you will probably need to change your existing exercise routine if it could be unsafe to follow during your pregnancy. Although you may have to put your usual routine on hold for a little while, you can try out some completely different activities instead, which will provide you with some gentle exercise.
Pregnancy yoga is a popular choice of exercise, which is no surprise as it offers many reputed benefits. Pregnancy yoga enables you to focus on your growing baby without all the interruptions of everyday life to disturb you. Your yoga session should fit well with your mindfulness practice, meaning that you can relax and exercise all at the same time, which should leave you feeling much calmer after the session. Joining a pregnancy yoga class is also great for making friends with other local expectant moms, and if you keep in touch, your baby will have a ready-made friendship group as soon as they are born!
All women experience pregnancy differently but one thing remains the same. It’s a time to prepare for the changes ahead. Once baby arrives, life will become significantly different. Taking the time to focus on yourself now, means that baby will also benefit from your peaceful state. Using some of these pregnancy self care tips will give you a head start for maintaining your self care routine once you’re juggling the demands of a newborn baby.
Moms need to enjoy summer vacation as much as the kids do, which means that we need to feel comfortable.
Our mom bodies have changed and grown and it can be hard to find the right style that fits us. It’s easy enough to hide that extra baby weight under heavy sweaters all winter long but hot weather means that it’s time to show off a little skin. We love all the new summer fashion trends, but are they comfortable enough to chase the kids around?
Thankfully, our resident fashionista, Jess, is here with a little advice for moms. Here are a few of her favorite summer fashion trends that any mom can try out this summer and still feel beautiful, comfortable and beat the heat!
It seems like in an instant the weather changes from warm to HOT and then all of a sudden, if you are like me, you panic! Wait… what summer clothes do I have from last year that I still want to wear? And what trends do I want to try this year?
I put together this post to inspire you to try something new. I am constantly inspired my so many people and so many Pinterest boards, but these 5 have been my favorites for the season so far. Definitely give one or all of these summer fashion trends a try!
There are so many different styles out there right now, but I am partial to the athletic slide. This one from J/Slides on Zulily is affordable Nike, Adidas and other athletic brands also have their own versions.
2. The Midi Dress
This style has been on my radar for awhile now but since I am a short 5’2″ I was always afraid to jump into this summer fashion trend. However, with the right style tricks, you can rock this look like a pro no matter what your height is.
Reasons I love this trend:
It makes #momlife more comfortable.I hate when I am wearing a short dress and playing with my kids but I can’t stop worrying about my butt hanging out.
You can wear them with cute sneakers or instantly dress it up with a wedge.
I actually used to tie a knot on the bottom of my maxi dresses because I preferred the length and the fact that you could see my shoes better. Little did I know that I was just missing the midi from my life!
If you are unsure about the midi, here are 3 easy style tips:
The length is important.Ideally, you want the dress to hit just past your knee, but above where the “juicy” part of your calf is. Or you want it just past the biggest part of your calf, a few inches above your ankle. Basically, you want to avoid the dress hem cutting into your calf for the most flattering fit.
Avoid wearing shoes that have a strap around the ankle.This will just make your legs appear longer without cutting it off visually.
Wear heels or a wedge.There is something about feeling taller that makes us stand straighter and feel more confident. Now, if you are like me, heels are saved for a special occasion. I rarely wear them anymore these days, because… kids. But a block heel sandal or lower wedge is more comfortable and looks great with a midi!
I’ve talked about this one before because it’s not just a summer fashion trend, it’s a year-round one. We might all own a few “work out” clothes that we may or may not use to actually work out. And there’s a good reason we have them, because they are SO comfortable. How do we get away with wearing yoga pants everyday, and not looking frumpy?
Take some inspiration from Grit & Zest, who specialize in athleisure style clothing for women. Read more about exactly what “athleisure” means and how these pieces can do double duty in your wardrobe. This season, put those pieces to work and break down the barriers of casual only or work out only wear.
4. Bike Shorts
I’m aging myself here but I remember wearing these in the 90’s, in the spandex variety, with a bright neon stripe on the side and an oversized Looney Tunes tee shirt.
Let me tell you something… THERE IS NO GOING BACK.
Bike shorts are the summer version of leggings! They are versatile, comfortable, perfect for playing with the kids, lightweight, basically The Best. Thing. Ever.
How do you wear them and not look ridiculous?
Dig in your husbands closet and “borrow” an oversized t-shirt(roll the sleeves for a more fashionable take)
Wear them with any tank top.Longer, shorter, cropped, fitted or flowy, you can’t go wrong.
Wear them with any of the shoe options mentioned above for a perfect every day look.
Wear it dressy.Yes, bike shorts, with a blouse and longer blazer, pair with heels and voila! Perfection!
Layer.One of my favorite fashion tools. Layer on your tanktop, a denim shirt, or a flannel shirt, an oversized cardigan or a kimono.
If you are hesitant about this summer fashion trend, basically put on any outfit you normally would wear with black leggings and sub it out with a bermuda length bike short(bonus is that they are so inexpensive!)
If there is ONE piece I couldn’t live without in summer, it is a great printed kimono! They are the easiest way to make an outfit. It’s lighter than a sweater so you can stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest of days. Pack light for your summer vacation this year because this versatile piece can be worn so many different ways.
Four different ways to wear it:
Over a tank top and jeans/jean shorts
As a bathing suit cover up
Over a little black dress
Belted and worn as a top
The Final Touch
Complete any of these looks with the perfect piece of jewelry. Avoid heavy, layered chains this summer and opt for something light and minimal like this circle initial necklace from Sincerely Silver. Wear it over a plain tank top and you instantly elevate your look while still feeling comfortable. Use the code SINCERELY15 to get 15% off your perfect summer necklace!
Summer is hard on a lot of women, moms or not, we tend to feel self conscious. But when it’s hot outside, there is absolutely NO reason that we should have to hide or cover up. Wear the shorts. Put on your bathing suit. Find pieces that make you feel AMAZING! These are just my own personal spin on some fun summer fashion trends, and they should be just that, FUN!
Being outdoors has several incredible benefits for moms, but it’s not always easy to do. Trying to juggle kids, plus housework – it’s not uncommon for a stay at home mom’s outdoor exposure to be limited to an open window. And when we do get outside, it’s usually to chase after the kids or do more work outdoors. Some of these self care ideas can help moms get outdoors with the sole intention of rest and relaxation.
Try one of these outdoor self care ideas this summer!
1. Go for a walk or run around the block
One of the easiest outdoor self care ideas is to go for a walk or jog around your own neighborhood. It doesn’t cost anything, require any scheduling or take up much time. Whether you’re in the mood for a marathon run or just a leisurely stroll – your own neighborhood is the best place to start!
2. Pump your legs on a playground swing
Moms always seem to get the boring jobs at playgrounds. We stand at the bottom of slides, push our kids on the swings and hold their legs as they attempt to make their way across the monkey bars. Instead of being a playground servant – free your inner child and go for a swing or a slide!
3. Visit an outdoor spa
Outdoor spas are becoming more and more popular these days. The benefits of fresh air and nature are unmatched by anything else. Check out a Scandinavian-style spa, a hot spring, or soak in an outdoor hot tub.
Nothing says relaxation quite like napping in a hammock on a hot summer day. The gentle swaying motion is sure to lull you into a relaxed state, just like a baby in a cradle. Plus, the light summer breeze and sunshine on your face provides the perfect atmosphere.
6. Spend some time gardening
Another excellent self care idea is to start a backyard garden. Digging your bare hands or feet into the soil is actually good for your mental health, as soil contains a special bacteria that works like a natural antidepressant. Caring for a garden is sure to get you outdoors all summer long and at the end of the season, you’ll have a healthy batch of crops to show for it!
7. Go for a bike ride
Park the minivan and go for a bike ride instead. It’s not a practical form of transportation for everyday life, but going for a bike ride regularly has it’s benefits. Biking improves your physical health and can be an enjoyable form of self care, either alone or with the whole family.
8. Enjoy a picnic in the park
Another simple activity to get you outdoors is to eat one of your meals picnic-style. You can go to a park or eat in your own backyard. Spread a picnic blanket or gather around an outdoor table. Go out on your own, with your spouse or as an entire family… the kids will love it just as much as you will.
9. Shop a local farmers market
Local farmers markets sell much more than just fruit and vegetables these days. You can find all kinds of organic, locally made things like health and beauty products, jewelry, clothing and so much more! Not only is it wonderful to support local businesses, but you’ll get your hands on food and products that are so much better for your health.
10. Camp out for a night or two
Camping is not for everyone. In fact, most mothers with small children will swear that it’s more work than anything else. Even “glamping“ has it’s pitfalls. But if it’s something you’re open to – definitely give it a try! Or just set up a tent in your backyard and listen to the relaxing night sounds as you sleep.
11. Pick some wildflowers
Fresh flowers have a way of brightening up anyone’s home. One of the simplest self care ideas is to pick some yourself. Obviously, don’t invade your neighbor’s prize tulips, but anyone with a lilac bush will surely be glad to let you help trim it back. Fields and parks are usually full of all kinds of wildflowers. Or sprinkle some wildflower seeds in your yard this spring and have an abundant supply all summer long.
12. Go for a boat ride
Being on the water in a middle of a lake is a wonderful way to help clear your mind. You can literally get away from it all. Choose a hot day because there’s nothing quite like the breeze off the water. But beware, the rocking motion of a boat can be soothing for some – not so much for others.
13. Volunteer to walk a dog from a pet shelter
If you don’t have your own furry friend to take along with you on walks, then check out if your local pet shelter needs volunteers. The dogs there are always in need of some extra love and you can both benefit from spending some time together.
14. Paint your nails
What’s the most annoying thing about painting your nails? Waiting for them to dry. Use that as an excuse to get outside and stay outside. Paint your nails and then relax in a lounge chair without any need to get up. You can even try a face mask, soak your feet or exfoliate your skin outdoors. Take the pampering outdoors, I promise you wont regret it.
15. Swim or float in a lake or outdoor pool
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise and perfect for hot summer days. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, then blow up an inflatable tube and float around on the water without a care.
16. Build a bird house, bat house or bee hive
Sometimes stress and frustration can build up and come out in undesirable ways. Finding a creative outlet for all those pent up emotions is a great form of self care. Try building your own bird house or bat house for your yard. Not only will you be doing nature a favor, but you can help control the pesky mosquito population. If you have a garden, making your own bee hive can increase your crop production!
17. Spend a night star gazing
If it’s a clear night outside, lay down a blanket and watch the stars. Head outside the city and away from the street lights for a better view. Star gazing is a great form of stress and anxiety relief and can remind you of just how small your problems are in this giant world.
18. Sit on the beach
A beach day is one of my favorite self care ideas. Get out your lounge chair or blanket, a beach umbrella and some sunglasses and relax in the sand. Dig your feet into the wet sand to exfoliate and massage them. Cool yourself off in the water. Listen to the sounds of the waves, the seagulls and the children playing.
19. Visit a greenhouse or garden center
Greenhouses are fantastic places to look for inspiration for your own backyard. From plants and flowers to water features and deck ideas, you can create your own back yard self care sanctuary. Focusing on an outdoor project can help keep your mind sharp and distracted in a good way.
20. Have a bonfire
Sitting around a bonfire is an excellent stress reliever. The smell of the wood, and crackling of the flames is a feast for the senses. Roast marshmallows or hot dogs if you want to. It’s a nice treat anytime of the day, not just for nights at the cabin.
21. Visit a farm
Spending time with animals is great for our mental health and considered a form of ecotherapy. There are usually lots of local farms that open up to visitors. You can pet animals, ride horses, climb up hay bales, milk a cow or collect eggs from the hen house.
22. Watch the sunrise
While I would never deliberately encourage a mom to lose out on sleep – getting up early to watch the sunrise can be totally worth it. The way the sunlight moves slowly over everything is breathtaking. You can meditate, do yoga or just sip some hot coffee. It’s an amazing way to start the day.
23. Do some fruit picking
Spend the day at an orchard or strawberry farm. Not only will you get to experience the beauty of it all, but you’ll get to go home with some fresh, organic fruit as a result.
24. Take nature pictures
Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a selfie queen, nature provides an endless supply of photo ops. Try taking pictures of the birds, the trees or a sunset. If you get a really good shot, have it printed and framed and you’ve just created a free piece of art for your walls.
25. Dance in the rain
Getting outdoors isn’t reserved just for the hot summer days. Even rain storms can be beautiful. The next time it rains, don’t run and hide. Ditch the umbrella, kick off your shoes and dance in the rain. Embrace it and let all your cares wash away.
Ecotherapy is the act of using the healing benefits of nature to improve our mental health.
Sometimes referred to “nature therapy” or “green therapy,”ecotherapy has several amazing benefits for moms. In our modern, industrialized world, we spend so much more time indoors than we do outside in nature, and it’s starting to have a tangible effect on our mental health.
Ecotherapy is a broad term used to describe all kinds of outdoor activities that have health benefits. These can include everything from the simple act of sitting outdoors in the sunshine to hiking and mountain climbing. With benefits for the entire family, it’s a great way for moms to spend time with the kids as well as take care of themselves.
Here are some ways that moms can benefit from some of the various forms of ecotherapy.
1. Fresh Air
The obvious benefit of getting outdoors is simply to enjoy the fresh air. Inhaling fresh air, as opposed to the circulated, stale indoor air, is a great way to clear our minds and bodies. A little bit of fresh air everyday can help ward off headaches and congestion, and is great for our overall health. For those who live in crowded, busy cities, it’s worth it to get out to the country side every once in a while for a decent dose of fresh air. It’s something that far too many of us take for granted.
Warm sunshine is another building block of ecotherapy. Exposure to sun can top off our vitamin D levels, which is super important for maintaining our serotonin levels and avoiding seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D is also important in calcium absorption, can lower your blood pressure and even help you lose weight! But make sure to protect your skin while outside, the sun’s power is both great and dangerous.
3. Physical Activity
Ecotherapy works because being outdoors has a way of inspiring us to explore, run and play. When it’s a beautiful day out, we don’t want to waste it by staying inside watching television. Just walking outdoors for an hour each day is enough to boost our moods and help us to live healthier lives. Often, the elements of nature can encourage us to take up more extreme forms of physical activity, such as hiking, biking, swimming or mountain climbing. The opportunities to get our heart pumping and work up a sweat while out in nature are endless.
4. Stimulates The Senses
It’s rare to find a form of therapy that can stimulate all of our senses at once. But ecotherapy does just that. When we’re out in nature, we feel the sun’s warmth, the delicate tickle of green grass on our toes or a light breeze against our skin. We smell the fresh air, flowers, earth and the wood of the trees. We hear birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind and the gentle trickling of water. We see flowers and landscapes in all different colors and shapes. We taste sweet berries or fruit freshly picked from the trees. Simply being outdoors is a feast for the senses.
5. Spending Time With Animals
Ecotherapy also includes spending time with animals and experiencing the benefits of some of nature’s greatest gifts.Spending time with animals can help to reduce our stress levels and boost our moods. You don’t need to have your own pet in order to get the benefits of pet therapy. A visit to a farm, petting zoo, animal shelter or even just some simple bird watching is like an instant mood booster without all the responsibility of raising your own pet.
6. Talking in Nature
Talking about feelings can be difficult for a lot of people. Especially so for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder such as postpartum depression. Many people find it comforting to talk while going for a walk outdoors. The distraction of the sights and sounds can ease tension or awkward silence. The physical act of walking while talking can actually encourage the mind to open up even more, because it’s now being asked to multitask and thus feels less inhibited. So the next time you have something important to discuss with someone – try inviting them on a stroll through the park.
7. Digging in the Dirt
Contrary to popular belief, dirt is not dirty. Pure, rich soil from the earth is actually really good for you! By digging your bare hands (or feet) into the dirt, you can absorb the good bacteria known as Mycobacterium vaccae which is a natural antidepressant and can improve your overall health and immune system. Ecotherapy is all about ditching the gardening gloves and flip flops and becoming one with the dirt!
Since you’re already barefoot and ankle deep in dirt, you might as well plant a garden while you’re at it. There are so many health benefits of gardening that it’s the most popular form of ecotherapy. In addition the health benefits you get directly from the soil, caring for a garden is a great way to nurture your motherly instincts. Planting seeds and watching them grow into full grown plants will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
9. Eat a Healthier Diet
We would all love to eat farm fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, but it’s a sad fact that healthier food often tends to cost more at the local grocery store. Instead, grow healthy fruit and vegetables in your own garden. Not only will it be organic, but it will be free! A healthy diet is especially important for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, as well as for children of all ages. Everyone in the family will be much more inclined to eat food that they’ve grown themselves.
10. Cultivate Healing Herbs
In addition to healthy fruit and vegetables, you can also grow certain herbs that offer medicinal benefits. Lavender, Chamomile and Valerian are popular ones, especially to help with sleep and reduce stress. Peppermint, rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil are great for cooking but their oils have several healing benefits as well. St. John’s Wort, known for it’s natural antidepressant properties, can easily be grown in any herb garden. There are so many different herbs available that you can grow easily and always have on hand when you need them.
11. Boosts Confidence
Growing your own plants from seedlings is a real confidence booster. In a world where parenting is so complicated and full of different opinions and methods – gardening takes you back to the beginning. Plants don’t need complicated methods – they need soil, water and sunlight to thrive. Being able to produce fruit or flowers from a tiny seed can give you a sense of pride and confidence in yourself.
12. Sleep Better
When you combine all of the fresh air, sunshine and physical activity, it adds up to one thing – a better night’s sleep! This holds true for both moms and babies. Ecotherapy is an excellent course of treatment for those with insomnia as it reduces the common culprits: stress, anxiety and depression. Try taking a nap outdoors, in a hammock or on a blanket in the grass. Between the warm sun, light breeze and bird songs you’re sure to feel relaxed. Who needs a white noise machine with “nature sounds” when you can get the live version in your own backyard?
Spending time alone in nature is incredibly peaceful, but ecotherapy can also be done as a community. Community gardens, stroller walking groups at the park or even yoga on the beach are all great forms of ecotherapy that can help to encourage social skills. Once you find an activity that you enjoy doing outdoors, reach out to see if others want to join you or if there is already a group of like-minded people who gather regularly. Being outdoors increases the probability that you will encounter and socialize with others in your community, which is great for your mental health.
14. An Outlet for Anger
Ecotherapy can also help with anger management issues. Try bushwhacking some hedges when you’re feeling frustrated and full of rage. Kick some rocks or punch a tree – I promise, they can handle it. Sitting alone in nature is also a great place to find peace. Meditate, even speak out loud to the plants, insects, animals and trees. They make great listeners and they won’t judge you or tell your secrets. It might sound silly, but saying something out loud, regardless of who is listening or not, is a lot different than simply thinking about it.
15. Reduces Anxiety
A major cause of anxiety for many people is the thought of death, illness or harm. Spending time observing nature can give us a better appreciation of the life cycle and realize that everything happens for a reason. The old leaves fall off the trees to make way for new growth. Plants sprout from a single seed, produce their fruit, get old and wither. Their fruit grows several new plants and the cycle continues again. We see some plants lost to neighborhood rabbits, others to nature’s elements. And we realize that all life has a meaning and purpose.
16. Find Hope for the Future
Taking care of the earth, whether it’s in the form of gardening, raising animals or simply observing nature around you, is one way to remain hopeful. A mother suffering from postpartum depression, for example, may have trouble seeing the future beyond all of the darkness. Ecotherapy reminds us all that life, like nature, continues despite bad weather, cold, darkness and drought. Even when things seem at their worst, the sun will come out again and all will be well.
New moms often find themselves in a vulnerable state – physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, many people don’t see the vulnerability of a new mom’s spirit and inadvertently do things to harm it. Offering unsolicited advice, judging a new mom’s parenting choices, or making her feel incapable in any way can all do damage to a mother’s mental and emotional health.
Jess shares some of her experiences as a new mom, feeling judged and made to second guess her choices. She talks about how dangerous it can be to do anything but support a new mom. New moms don’t need us to tell them what to do, because we all figure it out eventually. What they do need is a community of people who they trust and can go to for advice when they need it.
So the next time you see a new mom struggling, don’t give her unsolicited advice.
It really isn’t that hard to not judge other moms. Whatever your excuse might be, it does not matter. Whether you are from the older generation where you did things differently, or maybe it’s because the way you opted to do things worked for you, you assume it’s the only way.
But when you give unsolicited advice to a new mom, the only thing that she will take away from your statement is that she is not doing a good job.
When I had my first child, I felt so prepared. I was ready. I read the books. I went to the classes. My husband and I had talked endlessly on how we wanted to raise our children. We talked about what was important to us, our family values and the importance we placed on everything from Montessori toys to how we felt about screen time. I knew we were in for a huge adventure as we became parents, and as scary as it was, I felt like “yes, I can do this!”
And then you came along. Someone who obviously knew more than either my husband or I when it came to raising our own child. Everything I did received criticism or was questioned. Maybe you felt entitled to say it because you are older than me, or you had raised a child of your own.
I honestly don’t know what triggered it, but I started to hate you. I had a newborn baby and I was exhausted. Sure, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I 100% knew better than you did when it came to the well-being of MY baby.
This was not just one person, it was several people. Maybe I was just overly sensitive, but you don’t know how the words you said to me affected me. I would cry in the car on the drive home because your unsolicited advice made me feel inadequate. I cringed at the thought of seeing you and even avoided gatherings that I knew you would be at.
That unhelpful, toxic energy was not good for my soul.
I was so new into motherhood and I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice that was being thrown at me left and right. I did not know then, as I do now, how much I would have to protect my spirit so I would not be broken.
Motherhood is heavy, oh so heavy, and the weight of it can crush you.
People feel as if they have the right to give you unsolicited advice because you NEED it. I was fortunate that I never went through the darkness of postpartum depression. But having someone question or belittle me when it came to making decisions about this perfect little human that I shared a bond with, was one of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a mother.
As a practice of self-care, I developed a circle of support. I now surround myself with people I love and trust and can turn to at any minute of the day when I need my spirits lifted. I could also feel my “motherly intuition” grow stronger as my baby grew. I knew when she was hungry or tired. I could sense her emotions and I grew confident in my abilities.
Now, fast forward five years down the road and another baby later, I do not let what other people say get to me when it comes to parenting. Yes, I let my kids watch YouTube Kids and occasionally have a lollipop with their breakfast. But I know I am a good mom to my kids and I have stopped comparing myself, or my kids, to anyone else.
So while the same people might still make the same sly comments every now and then and offer their unsolicited advice, I have learned to just smile, nod and hum Backstreet Boys songs in my head until they stop talking.
Here is my advice to all the new moms out there.
No one knows how to take care of your baby better than you. It will be hard to remember at first, but eventually you will find that mama bear spirit lying deep within.
And to all the well meaning people out there who have so many words of wisdom or “helpful” comments, here is some advice for you: unless you are directly asked for advice about something, all you need to say is… repeat after me…