Honest Mum

We’re all so busy, parenting is 24/7, that even if you’re not with your kids for 24/7, it’s hard to truly switch off.

The hustle of being a working parent, or otherwise, is REAL people, we’re all trying our best, winning at life some days, failing at others, always trying to be as strong as we can while often leaving ourselves at the bottom of the priority pile.

Well, it’s just not GOOD ENOUGH OK!

I’m guilty of all of the above but I’ve taken action, yes, it’s only been 4 days but it’s a start and I feel better for it. What did I do? I’ve actually scheduled TIME OUT for me. Yes, really.

You see if I’ve got time to faff around on Facebook (non work-related, posting cat pictures in the hope my husband will give in to my kitten-pleas) I’ve got time to go for a run, do a ten minute yoga session or do as I did yesterday, and have a 45 minute massage. Uh-huh.

By doing these small but important activities, the self-care rituals part, of my otherwise busy day, means I’m looking after number 1 which isn’t selfish, but necessary.

I have an equal relationship with my husband, we both get up in the night if we need to with the kids, and we parent 50/50- so that means we both have to ensure we get time to ourselves to restore those sapping energy levels.

Just because you BECAME a parent, doesn’t mean you stopped being HUMAN, or worse, turned into a SUPERHUMAN.

So go give yourself some self-care and LOOK AFTER YOU.

I literally cannot stop shouting. Sorry, I’m mostly shouting at myself as we must all make ourselves a priority. Please?

Good.

Here are my tips to help you self-care yourself silly with!

1.EAT NOURISHING FOOD

I’m obsessed with tasty, nutritious, filling and exciting food. I have tonnes of quick, easy and delicious recipes for you and your family HERE that you can rustle up to help nourish your body and mind.

My latest collaborator (post coming soon), registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist of LEC Nutrition, Laura Clark explains the importance of good food below:

 ‘As a parent it can be easy to fall to the bottom of the pecking order. Take a few minutes to prioritise your own eating habits – throwing snacks in your bag for the children? Throw a healthy banana in there for you too. Long gap between lunch and dinner because of that after school taxi service you run – take a snack box with wholegrain oatcakes and reduced fat hummus to prevent over hunger and large portions late at night. Every little helps as they say, to control your blood glucose levels and make you feel more in control as a result’.

Food can change your mood, fuels your body and brain and should be of the slow releasing, balanced and flavoursome variety to support and strengthen your good self.

2. EXERCISE

Stop making excuses, exercise doesn’t have to be hard, too time consuming, or make you feel horrendously worn out after either.

I love swimming, but I literally cannot function after a swim. I don’t know what it does to me (is being too relaxed a thing?)-I just become zombie-like post swim which is fine on a Saturday afternoon, but mid-week, is a killer when I need to be my productive self.

So I run in the morning or before lunch, something I find personally energises me (find the sport you love) and I try and do 10 minutes of yoga in my day, or before bed to chill out and wind down.

Scared to start running? My great pal, fab blogger Mirka of Fitness4Mamas advises, ‘If you are a beginner, and have never run before, start with power-walking. Once you become fitter, you can alternate power waking with running. Soon you will be able to run all the way’.

Importantly-
‘Make sure you warm up and stretch before and after every run to prevent injuries. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Also, don’t let the weather prevent you. Plan your runs on the same day every week and try to stick to your schedule’.

Yoga-wise

I’m a little bit in love with Yoga with Adriene’s channel, as are 1 million other subscribers. Her Yoga at Your Desk video means anyone can get some deep breaths going on, whatever your schedule.

My great friend Zaz who is a qualified yoga instructor and founder of incredible blog Mama and More and the All About You linky promoting personal wellbeing shares her tips for poses to help you sleep HERE.

She says,
‘Our lives are spent either physically rushing, or else mentally churning through lists, regrets, tasks, worries, simply, noise. Compound this with the stimulation of electronic devices (including the tv!), and sleep can feel elusive or sometimes unfulfilling and never enough! …’

‘Simple yoga techniques, such as a sequence of certain poses done before bed can relax and lengthen the muscles, and bring your mind to stillness. Regular yoga brings huge benefits – as well as improving muscle tone through increasing flexibility and building strength through weight bearing poses, there are also breathing techniques to help to better equip us to deal with stress, while breath combined with specific asana (postures) releases endorphins (yay, happy hormones!) to lift the spirits, and also calms the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing stress hormones and bringing us to the present as you focus on the breath and specifics of each pose’.

I also want to try meditation-

The wise and wonderful Jess of Mrs Helicopter Writes says her favourite thing is listening to her Omvana meditation app before she goes to sleep.

‘Especially the 6 phase meditation which asks you to forget negative ‘charges’ e.g. it talks you through negative experiences in the day like a row with the kids or your husband or a rude shop assistant and calls upon you to recall 5-10 things you are grateful for in the day. I love that because then I drift off to sleep thinking positive happy things, even if the day itself has been a pain’.

3. GET CREATIVE

Art makes contributes to happiness. Fact. Don’t believe me, then read THIS as empirical evidence shows that making art affects the brain in a positive way and enhances stress resistance.

I used to paint a lot, I even exhibited and sold in London galleries but then life got in the way (enter work as a filmmaker, kids, blogs….).

Getting the oil paints out seemed too messy and too much trouble, and along the way, I lost a part of something within me that was always important to me-to paint, to draw, to create. Coupled with a lack of confidence (the less frequent you do something, the more scared you are to start/again) meant not painting and doing what made me happy. BUT, I’m digging out the paints and canvases from the garage this weekend and I’m going for it.

I am also rather in love with colouring books too, it’s something I can do with my kids and I’m determined to get my hands on the Vogue one lots of you have recommended to me.

4. BOOK A MASSAGE

There’s nothing I love more than a strong Swedish massage, and having one yesterday made me realise I have to schedule these in more regularly. Just time out in a busy day to de-stress and forget about everything for a window of time.

5. HEAD FOR A CULTURE HIT

I love wandering round galleries, visiting museums, heading to the opera and enjoying the theatre and cinema- I want to be moved, transported across time, place, geography and mindset. Witnessing our lives or those of others touches, frees, awakens us while often enabling us to cathartic-ally face our fears an achieve our dreams vicariously-feeling more content as a result.

6.  CARVE OUT QUALITY TIME FOR THOSE YOU LOVE

I’m strict when it comes to work. Once my kids are home, my laptop is off unless it’s an urgent deadline. I need to switch off, be present and hang out with my favourite people. It brings me, and them, joy and I need to ensure my children have a strict routine and feel loved and appreciated.

I don’t allow guilt to eat me up, I work from home and have a busy work-life. It is about compromise and doing what works for you.

7. DO SOMETHING NEW

Want to learn a new language, learn to play an instrument or even start salsa/street dancing? It’s never too late. Go do something just for you, that will help you to stretch yourself, expand your mind and which will push you out of your comfort zone. A new class will help you build self-esteem and even make new friends. I want to brush up on my Italian so would like to start a class pronto!

8. SHAKE YOUR BOOTY

Music is EVERYTHING in this house and it’s a SLOW day here if we don’t break out in dance to my man Pharrell. Carving out girlie time as well as date nights with my (real) man is important to. It’s about quality time with people you can be yourself with.
Hayley of Families in Sync agrees. ‘I  love planning in girls nights and meals/time away with the hubby to give me things to look forward to’.

9. READ ACTUAL BOOKS

Don’t start with me, about your kindle, I’m sure it’s ah-mazing and you love being able to read on the go but I’m a soft or hard back kind of girl, always was, always will be. I need to feel pages in my fingertips and reading in the bath means it’s got to be standard books. I know the crinkly pages are a pain but bath bubbles and books are the way forward.

Amanda of super site Ginger Mum agrees with me, ‘Kids in bed, grab a Grazia and sink low into that bath to ease my aching muscles!’

I usually have three books on the go at the same time and am currently multi-reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (for the second time), Kirsty Smith’s hilarious ‘How to Have a Baby and Not Lose Your S****’ and vividly romantic ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ by Nina George.

10. GIVE YOUR HAIR SOME TLC (BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT *SWISHES MANE)

I had to end on my hair-washing it is therapy to me (kinda) and I’m not alone. Pamela of awesome blog Life with Munchers is with me on the mane maintenance chilling here out. ‘My little me time is simply washing my hair. The shower is on…I can’t hear anything but my own thoughts. I may eek it out a bit, although my hair is genuinely thick, so that’s my excuse’. 

My joyful mate Michelle of inspiring blog The Joy Chaser agrees, ‘Regular, quality time out for relaxing, reading, yoga or just getting a fabulous blow-dry is so important to me. But I also strongly believe in making a little space for myself every day with my 8 happiness habits including meditation, inspiration, gratitude and celebrating every little success. They’re like little happiness hugs I give myself’.

I love my pal, brilliant blogger Helen of Mummy Mode’s wise words too, ‘I once read that you should always speak to yourself as you would your best friend, affirming how amazing you are and what you have achieved.Sometimes this is easier said than done, but I try reminding myself of it if I feel low. We can be our own harshest critic, yet we need to value and love ourselves more than anyone in the world.We wouldn’t undermine or doubt our best friend, so we mustn’t do it to ourselves.’

‘Failing that, a minute to breathe and lock the door on the world with a long soak often does the trick for me’.
Love, love, love those ideas.

I also adore these words by Audre Lorde, a facebook fan Donna kindly shared  with me- ‘I have come to believe caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival’.

YES!

I’d love to read your thoughts and any tips to encourage and inspire us all to self-care more in the comments. Let’s help each other put ourselves first, for the sake of everyone else an us of course, because it’s lush looking after yourself!

 

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64 Responses

  1. Lisa Backsnbumps

    Great post, with a 6 week old baby I’m struggling at the mo, it’s a bit of a shock to the system when the boys are 7 & 8 I got used to having me time again. Still I actually dried my hair with styling products and straighteners the other day , little things like that make a difference!

    Reply
  2. Katherine Kowalski

    Thank you for this post! Thanks to you for helping me discover Adriene. I’ve wanted to try yoga for years now but am too self-conscious to go to the yoga class across the road with all the surfers who can do headstands. I just know I’d be the fat one at the back who falls over in downward facing dog or farts during relaxation.

    Oh, and I put an apple in my bag this morning 🙂

    Reply
  3. Annette - 3 Little Buttons

    Thank you for your inspiring ideas, I find it so hard to find time to do things for myself, and when I do, it’s often mixed with guilt because I could have been doing x, y or z. I completely agree that it’s so important to do this though. #brilliantblogposts
    Annette – 3 Little Buttons recently posted…DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath – A Love for Craft campaignMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Juliet McGrattan

    This is an important post. We must never underestimate the importance of taking this time for ourselves. So many of the women I see who suffer with stress, anxiety and depression have spent too long giving and giving and not taking anything. The benefits of those brief moments of self care are vital in maintaining our health, both physical and mental (the two are closely intertwined). It’s great to read everyone’s tips and favourites. Essential not indulgence I’d say. Great post Vicky. X
    Juliet McGrattan recently posted…Looking back at 2015 and drooling with excitement at 2016!My Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      So important Juliet, it is vital to look after ourselves, great to hear from a GP’s perspective, so sad to see so many women putting themselves last xx

      Reply
  5. sarah

    I nodded along with everyone. I know your right and I need to do some self care but like you said my excuse I don’t have the time lol but I do. Definitly gonna make a bit more effort from now on 🙂 thanks hun xx

    Reply
  6. Silly Mummy

    I do need to do this more. Really would like to find enough time to start running again, but I always try to do everything all the time at home & with kids, so I have no time left. #brilliantblogposts
    Silly Mummy recently posted…Toddler MathematicsMy Profile

    Reply
  7. Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    Ha! Swimming does the same to me, Vicki! Cardio gets the endorphins racing. I’ve been making a concerted effort to take more care of myself these past few weeks – healthier food choices, making time to read, and to draw. So simple, but I feel a bit better.

    Oh and Oscar our new cat helps too – tell Peter you need one too!

    Fab post and advice Vicki xxx

    Reply
  8. Hayley - Downs Side Up

    I love it when you remind us gently to nurture ourselves Vicki. I have been guilty of head down non-stop work recently and am going to make some time for me after reading this. Thank you lovely x

    Reply
  9. Franki ~ Little Luca & Me

    I’m so bad at this but so badly need it! It’s on my to do list this year to try to ensure I actually do it. So far I’ve jumped into a few bubble baths and started reading some new books (real ones, I too can’t handle a kindle), but I need to make more of an effort for sure.

    Reply
  10. Stephanie

    Isn’t it bad that we have to MAKE ourselves think about taking time out for ourselves. We so easily get forgotten about don’t we. I have decided this year to take a little bit more time for myself, even if it is just starting off with taking 2 minutes out to look after my skin. I have purchased some nice new products, and getting into a routine and sticking to it. I can already see a improvement.
    Stephanie recently posted…Valentines Day Gift GuideMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Debbie

    Hi Vicki, great tips as usual. Morning runs always make me feel good and revived, although saying that I opted out this morning as the wind is blowing a hooley!

    It is daft the amount of parents who encourage healthy eating in their children, but neglect themselves, surely the best way to teach our children to eat better is by eating better ourselves? I do enjoy eating relatively healthily, but enjoy our Fridays (our not so healthy eating days) just as much.

    OooOOOO for Christmas I got a lovely adult colouring book and will take time out to have a little colour when feeling stressed, it really is a brilliant way of taking a step back and winding down.

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Roasted Red Pepper And Fresh Tomato Soup RecipeMy Profile

    Reply
  12. Laura

    Love this! Self-care is SO important. I’ve written a few posts on it myself actually. Thanks for sharing #brillblogposts

    Reply
  13. ShoeboxofM

    Good post. We’re guilty of making sure that the kids are fed but forgetting to make sure we are fed too. Doesn’t help with the mood or when the 4pm meltdown kicks off!

    I’ve downloaded the Headspace app and have so far managed one session on the train. I was surprised at how useful just a ten minute beginners meditation lesson was. Definitely helped calm the chaos in my head and good for getting back to sleep after the night feed!

    In ye olden days I used to unwind by playing guitar but it’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to do that as much I would like. Something I intend to remedy!

    Reply
  14. Tracey Williams

    Loved reading this post and I totally agree we need to look after ourselves. I go swimming 3 times a week which is my ‘me time’. Its funny how you say it totally relaxes you into a zombie state as I feel it invigorates me and sets me up for the day. Though I did swim yesterday evening and I found it so much harder than straight after the school run.
    Tracey Williams recently posted…Giveaway – win a Family Ticket to Paradise Island Adventure GolfMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh that’s so lovely, I don’t know why swimming always makes me so sleepy, I’m like a koala bear after a swim! ha. So important to find time for you x

      Reply
  15. Jess Helicopter

    OK so I neeeeeeed the Vogue colouring book and you definitely need a kitten or two! They are good for your health! You tell that husband of yours that marriages are stronger in houses with pets!!! Hehe! I agree with so many of these points. You have to look after yourself to be able to be the best you can. And of course thank you for mentioning my hippy dippy meditation. It really is a blissful way to go to sleep. 🙂 xxxx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Me too and I def need a kitten, that or a baby! Hahaha! Love your meditation app, gotta to get that, thanks lovely for contributing and sharing xxx

      Reply
  16. Sara at Handy Herbs

    This post has got me thinking and I definitely need some me time! Some great ideas here. I love yoga but need to do it more religiously and I never seem to have time to read which is one of my favourite things to do. I never seem disciplined enough to make sure I fit in some me time. I will try harder having read this post as I agree with it being very important for many different reasons! Thanks for the kick up the .. #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Sara at Handy Herbs recently posted…4 Healthy Valentine Snacks for KidsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Haha my pleasure, so crucial we find time just for us and get into the routine of it so it happens enough to really make a difference xx

      Reply
  17. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Wonderful post and so very important to encourage us all to recharge and replenish! I have been getting up an hour earlier for the last month to do yoga and meditation before the house rises, and that hour in the morning feels like sacred me-time! Love doing my pre-bed yoga routine as well! Great tips, and thank you so much for including me, delighted to be part of this!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks darling for your wisdom, I’m going to start getting up before the kids too. Thank you for the inspiration, as always 🙂

      Reply
  18. laura dove

    Great post and one I should really pay attention to! With four children I am definitely guilty of neglecting myself and forgetting that actually, it is SO important for me to be healthy and happy so that I can be a better Mummy to the children. I’m going to try and set more time aside for myself and look after myself a little better, thank you! xx

    Reply
  19. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)

    I agree with you whole heartedly. The last two years have been so hard since I’ve had two children with medical issues and I have rarely had a moment just for me. But now that they are four and two things are just starting to get a little easier and for the past three weeks I have been taking a little more care of myself and a little time out for me. I have been eating healthier and I have been exersizing and next week I am going to start jogging g with a friend. I am even finding the time to give myself a manicure once a week (once the kids are in bed) and I feel so much better for these small changes.I just wish I could sleep better at night. Maybe I should start yoga or go for a massage since I do find it hard to relax.

    Thanks for hosting #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      So good to hear you are taking time for you. I am sorry to read about your children’s medical issues and hope things are ok. Definitely do yoga before bed and a massage really helped me relax the other day xxx

      Reply
  20. Babes about Town

    These are pretty much the things I get up to when I need self-care so feeling rather smug (except for the part of actually scheduling the time for it). It’s a big promise to myself for 2016 so thanks for the nudge. Love that you’re getting the paints out again, free your creativity lady, all of it! And you ended with a quote by one of my absolute favourite poets, telling me again that I need to return to writing more poetry too. Love you lady, thanks for this x
    Babes about Town recently posted…London Kids Weekend Scoop (Feb 4-7, 2016)My Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw so touched by your words darling, you are amazing and I love you too. Please start writing poetry again-and I’ll start painting and we’ll put on a poetry/art event together xx

      Reply
  21. Sarah - Craft Invaders

    I love the ethos of this post, and all the tips, especially the positive thinking ones. I’m good in some areas, but could still improve – particularly with the relaxing before bed (I have definitely got into the blogger screen late into the night, followed by racing brain in bed habit!) so I will try out some yoga before bed, I think that sounds a great idea. I actually had an amazing facial yesterday, and like you thought I should really do this more often!

    Reply
  22. Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas @Kahanka

    Absolutely LOVE this post hun, and so proud to be part of this. Some amazing advice and tips. We really do need to look after ourselves more and make more time just for ourselves. Like the idea of listening to meditation using before bed, need to give that a go too. xxxx

    Reply
  23. John Adams

    1, 2 and 5 for me please! I k now I am always rushing around and must make more time for myself. A timely reminder Vicki. Thanks for hosting #BriliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  24. Katie

    working on a few of these at the moment! great tips

    #brilliantblogpost
    Katie recently posted…My Fat Journey: Week 4 Weigh InMy Profile

    Reply
  25. Mummy Fever

    I need to get better at this – this week I have run two baths with lovely bath bombs and they’ve gone cold #brilliantblogposts
    Mummy Fever recently posted…Carrot, apple and lemon juiceMy Profile

    Reply
  26. Alice

    I wrote about this very subject last week! Me time is incredibly important to mums, I always say that we can’t fully look after other people unless we’re dedicated to looking after ourselves. I’d go mad without me time! http://morethantoast.org/2016/01/the-power-of-me-time/

    Reply
  27. Emma

    Love this and very true, we need to look after ourselves and show ourselves some love too.No more excuses for lack of exercise! #brilliantblogpost
    Emma recently posted…Tips for going on a cruise with your familyMy Profile

    Reply
  28. Ebabee

    Fabulous post. Wise words from you and all the ladies you quoted. It is so important to look after ourselves and that reminds me I need to book in a massage very soon! I am re-starting my yoga tomorrow (Zaz is always so inspiring). For me another ‘me time’ I love is having friends over and feeding them and just laughing, chatting and being together. Need to do more of the things we love. Great post and look forward to seeing more on your new collaboration xx

    Reply
  29. Sarah Admissions of a Working Mother

    Two weeks ago I took a whole day off work and spent it on my own. I did some housework and put up some curtains in the morning. Then I took myself out to lunch, to a movie and then late night shopping. I walked around in glorious silence for 12 hours, my will entirely my own. It really recharged me and helped me relax. I’m going to do it again next month!

    Reply
  30. Katy

    Fabulous post – it’s so important to take the time to look after yourself but it’s so easy for life to throw things at you that force you to put yourself to the bottom of the list without really noticing. I love a nice hot bath and a face mask, or a solo shopping trip, or getting out in the garden for a good weeding session. Your last point was a reminder that I really do need a haircut though!
    Katy recently posted…Facebook Motherhood Challenge and the Motherhood BacklashMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Wise words Katy and you are so right about life getting in the way but I know when I prioritise a few small things for me in the week I’m a much happier person and I feel stronger too (love gardening too)x

      Reply
  31. Emma

    These are some wonderful tips – I have recently been trying to self care more as I am terribly guilty of forgetting about that kind of thing. Definitely going to put some of these into practice, I’ve never had a massage before!
    Emma recently posted…Dear Baby…My Profile

    Reply
  32. Michelle Reeves (The Joy Chaser)

    Vicki another awesome post my darling – so proud to be part of it. Love everyone’s wise words,yoga great healthy food (I’m a convert to a regular juice cleanse too), time out and positive words all make such a difference to our busy busy days don’t they. Can’t wait to hear more from your new collaboration too xx

    Reply

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