“Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.”
– Chinese inscription
In today’s fast-paced world of full-time jobs, travel soccer teams, and Pinterest, Moms have pressure to do more in less time than ever before. With Mother’s Day coming up, it reminds us that it’s important for Moms to take time for themselves each day, without feeling guilty. Intuitively, most Moms know that self-care time is healthy and makes us a better parent and partner, yet many Moms feel selfish when taking even the smallest amount of time as their own in a day.
“You have to put on your oxygen mask first,” says Dr. Gail Salz. “If you go to pieces, everyone is going down with you. So you have to give time to yourself. That is healthy, not selfish or narcissistic. That is a tough concept for a lot of women.” Taking time for yourself does not have to be one more thing to add to your mile long to-do list. It can be very simple and take only a few minutes.
You may best relax with exercise, meditation, music, calling a friend, or soaking in a candle-lit bubble bath. Whichever way you choose, know that it’s important and make it a habit. “Take the time to enjoy being you, whatever that means. Remind yourself that you are a valued member of your family, and everyone in the family occasionally warrants your full, indulgent attention, including you,” says Deborah Gilbert Rosenberg, LCSW.
Here are some small ways to make big changes in your peace of mind each day:
Are you able to stop in your daily routine, even for one moment? That’s all it takes. Meditation is not only about sitting for hours on end, it’s about being mindful and present with yourself, even if for 5 minutes. No matter where you are. You can be standing, walking, or sitting in the comfort of your own home, car, or office. Capture your moments. Without tuning in, even if for minutes of a day, you miss the precious experiences of your life.
“Studies show that when we slow our breathing dramatically, as we do during meditation, we calm our sympathetic nervous system and engage the prefrontal cortex, or “executive functioning,” part of the brain,” explains Dr. Lisa Nelson, M.D., Director of Education at Kripalu Healthy Living programs. “This helps us to feel calm, focused and relaxed, almost immediately. Practiced daily, meditation can lead to changes in heart rate variability, reduce anxiety, decrease stress and increase positive emotional states.”
So, while not every Mom is able to take a week out of her busy life to do a meditation retreat, we know that it is highly beneficial to practice even brief periods of this “beautiful, life-changing science”.
Exercise is another great way to give back to yourself, thanks to its many proven mind and body benefits. Physical activity stimulates various chemicals in your brain, leaving you happier and more relaxed. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, which results in more energy to go about your daily life. You may also feel better about yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Health experts recommend 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Breaking it up into small intervals – like a brisk 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day – is just as effective.
Above all, remember that you can benefit in drastic ways by taking even a few minutes a day for yourself. As Mother’s Day approaches, it is an important reminder to Moms, Dads and kids that Mom needs and deserves some time for herself, every day.
by: Hillery Maxymillian (Mother, Taekwon-Do 4th Degree Black Belt, R.A.D Certified Women’s Self-Defense Instructor)