It really is possible to take care of yourself even inside of an already packed schedule!

Time is valuable, especially for a busy mom. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to finish that long list of errands and tasks involving everyone and everything – except you. Most mothers today are overwhelmed with the pressure to have a clean house, organic meals made from scratch, well-behaved children, completed laundry, to have a career, be a chauffeur, a maid, a secretary, a therapist, and a lover, all while having a body like a supermodel and the energy of a teenager.

Enough.

It’s easy for us women to preach about the importance of self-care, but it’s another to practice it…except that we actually need to; for our mental health and emotional well being. Because if we put ourselves at the bottom of our ‘to-do’ list, we put ourselves (and our family) in an unhealthy situation filled with stress, anxiety, exhaustion, burnout, and even illness.

Whether you can take one hour a day or one hour a week for yourself, here are seven simple self-care strategies that even a busy mom like you can make time for:

One: Schedule your sleep
A wise (wo)man once said, ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, and they were right! If you’re not strict with your sleep schedule you not only run the risk of burning out and feeling drained, but you can also begin to experience symptoms of depression and an increase in appetite which in turn leads to weight gain. Give yourself a relaxing bedtime routine free from stimulants like cell phones, caffeine, nicotine and even upsetting conversations.

Two: Start moving
As moms, we tend to head back to the gym to quickly get our ‘pre-pregnancy body’ back. But the truth is, we should be exercising for our moods and mental state first. The proven benefits of exercising are endless and help to reduce tension, stress, and anxiety. Go for a walk, join a class, do some yoga; whatever it is you enjoy, make sure to take at least an hour 3 times a week to do it.

Three: Treat yourself
It’s the little things that matter in life, and that includes spoiling yourself throughout the week with small gestures. Grab a tasty drink from a local coffee shop or snag your favourite magazine (like Optimyz!) and steal a few moments to read while the baby sleeps. It’s amazing what 5 minutes of ‘me time’ can do.

Four: Get some fresh air
Getting out and enjoying some ‘adult time’ is food for the mind, body, and soul. Join an exercise class, a mom’s group or special interest club, or even enjoy some patio time with some friends to clear your head and give your energy a much-needed boost.

Five: Get ready for the day
Starting the day in a relaxed manner can make a world of difference with how the rest of your day goes. Try to wake up before the rest of your family to enjoy a nice shower, get dressed in peace and maybe even style your hair in anything but a mom-bun for once!  If you have a newborn, try to schedule this time during baby’s first nap.

Six: Purchase postpartum clothes
Everyone talks about maternity clothes, but no one talks about postpartum clothes; and if you are a new mom, you know the postpartum body is much harder to dress than the pregnant body – especially if you’re also nursing.  Aim for flowy or empire waist dresses, stretchy leggings, comfy sweaters, and nursing pyjamas/robe sets. The last thing you want to do is spend time trying to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes and being discouraged that nothing is working!

Seven: Ask for help
If you find yourself struggling, reach out for help from your family, close friends or neighbors. This will allow you to be your best self for you, your kids and your family. Remember, it takes a village!

Author: Julie Berg is the founder and CEO of Dressed to Deliver, an online boutique of designer maternity, and labor and delivery gowns. As the visionary behind one of the first accessible and adaptable pregnancy-embracing and labour-positive delivery gowns, Julie has spearheaded her way into the pregnancy, labor and delivery market as a product innovator and industry trailblazer.

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