Top 7 Self-Care Strategies for Busy Moms: Finding Time for Yourself

self care for working moms

Sometimes life can be so hectic and full-on that we never really find the time to sit down, take stock and see if we can’t get the home-work-life balance a little more in your favor. This can be exacerbated if you are not just a mother, but also a wife or partner to someone who also happens to work all hours of the day and who is perhaps not at home as often as you would like ‘to share the load’.

According to the Well section of Fortune magazine, a 2023 article revealed that “42% of working mothers surveyed were diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression in 2022.” When one compares that to the 28% level of the general population suffering from depression, that means that an additional 14% of working mums are more likely to suffer from some form of anxiety or depression. This is not good news and so our aim here is to provide some helpful guidance towards self-care for busy moms.

Organisation and Routine – One of the Best ways to combat mild depression

While there are several forms of depression, the two that seem most common are either clinical depression which makes you feel like you have the weight of the whole world on your shoulders, that life is generally not worth living and you feel you are living a life full of despair. To a degree this form of depression is easier to spot, if not still a challenge to overcome or treat. However, there is also another more insidious form of depression, and that is ‘mild depression’ or ‘depression’ itself. Why is it insidious? Because most of us who suffer from this form of depression don’t even realise we are depressed. We just feel we are a bit beaten up by life, that we have too much to deal with, we have worries like most other people, and we feeling a bit anxious, overwhelmed or just plain worn out is seen as ‘a fact of life’.

This form of depression manifests itself in comments like “I can’t be bothered”, “I haven’t got the energy to do that”, and “What’s the point?”.

But it doesn’t have to be like this, especially if you read on and adopt many of our recommended self-care tips for mums.

Busy mother and pregnant woman set working in office at home and doing housework part isolated vector illustration

Top 7 Self-Care Tips For Busy Moms

1. Organize Your Day – If you organize your day, things will have a greater chance of being done. The more you get done, the greater sense of achievement, the less you will feel overwhelmed, and depression has a much smaller chance of paying you a visit. Get up fifteen minutes earlier, make yourself a drink and sit down with a notepad and pen and write out the tasks for the day.

2. Don’t Get Distracted – One of the main reasons why we fail to complete a list of tasks is because we get distracted, and in the end, we end up with a load of half-completed tasks and we feel exhausted. Each time you begin a task, see it through to the end. If one of the kids needs your attention, tell them you will be with them in ten minutes, or however long you need. It is important you see them when you say you will as this will create its own routine of ‘Mum will always see us, sometimes we just have to wait a minute’. Because you can cross a finished task off your list, very quickly the list will look less daunting, and your sense of achievement will spur you on to complete the list.

3. Me Time – There are loads of self-care activities for mums, such as going for a half-hour walk on a sunny spring day, meeting a friend for a coffee in town, baking a cake for the sheer pleasure of it, doing a crossword. Anything that gives you pleasure and anything that gives you a break from feeling you are constantly on the go.

4. Treats – There is a well used expression “If you look good you will feel good” and it is very relevant when it comes to self-care strategies for moms. Don’t be afraid to occasionally book yourself in to have your nails done, have a facial, get your hair done or have a pedicure. We’re not talking about a spa day or a weekend treat, though either would be wonderful. Here we are talking about guilty pleasures and the opportunity to give yourself an ‘I deserve this’ moment.

5. Eat Healthily – We don’t all live in a perfect world where at seven o’clock every evening, the whole family can sit down at the dining table, and all eat together. You may not have time to cook a ‘proper meal’, not everyone might be available, and eventually you end up trying to keep everyone else happy but forget to look after yourself, snacking and grazing while you look after the rest of the family. This is the antithesis of self-care. So, don’t eat unhealthy snacks and try to get other members of the family to eat healthily so that when you open the refrigerator door because you are feeling hungry, you’ll find there are only healthy snacks available.

6. Sleep Well – It is impossible to stress sufficiently just how important sleep is for self-care. We all know that problems always seem ten-times worse when we are tired, and that after a good night’s sleep, a clear head can often find solutions to problems that weren’t apparent the night before. Were we to write a “Guide for Busy Mums”, top of our list would be to get a good night’s sleep. What we find is that if you are organized during the day, when you go to bed at night, your head isn’t full of all the things you didn’t get done and have to start on the next morning. Part of the self-care routine for sleep should be to avoid drinking tea and coffee after 7 p.m.  and avoid spicy food for your last meal of the day. Avoid all PEDs (personal electronic devices) after 9 p.m. Finally, take a shower before climbing into bed – this achieves much more than you might realise as this is part of ‘me time’ where you can ‘pamper yourself’ with some soothing shower gel. Toweling yourself dry after a shower is a great way of helping the body to relax, and when you crawl into bed, you will feel clean, fresh and relaxed, having washed away all the trials and tribulations of the day gone by.

7. Talk to Your Friends – Now let’s make this very clear, nobody enjoys listening to someone talking for ages about how tough their life is. We are not suggesting bending your friends’ ears until you have no friends left, which might not take that long! What we are suggesting here is to talk to those of your friends who ‘appear’ to be coping with being busy mums and who inadvertently make you feel you are almost failing. There are two good reasons for chatting to them. First, you are likely to discover they have the same opinion of you and probably see you as some form of Superwoman, while they are only putting on a façade and behind the scenes their life is total chaos. Second, you could well end up with some great advice on easy self-care ideas, and some self care activities for mums that you may not have considered.

If you are a busy working mum, self-care strategies for mums are more important than you realise, as if you are not functioning at 100%, then the whole household won’t function at 100%, and eventually you end up with a vicious circle of stress at home making you unwell and being unwell adds to the stress as you can’t get your usual daily routine completed. Self-care is not the same as being self indulgent. Self care is more a case of looking after yourself, so you can look after everyone else.

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