Moms have superpowers. They do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their families. Too often, the needs of moms fall to the bottom of the pile as they burn the candle at both ends. When this happens for too long, it results in burnout. Sometimes we crash hard and our health – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical – suffer greatly.
At the beginning of this year, I wasn't doing so hot. The additional pressures and months of long, high stress days leading to our launch in Target had taken their toll. I knew I was on a dangerous path if I didn't get my stress under control and start taking better care of myself.
So, I went back to basics and incorporated simple (as in really foundational, but vital) daily and weekly rituals into my routine, to take care of "me". It's the best thing I can do for myself and for my family and close circle. I realize that for me to be able to follow through, my routine has to be simple and practical for my busy, chaotic schedule. Below are my top 10 strategies.
1. Drink water. Duh, right?! We know we are supposed to and we know why, but how often do we get to the end of the day and realize we haven't had enough to drink and haven't peed in 4 hours? I am committing to drink. Water. And to help me do it, I carry a glass Lifefactory bottle with me at all times. Because water bottles can be pretty and they don't have to be plastic.
2. Keep your blood sugar up with superfoods. You've seen the graphic floating around on social media, "I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry"? The pitfall I run into is not having healthy, sustaining food available during my busy day. I also have a bad habit of arriving to work thinking that because I made my 3 kids breakfast and packed their lunches, I somehow ingested those nutrients as well without actually having taken a bite. Whether your day moves at a non-stop, thrill ride pace or a slower clip, the key is taking the time to plan and to buy healthy foods ahead of time, so you aren't grabbing for the Doritos or just skipping meals because you don't have the time to stop and prepare something.
3. Have more sex. My midwife actually prescribed this to me a few years ago, when I was experiencing postpartum anxiety. Now mamas, I know that when you have babies hanging on you all day, you have barely had a chance to shower and all you can think about is getting some much needed sleep - the last thing on your mind is sex. But let me challenge you with this. That once a month quickie probably isn't doing you any favors. There are so many benefits to sexual wellness and intimacy. Here are just a few.
4. Sleep. I am super protective of my sleep. In fact, most nights I'm in bed when my kids go to bed. Now that my kids all sleep through the night, I get an average of 8 hours/night. During particularly stressful times, I will struggle with insomnia. I'll awake for one reason or another, my mind turns on and it's all over. When I don't sleep, life suffers. My sleep is also dependent on my ability to manage stress, avoid illness and have a semblance of mental focus. I have learned that very few tasks or responsibilities can't wait until tomorrow. I need my (beauty) sleep.
5. Exercise. This is probably the most difficult resolution for me to keep. When I do it, I don't know how I live without it. It affects me that much. But I always have an excuse. It's too hot, too cold, I don't have childcare, I'm too tired and stressed, I didn't eat enough today... heard enough? Just do it.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff. Ninety-nine percent of the things that get me all in knots are really only as stressful as I give them power to be. When I look at most of the things that in the last 6 months made my stomach hurt or blood pressure rise, they didn't have to affect me the way they did. Remind yourself of the big picture and of the things that REALLY matter. Things always have a way of working out. And if they weren't meant to be - they weren't worth losing sleep over either.
7. Dress for success. I am a total glutton for hoodies and sneakers. I'm also acutely aware of how much those extra little things like putting on lipstick or styling my hair instead of a ponytail affect how I perceive myself and my level of confidence. I'm all about being comfortable and practical, but sometimes we need to change it up a bit!
8. Pray/meditate. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, taking time to pray or meditate can have the greatest impact on your life and the direction you are heading. For me personally, believing in a higher power takes me out of myself and gives me faith and hope!
9. Take breaks. My passion for Zoe Organics and my personal drive could easily take me into workaholic mode. But I love my family and value my health too much to ignore the need to rest and get away. Breaks are a vital part of doing your work well - whatever your work might be. If you are with your kids 24/7, take breaks! Even an hour alone in the bath tub or for a work out, can bring so much clarity and much needed grounding. Let your weekends be a time of rest - whether than means a physical break or just a mental break from the normal routine.
10. Make time for fun. It is really difficult for a task-oriented person, ahem, to prioritize fun. But I never, ever regret the time I spend playing with my kids, having friends over, dating my husband or learning a new hobby. Life really IS too short to take fun and play for granted. Fun inspires and recharges.
You are an amazing woman and intuition tells me that you could use a little more "me" time. You aren't alone! Please share any additional self-care strategies that work for you and I'd love to hear if any of these really resonate with you.
Psst! We have a whole new collection to reveal this fall, and we have a sneaking suspicion that if this post resonated with you, you are going to LOVE what we have up our sleeves!