Work, home, repeat. That is the routine for many working moms in our society! We flow between being a superwoman in our careers and then switching capes and turning on supermom for at home! It’s no wonder most women feel overwhelmed and on the verge of working mom burnout. We are often left wondering in this crazy busy life, can using self-care activities help a stressed out working mom find balance?
If you are a part-time, work from home, or full time working mom overwhelmed, stressed out, and on the verge of burnout you are probably looking for some way to make all of the things that you are juggling fall in to place. I want to start this post with some encouragement.
It’s OKAY if it falls out of place!
This is really the issue for most of us. At least it is for me. I want everything to remain in place. I play this juggling game, constantly trying to make everything work, constantly neglecting my own wellness in order to maintain the status quo and to keep everything in perfect order.
The main point of this article, is to encourage you mama. You can let the ball drop! It’s okay!
Now that we have that out of the way, lets learn about how we can use self-care and relaxing activities to decrease our stress and incorporate more calm into our lives.
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What is Self-Care?
Self care is the act of doing the things that bring a sense of peace and balance into your life. It’s taking intentional action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Self care isn’t indulgence. It is making the effort to protect your well-being during periods of stress. This can be in many difference aspects of your life.
Are there different types of self-care?
There are 5 different types of self-care each centered around a different areas where stress could affect of your life. All are based on the same principle: intentional actions for maintenance and protecting your health. Self care in these areas to manage the stress. The types of self care are:
- Physical Self-Care
- Emotional Self-Care
- Mental Self-Care
- Spiritual Self-Care
- Professional Self-Care
Is self-care selfish?
To answer this question you have to remember the purpose of self-care. Self-care isn’t indulgence, its an intentional action for your health. Because your preservation is paramount to your ability to help others, then ultimately self care is about being your best so you can be the best for others. Definitely NOT selfish, but dont take my word for it! The bible says this about self-care:
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”Luke 10:27
If you read the last line “love your neighbor the way you love yourself,” then every argument against self care is crushed. If you love others the way you love yourself, but you don’t care for yourself well, its impossible to expect more than that in your treatment of others.
List of self-care activities to help manage stress
If you are feeling similarly stress and the worries are starting to get heavy, try out one or all the following easy to incorporate self-care activities and tips to manage the anxiety and stress.
1. Exercise to a healthier you and get more joy too!
It’s a well-documented fact that exercise can help you achieve and maintain physical health, but a consistent exercise routine can also help with anxiety. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, which are chemicals that act as natural painkillers. With as little as 5 minutes of aerobic exercise you can begin to stimulate anti-stress effects according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
2. Add more fruits and veggies, cut the caffeine
Here we want to maintain a healthy diet; eating multiple colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the day is important. Not only is eating a whole food diet beneficial to your physical health, but it has also been shown to better your mental health, energy and overall productivity.
3. Take a me day and turn your home into your personal spa
Sometimes it is impossible to fit the time you need for self-care into your regularly scheduled routine. When you realize this, it is important to prioritize taking care of you and take the time you need. This could mean turning the kids over to your spouse for a DIY spa day, or taking intentional time off for you from work. Whatever that looks like showing up for yourself and taking the time you need is important.
4. Talk it out, find a professional friend
Many people only consider the things that they can do for themselves self-care. This is not true. Self-Care is anything that is done with the intention of taking care of yourself. Getting a therapist is one of the best things that you can do for yourself as far as getting to the root of anxieties that seem to control more than just a season of your life. If you are interested in seeking a counselor, Christian Counselors Network is a great resource for findings a Christian counselor near you.
5. Get out (or stay in) and serve your community
One of the quickest ways to get our minds off of our troubles and focused on gratefulness, is to serve the community. In the current environment that can be difficult but not impossible. Perhaps its as simple as finding out if your elderly neighbor would like you to do some grocery shopping for them. Maybe also if you are sewing inclined, you could create some cloth masks for health care workers in your neighborhood.
6. Give up trying to control everything, and leave it to God
“I will life up my eyes, from where comes my help, my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”Psalm 121:1-2
Psalm 121 was one of my Grandmothers favorite scriptures, and as I have gotten old and experienced all things adulting, I am encouraged more and more by it. Anxiety hits because we want to control something we can’t. This scripture reminds us that we don’t have to control anything. In fact, we have the option to relinquish control to the one who is in control of it all.
7. Mindfulness and Meditation, also known as Prayer
Pray is our weapon of choice as Christians. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection we were given access to the creator of the universe in prayer. When the worries of this world seem to overtake us, a simple meeting in the presence of our Father in Heaven can remind us how Big he really is, and how much he loves us. If you still are feeling anxious, feel free to pray this prayer for stress and anxiety morning and night and watch how God responds!
8. Journal your emotions
In addition to prayer, journaling is a great way to practice mindfulness and be more conscious of your feelings and emotions. Calling those feelings out helps you to be able to understand those feelings. Journaling can also come in the form of gratitude and other lists that remind you of the many things you can be thankful for.
9. Take a nap
A simple google search of the word rest in the bible gives a result of over 70 scriptures about physical rest. We read on many occasions that Jesus went away by himself to pray, but we also see him alone in the boat sleeping, and in that case, it was always during the storm. We can only conclude that if our savior exhibited to us how to rest in the mess, we should take our sleep seriously, particularly in the midst. Some actionable steps you can take to make you rest more restful are to minimize distractions prior to bed, maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule, and keeping the bedroom dark when sleeping.
10. Reduce your caffeine intake
We also want to focus on minimize the stimulant caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant which increases the autonomic nervous system, affecting wakefulness and the fight or flight response. So while this may increase the chance that you’ll be able to respond to the bear that’s in your backyard (Alaska humor) you may not need that sort of rapid response to reading the current news.
11. Have some girl time to go from stressed out working mom to rock-star
Have you been neglecting your friendships? Has mommying left you feeling a bit isolated from having adult time? You are not alone. If you are starting to feeling icky, call up some girls and grab a easy lunch, or take a fitness class together. The social interaction will be rejuvenating and the time away will give you the breather you need.
Bonus: Live Joyfully
When you are feeling stuck and stressed out. Intentionally focusing on living joyfully can make all the difference. To live joyfully you need to focus on your faith, gratitude, kindness and positivity. By keeping gratitude prayer and the Lord as your priority you can push the stress and negativity away and rest in happiness and contentment.
If you would love a life of joyful living, but lack the tools to see it happen in your life, I recommend checking out the Joyful Living Toolbox from One Exceptional Life. The toolbox includes 70 pages of printables to help you overcome challenges through faith, gratitude & kindness.
The toolbox includes:
- Gratitude journaling pages and over 100 prompts
- Blessings pages
- 30 Scripture cards
- Coloring pages
- Affirmation cards
- And more!!
Check out the Joyful Living Toolbox here
Additional self-care activities for busy working moms
In addition to the list of self-care activities above, you can use these lists of self-care activities to incorporate into your own 365 days of self-care plan! Some of these are fun self-care activities, some are relaxing things to do at home. All have been divided based on the time you have so whether you have lots of time for a self-care day or just a few minutes for a quick self-care activity, this list has something for you!
5 Minute Self-Care Activities
- Make a warm drink
- Brush your hair
- Light a candle
- listen to an upbeat song
- drink a galss of water
- make a to-do list
- give yourself a foot massage
- step outside for some fresh air
- Text someone you love
- 5 minutes focused breathing
- do a cycle of tabata
- Write down 10 things you are grateful for
- Dance party to your favorite song
- Make your bed
- Buy yourself flowers
20 Minute Self-Care Activities
- Call someone you love
- Pamper yourself with a manicure
- Go for a walk
- Spend time sitting in nature
- do a meditation
- Journal your feelings
- Watch a few funny youtube clips
- soak in a bath
- make a DIY face mask
- catch an episode of your favorite show
- Plan your week
- Spend time reading your bible
- Facetime someone
- Create a life binder
- Remove 5 things from your space that you don’t like or use
1 Hours Self-Care Activities
- Binge watch a new drama
- Spend time with friends
- Create a vision board
- do an intense workout
- Go on a hike
- Get a massage
- Read a book
- Listen to a podcast
- Unplug from technology and take a nap
- Do a yoga class
- Organise your wardrobe
- Cook a new meal
- Paint a picture
- Call someone you love
- Do Laundry
Be intentional about practicing self-care
When we feel stressed it is easy to allow those feelings to control how we process everything else. Being intentional about practicing self-care prior to feelings of stress can help minimize the overall effects of stress on our life when the stressors arise.
Do you have any other easy ways to combat the stress of the times? Share your Ideas below, I would love to hear from you!