Self-care tips that help you thrive as a stay at home mom (SAHM)
The idea for self-care and the importance of it all is seen across the internet. we know the importance of self-care, the benefits that come with it and there are plenty of ideas on self-care for moms.
But are you practicing self-care merely to survive? or would you like to thrive?
Let’s take a look at the list below:
- do you sometimes struggle to practice self-care at all?
- do you practice self-care only when you feel low?
- have you sometimes put self-care aside thinking it’s okay to skip this?
- do you require people to ‘step-in’ every time you practice self-care?
- do you sometimes think it is too luxurious to do that certain self-care activity consistently?
If you agree to at least 3 out of the 5, then you are not placing a lot of well-deserving self-care onto yourself. And you may have put yourself in the position of surviving motherhood.
Once you understand practicing self-care with the right mindset, you will inevitably thrive in motherhood.
Before we move on, I’d like you to download my 20+ page journal. It will help you cover topics from self-care, to personal growth, gratitude and many more. Grab a copy below, it’s FREE, and you’re welcome.
Why self-care may not be working for you
Okay so before I get the lowdown on how to thrive as a mom with good self-care, we need to identify what’s stopping us from thriving in the first place.
You need to understand that even though you may be practicing self-care all this while, it may not be working for you.
Let’s look into the list below on why we might not be thriving in the first place.
No. 1 You only focus on basic needs
While focusing on basic needs is indeed the minimum requirement for a mom to have enough energy to go by your day (water, food, and rest).
There are also other fundamental needs we need to consider in our self-care regime that we might have forgotten or never thought of as an important need to be incorporated into our lives as a new mom.
- social aspect: the need to belong, the need to be intimate, the need to connect and love.
- intellect aspect: feeling achieved/accomplished, having good self-esteem about ourselves, and respect of self and of others, time for ourselves
- self-actualization aspect: achieving one’s full potential, desire in becoming the most that we can be
- and last but not least, safety aspect: in-country stability, financial stability, your safety at home, or in the neighborhood. (This need is unique and I will not be addressing this need in this post for it is a different topic, different issue, and different way of handling altogether.)
These may not seem life-threatening, but lose it all and it can threaten one’s life.
I know I’m being dramatic here, the point is, these areas are equally important to our needs, and when met as many categories as possible, you will inevitably thrive in whatever you do.
If you’re looking to practice self-care, my printable Feel Good journal below helps you do just that! Click on the image below for more details!
Confusing self-care vs. me-time
You might be wondering, that there is no difference. And here I say, there is.
Self-care is about taking an active role in preserving one’s own wellbeing and happiness, taking care of oneself, meeting your various needs, especially during stressful times. This is where you maintain yourself.
Me-time on the other hand is about doing what you want in your own time and enjoyment. It is doing leisure activities that are outside of basic needs. This is where you treat and pamper yourself.
See the difference?
One of the mistakes is that we might confuse the two, and only practice either one of them.
Have self-care (maintenance) and you might be wondering why you still feel lacking in your ‘needs’. Feeling guilty for wanting ‘more’.
Practice only pampering yourself and you might be wonder “This is unsustainable”. I can’t be doing this all the time because it takes too much time, it’s costly, or it’s too luxurious for every day.
This is because the frequency for both differs. One is a frequent practice while the other is occasional, both are equally important to include in a mom’s life.
Here’s a closeup on some of my printable feel good journal pages.
Not fully understanding the meaning of self-care
Why I say this is because I realized that I never really understand the meaning of self-care and how to practice self-care.
I used to think about doing what I love every day is supposed to make me feel good. And when I don’t do it, I feel bad for ‘falling behind’ on my self-care.
And when I did do it, it felt forceful because my mind was not present due to pressing issues at hand.
This was when I realized in self-care, it is not about doing what we should do, or the right way to go about it.
It is doing what we need, at the time when we need it, and how long we decide to do it for ourselves.
My mistake was to force what, how often, and for how long I should be practicing self-care.
Practicing self-care that does not make sense to you
Another mistake I made was to follow a ‘prescribed’ suggestion to the tee. I realized that it wasn’t working for me.
I used to read “connecting with family and friends at least 3 times a week”, and I failed horribly at that.
Because I am quite introverted. One call once a week to a friend or loved one is enough for me to last my social needs for the next 2 weeks.
So you can see why I failed miserably at that and felt so bad for not wanting to socialize more frequently than I ‘should’.
Mind you, it is still a fact that we need social interaction with people. I still need my social needs met, just not as frequently or the same way the social butterflies would.
If you need help with some quality reflection, my self-reflection journal contains prompts that will allow you to discover yourself in a way you’d never think of!
Not prioritizing all aspects of self-care as a necessity
I think this is an obvious reason why your self-care practices may not be helping you to thrive, it is because we do not prioritize it as a necessity and hence putting it off on another day or not meet the needs altogether.
As a mom, it is very easy to forget about ourselves.
Looking at the list below, what are your basic necessity that you might have ignored?
- taking a shower
- eating substantial meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- drinking water
- having clean clothes to wear
- connecting with family and friends
- having enough sleep (I know this is harder said than done, bear with me, I will work on a post on taking back your time and energy.)
On another level, which are the needs below that you might have not considered at all?
- the need to respect yourself and your own role as a mother
- the autonomy to make decisions confidently as a mother even when you’re not sure what you’re doing
- the need to grow, discover and be on an adventure (figuratively)
- the ability to express yourself in a way that makes you feel you
- the need to feel a sense of purpose as yourself and a mother
The second part of the list is more abstract and is probably not on everyone’s list of self-care needs. You may also think this is a luxury and we should only entertain these thoughts occasionally.
This is where I say it is not true. For this was the mistake I made once and lost myself in the process of motherhood.
Thinking it is short term
If you look at self-care as a short term thing like taking a quick pill to boost your mood, it may work temporarily, but you’d soon be down in the dumps again. The truth is, the need to meet our needs is a consistent affair.
We always need rest, have a connection with our loved ones, or want to be on an adventure (figuratively). It is just a matter of when and what’s the frequency of them being met.
Some require more frequency than others, but none will ever be put aside.
Self-care is a long process and a consistent one at that. Think of self-care as a maintenance rather than a clock-in clock-out thing.
Knowing this may help you frame your mind differently on how you perceive self-care.
It is to be woven in your life as a habit, and when it becomes second nature to you, you’d thrive effortlessly no matter the circumstance.
Here’re some closeups on my self-reflection journal.
Practicing self-care that allows you to thrive
So our focus here is to thrive as a mom, we’ve been surviving for too long and it’s about time we turn the tides to our favor.
Identify ALL your needs
I believe this is the obvious first step.
- List out what are the needs you are lacking, missing, or needed more of
- Identify what causes the need not being met
- Draw out an action plan on how to regain/ fulfill those needs
For example one of my major need is not having energy, sleep and time (I chose this because they were interrelated).
The main cause was my baby’s dependence on me to fall asleep, and her bad day and night sleep.
My action plan was to look into baby sleep training, this way she no longer depends on me to sleep, she’d get better quality of sleep, and could go back to sleep if she ever wakes up on her own in the middle of the night.
Learn what is baby sleep training before deciding it is not for you. Here’s a tip, it does not always involve crying.
Just doing this alone has given me back a lot of sleeping hours, energy, and time because she now sleeps independently, and sleeps well for both her naps and bedtimes.
Now my needs in regards to time, energy, and sleep have been restored. Not just one day, but for a long time. Self-care? check.
Coming up with a self-care solution that serves you long run
I know from my example above, it does not sound like the traditional way of going about self-care. The traditional way of approaching self-care would:
“If you’re tired all the time, go take a break and rest, have someone to step in to help while you nap. “
The problem here is, solutions like these are not permanent, they act as a band-aid.
Self-care is something that maintains your overall wellbeing, sanity, and life, it is not about getting someone to step in while you’re in a pinch.
That’s not self-care, that’s putting out fires, an emergency. And it is oh so exhausting and unsustainable.
The idea here is to look into a self-care action plan as a long term solution to your wellbeing rather than a band-aid.
Finding permanent solutions to your current problems is the best way of taking care of not just yourself, but your future self.
Your future self will thank you!
Below are my bundle series (Mom journal is excluded from this bundle). Each Journal tackles slightly different aspects of our lives. From gaining clarity to feeling good, to quality self-reflection. If you want a holistic approach to self-care in your journaling experience, this bundle will help you get there.
Factor in BOTH self-care and me-time for yourself
So after learning the difference between self-care and me-time, it is important to factor in both in your life.
In order to help you remember or kickstart a habit of self-care and me-time:
- Start by listing out what you need for self-care and what you need for me-time.
- Some require a system in place, while some to put into a calendar or schedule. Identify which items required what.
- Go ahead and set up a system for yourself, or loosely draw out a schedule, or plan something ahead and lock into your phone calendar on a repeat mode.
Whatever it is, the point here is to input both needs in your life, and averagely renews every month or whatever suit you.
Attune to your self-care and me-time needs
So why I bring this up is because to each is their own when it comes to personal needs.
I remember making the mistake of forcing myself to craft and it repelled me from practicing it all together.
What I really wanted to do at that time was to tidy up the house, but I was supposed to do watercolor. I remember feeling torn and denied my need to clean the house.
I know this sounds weird, it’s weird even to me and that’s why I ignored it at that time.
One day I decided to ignore the ‘should’ and gone ahead and tidy up the house during my free time, in the end, I felt good.
I was feeling very happy about the tidy home and felt a sense of achievement at the end.
I couldn’t quite pinpoint if it was a self-care or me-time. But the bottom line is, I felt good and I should have listened to my body sooner.
If you’re new to journaling, grab my FREE 20+ journal that has a little bit of everything from my journal series. This will be a good place to start and find which aspect of the journaling series you need for yourself.
Knowing that practicing self-care is not an option but a necessity
One of the easiest ways to practice self-care and thrive is when you believe it is part of your life and not an option to opt-out.
However, it is easier said than done. Hence practice that mentality to get there.
Conclusion on mom self-care tips
The important overview here is:
- Treating self-care as a necessity.
- Focus on all your needs from basic self-care needs, social needs, intellectual needs, self-actualization needs, and me-time needs.
- Prioritizing not just the basic needs but all the needs listed here as part of a holistic self-care.
- Take self-care as a habit that requires consistency to take effect
- Listen to your body and attune to your needs
- Come up with a self-care regime/plan/solutions that work and make sense to you.
- Look into self-care solutions that serve you in the long run.
And last but not least take whatever information here that serves you and makes sense to you.
These are my two cents on self-care.
I look forward to hearing what you think about my version of self-care.
If you are experienced in practicing self-care and have new ideas to share, I’d be happy to read your input!
RELATED: Methods for sleep training your baby
Before you go, don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of this 20+ page free journal!