When you’re a mom, it’s very easy to devote all your time and energy to parenting. Children have a lot of needs, especially when they’re younger. And although their needs tend to be time sensitive and consuming, using the right self care strategies can ensure that you make yourself a priority. It’s important to be selfless, but it’s also crucial that you find the time to look after number one.
Here are some helpful self-care strategies that moms should remember.
*This is a collaborative post* *This post contains affiliate/paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.
Stress is a very common problem faced by parents. Sleep deprivation, having to be on the go all the time and feeling like you never have enough hours in the day can all increase the risk of stress. Other factors, such as relationship worries, money problems and trying to balance work and parenthood may also play a part.
If you’re struggling with stress, the one of the best self care strategies is to try and work out exactly what is bothering you and causing you to feel on edge. Often, there are practical solutions.
Take the example of managing your money. If you’re finding it tough to get by from month to the next, or you’re trying to figure out ways to boost your credit score to get a mortgage, or you’re attempting to pay off debt, there are steps you can take. It’s useful to see a financial adviser, to start budgeting, and to use services like my fico to monitor your credit score.
There are myriad causes of stress, but if you let them take hold of you, even the most innocuous-seeming problem can spiral into something all-consuming. Learn to spot signs of stress, and try and manage it before it gets worse. Everyone is different, but popular self-care strategies include exercise, meditation, and creative activities.
Taking time out
It’s no lie that parenting is a full-time job. Even when kids are fast asleep, as a parent you’re still thinking about them and probably worrying about them too. Children do take up a lot of time, but there’s always room in the day for a bit of ‘me time’ too.
Make sure you take advantage of breaks. Schedule in half an hour to do yoga, an hour to catch up with friends or a night off from time to time to go out with your partner. It’s so important to be able to have that time out to recharge your batteries, relax, and connect with others without the kids in tow.
We all love our children, but there’s no harm in having a breather now and again. Scheduling some alone time is one of the most important self care strategies a mom can do.
Doing what makes you happy
When you become a parent, you tend to focus on what makes your kids happy, but try not to lose sight of what perks you up or brings a smile to your face. None of these self care strategies even matter unless they’re bringing you joy.
It’s crucial to work on your mental health and to find time to pursue hobbies and interests, engage in social activities and enjoy time doing things you love. Whether you like reading, painting, writing, dancing, or running, give yourself time to do what makes you content.
As a mom, you probably spend most of your time looking after your children. While they may feel like your number one priority, remember that you are still responsible for taking care of yourself too. And you will only be able to take care of them if you also take care of yourself.
A mother’s touch is known to have magical healing powers for a child.
The connection between a mother and their child is as physical as it is emotional. They are a part of our bodies, we feed them from our bodies, and we comfort them with our bodies. Our bodies are the go-to place for our children when they need to feel safe and secure. So at the end of a long day, mothers often end up feeling over touched or overstimulated.
The sensation of being over touched can have a big impact on our mental health. With our skin being our largest organ, it’s no surprise that a large amount of extra stimulation can cause us to feel frazzled and overworked. We end up feeling irritable, annoyed, anxious or even angry. It can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances. And feeling over touched can have an effect on our relationships as well because it’s unlikely we’ll want to be intimate at the end of the day, either.
If you are feeling over touched after a constantly caring for and hugging babies, try these five techniques to help reset your nervous system.
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
1. Take a Time Out
It makes sense that if you’re feeling over touched, a quick fix would be to spend some time not being touched at all. It’s easier said than done for a busy mom, however. The sensation of feeling over touched on a regular basis can build up. Eventually causing worse symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. So it’s important to break that cycle of feeling over touched as regularly as possible.
If you can make this a regular habit, whether daily, weekly or longer, then you can reset your sense of touch and feel refreshed and re-energized. Having the kids crawl all over you may be unavoidable, but at least you’ll be better equipped to handle another round of it.
2. Try Dry Brushing
Now, this one might sound like it makes a little less sense. If you’re already feeling over touched, then wouldn’t brushing your skin just make it worse?
One of the benefits of dry brushing is that it stimulates the lymph system, which is the system that is designed to cleanse our body of toxins and waste. Keeping this system moving throughout our bodies can actually boost our immune systems and keep us healthy. Dry brushing can produce an almost instant energy boost just by helping to circulate our lymph.
Dry brushing the entire body can help to reset the sensation of feeling over touched. It is a controlled and intentional way of stimulating the nervous system and sense of touch. Unlike being tugged at and climbed all over by our kids, we are in control of how our skin is being touched and stimulated.
3. Have a Hot Shower or Bath
Water can do wonders to wash away the feeling of being over touched. A hot shower, especially one with a massaging shower head, is another great way to provide full body stimulation to eliminate that feeling of being pulled and tugged at.
Try alternating between hot and cool water to encourage blood circulation and give you an energy boost. You can enhance the experience by using essential oil shower steamers or luxury soaps and body washes. A shower is especially wonderful after you’d tried dry brushing, as it helps to wash away all the exfoliated skin.
If you’d rather soak in the tub, then add a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath water or try some relaxing bath bombs. The magnesium in the Epsom salts will relax tired muscles and soften the skin. You can even brush your skin during or after the bath, just add a bit of coconut oil, or other essential oil to your brush.
And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards. In fact, you should use a good quality moisturizer as often as possible throughout the day. Dry skin is much more sensitive to being touched. Winter can be especially harsh on skin, and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, feeling over touched can contribute to other symptoms as well.
4. Lie Under a Weighted Blanket
A weighted blanket, like dry brushing, is another form of intentional touch. It might sound counterproductive to use deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) when we already feel so over touched. But again, this is a different kind of touch that works like a giant reset button on our nervous system.
Think of a fussy baby being swaddled, or an anxious child being hugged tightly. Steady pressure that consumes our entire body at once can make us feel calm and boost our serotonin levels. But as an adult, it’s harder to find a way to create that sense of steady full body pressure.
Weighted blankets are an excellent solution. You can lie under a weighted blanket for anywhere from a few minutes to an entire night, depending on your preference. You are in complete control of removing it, so you don’t need to worry about feeling trapped or suffocated.
Using a weighted blanket can be especially helpful if feeling over touched is causing insomnia or night time anxiety. Over stimulation is a major cause of sleep disturbances. Using a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
The hardest part about using a weighted blanket is trying to choose which one is right for you. There are so many options in weight, filling, covers and sizes so how do you even know where to begin? Here are some tips about how to choose the right weighted blanket.
5. Sensory Deprivation Tank
This is, perhaps, one of the more extreme forms of therapy for feeling over touched, but it’s a luxurious way to relax and reset. Sensory deprivation tanks, or “float tanks” are popping up everywhere now. While it’s actually an ancient form of healing, they’ve become popular in modern society for their known benefits of relaxation.
In addition to the water, the tank is in complete isolation, which means that it’s dark and you’re cut off from outside sounds and smells. You are basically floating in complete nothingness. By depriving the body of all of it’s senses, you can be in a state of mindfulness and complete relaxation.
As a mother, you’re always ready and prepared to give the hugs and cuddles and be the rock for your children to climb on. Even when you’re feeling over touched, you’d never want to deprive them of that. But you can give better and stronger hugs when you’re feeling relaxed and rested. This is why self-care is such an important task for moms.
If the thought of being touched makes you cringe, it doesn’t make you a bad mother. While you may have to take a few additional steps to reset your senses each day, the feeling won’t last forever. So take care of yourself, mama, and then hug those babies. Because before you know it, you’ll have to chase them down just to get one.
Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.
While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease. Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore. For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.
Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose. It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard. You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis. Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.
Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.
Detoxify the Environment
The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space. Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items. A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).
Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out.
This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy. The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure. Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Select Comfort Items
When it comes to self care, comfort is essential. It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable. Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.
Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else. Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
Dress comfortably, whatever that means to you. You can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked! Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.
This means different things to different people. For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace. But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead. Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.
Surround Yourself in Beauty
Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes. Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views. The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.
Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
Look out the window.If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point. If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
Cover the walls.Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters. Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
Decorate with intention.Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary. Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.
If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house. Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.
Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Soothe the Skin
Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs. We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children. Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine. As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.
Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
Do a home spa treatment.Apply a face mask, cooling gel eye mask (or cucumbers), coat your hair in coconut oil and wrap it in a warm towel.
Try dry brushing.This is one way to stimulate and exfoliate the skin while also improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.
Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary. This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get. You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.
Cleanse the Body
As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well. Leave any thoughts of dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary. Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.
There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.
Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary. Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being. Eventually, it will become second nature.
Make Room for Physical Movement
While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement. You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether. But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.
There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
Stretch.Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress.
Run.Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety.
Dance.Turn on your favorite music and let it move you. You can literally dance like no one is watching.
Punch.If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.
The point is not to burn calories or build muscles. The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity. And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.
Embrace Your Creative Side
A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself. Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone. Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.
Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.
Journaling, drawing, coloring or painting.You don’t need to be a professional artist, and it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.
Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.
It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly. If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start. You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try. Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.
Once you’ve created the ultimate self care sanctuary, schedule some time to use it!
Download this free PDF workbook designed to help you establish a working self care routine, even as a busy mother.
Taking time for themselves is something that all moms need to do but practicing a self-care routine is essential to treating postpartum depression.
Self-care doesn’t always need to consist of spa days or alone time. While different things appeal to different women and personalities – there are some simple, basic, everyday tasks that can make a huge difference to one’s mood and patience level.
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
What is self-care?
It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU. Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially SAHMs. Because how the heck are you supposed to take care of yourself AND the tiny humans who demand so much of your attention?
The nature of a parent is always to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list. I’m quite guilty of it myself and sometimes life gets SO busy that I don’t even realize how long it’s been since I showered or blow-dried my hair.
Trying to fit a self-care routine into an already packed day is impossible, I know. There are never, nor will there ever be, enough minutes in the day to get everything accomplished.
This means you’re going to have to sacrifice something. It could be sleep (sleep? what’s that?), it could be that extra time with your kids before bed, it could be the gourmet dinner you cook every night.
Or perhaps there is a way to work your self-care routine into your existing routine with the kids. There’s no rule that says self-care must equal alone time so feel free to involve your kids or partner.
Whatever you need to do, do it and make time for you.
I had a ghastly image of myself in my head and I feared that if I looked at myself in the mirror I would realize it had come true. The few times I did make eye contact with myself, I immediately broke into tears because I absolutely hated myself and standing in front of the mirror meant coming face to face with my worst enemy.
But I wasn’t afraid to look at myself when I had a little makeup on. When I was showered and my hair was done and I was in decent clothes – for a moment, I forgot about that pile of muck. This was someone else I was looking at, talking to, admiring in the mirror. That pile of muck was still there but I didn’t have to look at her. I didn’t have to face her and all the sadness she brought with her.
So while some might consider self-care a type of vanity, I felt that it was the only way for me to escape the rut I was in.
Developing a good self-care routine is extremely important both during your battle with postpartum depression after you’ve started treatments to reduce the chance of a relapse.
Start with the basics
Brush your teeth
So simple right? Not when you’re awoken by the loud screams of children at 6 am. You rush out of bed to see what’s happening and deal with whatever new fiasco they’ve created. And then coffee is the first thought on your mind. You’ll brush after coffee – that makes sense, right? Then you won’t have coffee breath! Smart woman!
Except you never, ever, finish that cup of coffee…
It sits there getting cold. Maybe you walk by once or twice and stick it in the microwave to heat it up and then forget about it there. Before you know it the hubby is home from work and for some reason he’s not going in for that smooch…
Take the shower!
There are so many days when this feels like an impossible feat. It takes more than a few minutes and we all know what kind of trouble kids can get into in that time.
But putting it off means you’re putting yourself off, and self-care is all about putting yourself FIRST! So take the shower!
If it means putting on a show for them, or letting them use the tablet while they sit on the bathroom floor – then do it. If all else fails – take them in with you!
A nice, hot shower before bed is a great way to help you sleep at night, so if you can’t fit one in during the day – try to squeeze it in after the kids are down for the night.
If the thought of taking a shower feels like the last thing you want to do after an extremely long day, then it’s what you need most. Trust me and just TAKE THE SHOWER!!!
Change your clothes
Changing from flannel pajama pants into black leggings counts. Don’t stay in your pajamas all day even if they’re the comfiest thing on earth and you’re not going anywhere anyway. I’ve gone so far as to use the excuse that I don’t want to make more laundry for myself.
But even if you wear the same “daytime” clothes for a week – change out of your pajamas. The act of changing your clothes – even if they are from one pair of sweatpants to another, is enough to trick your brain into thinking you’ve done something productive.
Do your hair & makeup
This one is more important to some than others. I’ve never been a “full face makeup” type of person, but some women absolutely love the process of experimenting with makeup.
If you have a particular problem area that makes you self-conscious then take care of that so you can feel confident enough to face the world.
It might sound superficial or vain, but it’s amazing how much more confident you feel when you know that you look good. And keep in mind that the only person you’re trying to impress… is yourself.
Add in some extras
Give yourself a pep talk
Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, a little “you can do this” under my breath reminds me that I need to stay positive. It is SO easy to lose that motivation when you are battling postpartum depression because you are in a constant state of darkness. Find some way to remind yourself to stay in the light.
Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Take your vitamins
Sufferers of postpartum depression are infamous for their terrible eating habits – either not enough or too much. And because of that, we often end up with all kinds of vitamin deficiencies which can have a huge effect on our mental health. So if you’re not able to eat as healthy as you should, you should be taking supplements in order to get your levels back up to where they should be.
Magnesium is what worked wonders for me. Magnesium deficiencies are known to cause symptoms of depression, so make sure that you take a regular magnesium supplement to keep symptoms at bay.
Vitamin D – get outside in the sun! Not only does 20 minutes in the sunshine top up your Vitamin D levels but the fresh air does wonders for your soul.
Vitamin B Complex – to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition despite your messed up appetite.
Aromatherapy and essential oils have huge mood-boosting benefits. An easy way to fit aromatherapy into your postpartum depression self care routine is by using an essential oil diffuser. Have your favorite, calming, essential oils and blends fill your entire home all day long to make sure that you’re surrounded by positive energy. (Not sure where to start? Check out the mood collection by Rocky Mountain Oils)
Try Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that can help to get rid of some of the physical aches and pains associated with postpartum depression. You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment, so it’s very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. It also helps you to clear your mind of distractions and intrusive thoughts, which is important if you want to try to remain positive on a daily basis. Deep breathing can help greatly to reduce stress and it’s something that you can do anytime throughout the day.
Find ONE thing
And it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing. A spa day is great but so is binge watching Netflix. A beach vacation may not be in the budget, but relaxing outside in a hammock or inflatable couch is. [I like the ones from Pouch Couch]
Focus on ONE extra activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed and ONE thing only. As moms we spend most of our days multi-tasking, and there is so much pressure to become a mom who can bake and sew and do crafts and plan parties (thanks a lot, Pinterest) and it becomes overwhelming and exhausting.
Your self-care routine should consist of something that makes you feel happy and relaxed afterwards. It doesn’t have to be productive and you don’t need to justify it. You just need to do it.
It can be difficult to fit in time for self-care, especially as a busy mom. Check out my post How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a SAHM for more tips plus download a free workbook to help you create a schedule that works!
Write about it
Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be hugely therapeutic for postpartum depression survivors in many different ways. Not only is the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings a way to release them, but it also helps you keep track of whether they are getting better or worse.