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The Truth About Self-Care

Massages. Hot bubble baths. Scented candles. Pedicures.

Over the last few years, these words have become almost synonymous with self-care for moms. While these items and activities aren’t negative (just the opposite!), there is so much more to self-care than pampering. Let’s discuss three methods of truly caring for yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Mentally: Spend time in silence.

Psychology Today lists a large number of health benefits connected to silence, including stimulating brain growth, decreasing blood pressure, and lowering levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. There are also practical benefits: silence boosts creative ideas and better decision-making.

If you’re a mom, perhaps finding moments of silence is less likely than winning the lottery! You’ll likely need to be creative in finding moments of silence. Perhaps you have occasional car rides alone where you can turn off your cell phone and radio. Or, maybe you enjoy waking up early or staying up late -- those moments when your kids are asleep can be golden times for silence. Challenge yourself to turn off the TV, log out of social media, and enjoy a few minutes of stillness. Be intentional in finding a few minutes a day to care for yourself by being silent.

Emotionally: Check in with yourself.

Do you take time to ask yourself how you’re doing? If not, you should! Just like you can express care towards your partner or friends by asking after their well-being, you can also care for yourself by taking time to ask how things are going. Here are a few prompts if you’re not sure how to check in with yourself:

  • How am I feeling right now? (Happy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, etc.)

  • Why am I feeling this way? (Negative self-talk, an interaction, etc.)

  • What am I thankful for today? (Good health, good relationships, etc.)

Many people enjoy journaling their thoughts, but others enjoy talking out their thoughts with another person. Either way is fine! The priority is choosing to check in with yourself and being aware about how you’re feeling.

Physically: Respect your body.

If you’re already cringing at the thought of home workouts, don’t worry! This isn’t a lecture on how you ought to purchase dumbbells or invest in a treadmill. Physical self-care is so much more than “working out more.” Caring for yourself physically might mean committing to eating home-cooked meals instead of fast food, spending time outdoors a few times a week, or setting aside a few extra minutes to get ready so you look and feel your best all day. You know best where you struggle to care for yourself physically, so make a commitment to yourself to make a small change in your habits. True physical self-care will take time to cultivate.

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