Mom's Guide to Self-Care: Take a Timeout, Make Time to Be Present
I’m teaching my boys to find what calms them down best. Is it reading in their room? Spending time outside? Singing a song? For meltdowns, I use timeouts less as a punishment and more as a tool to help my kids calm down enough to discuss the most recent upset.
I love applying the timeout concept to adopting a mindfulness practice. As moms, we should also be learning what calms us down and keeps us present.
Why it’s wonderful self-care: Bland says “mindfulness and honesty do make a difference. When you notice what you’re thinking, feeling and doing, you bring your attention to the present moment and stop yourself from flying into past and future fears and expectations.”
Take some time — Sometimes you really do need a timeout. If you’re on the edge with no help on hand, “it’s OK to tell your kids you need a break,” Bland says. “Sit in the bathroom or the car for five minutes with no noise.” You can also be intentional in scheduling alone time. Sparks suggests coordinating a time slot with your partner so you can run kid-free errands once a week and Bland encourages taking yourself on regular dates.
Take a breather — Another practical tip from Bland is deep breathing. “In stressful moments focus on yourself and your breath instead of reacting ineffectively.”
Try this breathing exercise from McLeain:
• Breathe in through the nose for a count of four.
• Hold that breath for a count of seven.
• Slowly let the breath out the mouth for a count of eight.
• Repeat five times.
Bonus: The results are similar to exercise: it allows the brain to oxygenate, thus raising serotonin and lowering cortisol.
Take a walk — Combine the benefits of movement, nature and mindfulness by taking what McLeian calls a focused walk. “This looks like purposefully noticing how many bird sounds there are, what scents float by and the different textures of the rocks and trees.”
Pro tip — Combine all these tips with a yoga class or at-home yoga practice. Make sure to focus on your breath and how your body feels through each movement to stay present during your flow.
Mom's Guide to Self-Care
Support Mental and Physical Health to Create Total Wellness
How to use our guide: We collected tips and tricks for major subsections of self-care: mental health, movement, treats, sleep and mindfulness. Explore and be inspired by our guide to start or tweak your own self-care routine.