Welcome to a journey that celebrates the vital role of self-care in the lives of modern mothers and its profound impact on their mental health. Motherhood is a beautiful and fulfilling journey, but it can also be demanding and overwhelming. “Young mothers often ask me how they can be more present at home, less temperamental and more calm in their everyday lives. Raising a child is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, it requires your undivided attention every single day. And it can be very easy to get lost in an endless list of tasks, errands, housework and kid’s activities, especially if you are also balancing a career outside the home,” says Radhika Iyer, Founder of Anahata Organic, an Entrepreneur, Yogini, Mountaineer and Philanthropist. (Also read: Mother’s Day 2023: Self-care tips for working moms to prevent burnout )
She added, “With so much time devoted to caring for one’s family, exhaustion can set in and finding time for self-care will probably be the first thing left out of your busy schedule. Very often, women have been raised with the belief that they must care for others before their own self. That somehow, self-sacrifice makes for a “good” mother. I am a mother to 3 wonderful children and I have found the opposite of this to be true. In fact, as soon as I prioritize my happiness and made sure to take care of my own mental, physical and emotional health first; I became a better, more present, patient and understanding mother.”
“If you are experiencing exhaustion and burnout just managing the whole world out there, I have one request: promise that you, starting now, will take out time to take care of yourself. Research now clearly shows that self-care for a mother upgrades her value, which in return boosts self-worth and self-esteem. Follow these simple rituals to find your true value as an individual first and a mother next. Do not think of spending some alone time for yourself as being selfish or self-indulgent. Prioritizing yourself will impact your overall well-being helping you find calmness within,” says Radhika.
1. Feed your curiosity
Read, learn a new skill, chase a hobby, practice yoga, and learn a new cuisine. Whatever makes you curious about life, give time to that activity. Following your curiosity will give you a new perspective, empower you and open up opportunities in life. Not to mention, these few hours once or twice a week are all yours. These activities are known to release endorphins in your brain that will keep you feeling healthy mentally and physically.
2. Spend time by yourself
You might be reading this and thinking it’s impossible. But you don’t have to start off by doing this every day. Start once a week, and then twice and so on. Go for a walk, listen to music, meditate, pamper yourself, and go for a run. The more you take time for yourself, the more you will learn to enjoy your own company. I have found that knowing I like to be by myself made me more independent and unafraid to speak my mind.
I highly recommend journaling and meditation. Keep a diary, write down your thoughts on paper and look for the lesson in what you are going through. Journaling is like lending yourself the advice you give to others. As a yoga teacher, I have spent years witnessing the miracle meditation can bring into people’s lives. Don’t underestimate the power of 10 minutes of silence. Find a comfortable spot, sit straight, close your eyes and start the practice of meditation and relentlessly do this every single day.
4. Seek help from your loved ones
Not everyone has the support of a partner or family. But there definitely exist friends who can offer childcare help once in a while. Seek help so that they can step in to give you a break once in a while. Also, be vocal about your needs with your partner and learn to share responsibilities. This way, you have some more time to yourself which in turn will help you build and maintain meaningful relationships.
5. Get active
It might be the last thing you feel like doing at the time, but exercise has countless benefits both for the mind and body. Your body needs to move to stay healthy and strong. It gives you more energy as you age. The mind benefits greatly from movement too. It refreshes the brain, elevates your mood and makes you experience this unique sense of accomplishment. When you work out, you will Improve your physical health greatly. This will help you remain strong throughout your future life.
“Remember that the most important components of self-care are to be realistic and purposeful. If your schedule is hectic and chaotic, it may not be realistic to expect hours a week to focus on self-care activities. Start small with attainable expectations. Be compassionate with yourself. Know that striking a balance can take time and a lot of conscious effort in the beginning. And above all, do it for you. So that you can live a happy, healthy and present life,” concludes Radhika Iyer.
Bringing her expertise to the same, Shivani Kudva, Certified Positive Discipline Educator and Coach, shares with HT Lifestyle, some simple yet relaxing ideas to honour the mother in you.
1. Spa session: Pamper yourself with a relaxing, dim light, soft music massage that allows your senses to soothe and charge. It is really, deeply relaxing to let go of some meals, some clothes to be washed and some dishes to be done!
2. Brunch: Go for brunch with your bestie without the kids and hubby. Enjoy some hours of good food, good drinks and talk therapy.
3. Staycation: Not a vacation since you need to pack for a vacation! Go to a nearby good hotel for a staycation and let the kids chill with hubby while you take a dip in the pool or enjoy a good drink.
4. Friends’ day out: Call your mommy friends and go out for a good movie with some good food. Movies are highly detoxing and take you away from reality to fun fantasy.
5. Retail therapy: Is anything better than this?! Go do some shopping for yourself and not shop for the children this time.Do not shop online lest you may not enjoy it that much. Go out alone in the malls without running around children for once or spending most of the time in the baby room.
6. Call for meals: Pampering need not come at an exorbitant cost. Call for all meals for the day from outside or even ask your mom to send it in she’d be more than happy to see her daughter smile. Don’t forget to send her a bunch of flowers and goodies too. Take the day off from the kitchen.
7. Salon session: Get those nails and the new haircut you longed for. There’s something about the fresh blow-dried hairstyle. Count on the extra smiles and looks from the husband