This week, Gemma from Calm Mamas Club shares her top tips for self-care and why it is so important for us mums…
As a busy mum of 3, it was easy to think that self-care didn’t really apply to me. That the concept belonged to others who found time to meditate and eat a simple plant-based diet, not someone who often gets to 3pm without brushing their teeth, and who relies heavily on Kit-Kat bars and dry shampoo.
But as my beautiful babies decided they had their own agenda when it came to any kind of routine, and the sleep deprivation began to take a serious toll, my mental health deteriorated. As a sense of failure became overwhelming, I set about trying to over turn this feeling by giving myself entirely to my children, leaving little to no time for mum.
It took a diagnosis of depression and a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for generalised anxiety disorder, before I began to realise how vital it is to prioritise my own personal needs alongside those of my family, and a huge part of this is daily self-care.
Now, I am no expert, and I would point you in the direction of fantastic people such as Suzy Reading and Anya Hayes and their wonderful books to get the serious lowdown on self-care. However, here are a few tips I have learnt (and am still learning) from my self-care journey…
- Go to bed early at least one night a week – Now, this doesn’t sound very rock ‘n’ roll but actually, this is my favourite night of the week. We eat early and crawl into bed straight after the kids are asleep around 8pm. I either read or watch TV before drifting off around 9pm. Even though we are thankfully out of the tiny baby stage where they’re up regularly throughout the night, it’s easy to underestimate how exhausted I can become and how much rest I need in order to feel normal.
- Learn to say no without feeling guilty – This is still very much a work in progress for me as I still procrastinate horribly over how much I am going to disappoint someone, but don’t be afraid to say no and listen to your gut. It often has the right answer.
- Drink more water – Again, this is a work in progress but I have started to set an alarm on my phone for every 2 hours to remind myself to drink a pint of water. No, coffee doesn’t count annoyingly!
- Sack off the housework – There is always a job to do…washing, hoovering, tidying, cooking…washing, hoovering, tidying… and so it continues. If it means you can sit down with a magazine for 30 minutes and relax, one of these jobs can wait. I may never own a show home but at least I will be happy.
- Put your phone away – I am a self-confessed phone addict. When the kids were babies I looked to it as a means of escapism, and since I launched my business, Calm Mamas Club, I’m on it even more. But I do try and put it away in the evenings for a few hours before I head to bed. I sleep so much better as my mind isn’t whirring and I use this time instead to read a book – one of my all time favourite things to do and a much healthier option.
- Do something you love every week – dedicate some time and space for yourself each week and do something you really love. This could be something as simple as a bath, a walk in the fresh air, or a massage. But book it in your diary and don’t let it be bumped for something you deem more important. This time is so important not just for you, but your entire family.
Calm Mamas Club is a unique company, specialising in events for mums in need of self-care. My mission is to create warm and inclusive events; free from guilt or judgement, where mums can put their needs first for a few important hours whilst learning some takeaway tips or tricks that will boost wellbeing on a daily basis. Calm Mamas Club is also proud to donate in the region of 10% from the sale of every ticket to the PANDAS Foundation, providing crucial support to parents suffering from pre- and post-natal mental illness.
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Please note, I am no way medically trained so if you have been feeling low for more than two weeks, please do reach out to your GP who will advise you on the best form of treatment.
All images: Canva