A Guide To Self Care During The Holidays: The Mom Edition

Posted by Jen Devine on

We're about to make the shift, or maybe most have already made it and I'm a bit behind?! The yearly, seasonal shift into the most enthralling and enchanting time of year.  Our households are shifting from talk of pumpkin carving and costume designing to pumpkin pies and holiday planning.  Sweet sensations begin to fill our homes along with holiday preparation, and yet anxiety over to-do lists, schedules, finances and crowds tend to accompany, and if we're not careful even overshadow, the sweetness of the season we look forward to year-round.

self care for mom Note book with sense and sensibility written on it surrounded by a cup of tea and a candle

How can we as moms be intentional to keep the beauty, peace, and enjoyment of the season stronger and more tangible (to ourselves and our families!) than the stressors that snake their way into the season?  As we design parties, initiate and foster family traditions, search for recipes that meet the requirements for our guests' dietary sensitivities, cook, bake, brainstorm meaningful gifts, shop, cultivate extended family relationships, and maneuver the monthly budget, all the while still loving and serving our families and workplaces in our everyday capacity, it's not surprising that 'overwhelmed' may describe a significant portion of our holiday season. 

I want to make a bold suggestion in hopes of heightening the peaceful nature of this time of year for all of us moms.  The suggestion is bold because it is an addition to our already overly lengthy lists; however, by adding in a simple plan for "mommy self-care" this season, we can enter in, enjoy, and finish in strength what has the potential to defeat and depleate us. 

Those descriptors sound drastic, but we certainly run into and sometimes are these moms who swim with heads barely above water for two months of creating 'perfect' holiday memories for those around us and come up gasping for air after the new year!  This pattern certainty makes it difficult to start the new year in strength and resolve, as we want to!

Therefore, I am suggesting one person be added to your holiday list that has likely been left off year after year- you!  And I don't merely want you added to the bottom of the list, but bumped among the top!  This will serve those around you exponentially, in family and workplace, as you are free to breathe deeply and practice self care throughout this season!  We are tempted to feel guilty when attending to ourselves; however, we are free and encouraged to do so, knowing it will benefit not only ourselves but the whole of our surroundings!

We then, must explore when and how we might become this newfound priority to ourselves!  Whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, or the combination work from home mom, we all have simple rhythms in our days we can begin to see as opportunities to consider ourselves and give extra care to ourselves.  We brush teeth, wash faces, apply make-up, make breakfast, do dishes, have drive time in the car, eat meals, slip away to the restroom, our little ones nap, we do more cooking, we do more dishes, and we get ready for bed.  Let's be clear that I realize these are not all blissfully serene moments of self-reflection, as it can be a great challenge to sneak into the restroom unaccompanied!  These are simply moments that do occur rhythmically that we can use as a baseline to begin finding and making the time for self-care.

Specific ideas that will give attention to our health, peace and stamina through the season follow: this is not a to-do list, but a suggestion list!  No pressure to 'complete' these 'tasks,' but be inspired to choose a few avenues that will meet your specific needs!

1) Breathe deeply.  We can start here because although it takes extra thought, it doesn't take extra time!  Choose to take a deep breath every time you head to the restroom throughout the day!  Even deep breathe for the entire 45 seconds to however many minutes you find yourself in solitude in there!  The car is another great place for deep breathing practice and building deep breathing habits!

2) Take a bath.  Add some salts or favorite relaxation essential oils (a sea salt, lavendar, and frankensense bath is a personal favorite!).  When the kids are in bed, after you straighten the kitchen but before you begin your evening tasks, take 30 minutes to relax and restore what's been depleated through your week. I much prefer a bath with no technology involved, but if you can't get yourself to put off your online shopping until after, you can even accomplish two things at once!

3) Read a book.  Speaking of online shopping, the bombardment of technology during the holiday season is excessive at best and destructive at worst.  We are easily drawn into searching gift lists, browsing online catalogs and deals, endlessly searching for new recipes (most of which will never be made), and flitting through mountains of adorable pictures of celebrations of people we barely know!  If we have a book in progress, we are less likely to steal our brief free moments with internet searching, or attempt to calm our minds when the kids finally get in bed with a screen, but instead with a story!  Mental stimulation coupled with peaceful page-turning!  Choose an old favorite, a classic you've never made it around to reading, or even something nostalgic such as Charlotte's Web or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

4) Consume healthful snacks.  Another bombardment of the season is treats galore! Baked goods, creamy dips, and salty chips will be found in abundance on innumerable occasions.  Please enjoy family favorites and special once a year treats, simply choose not to overindulge!  Make sure to keep a stockpile of healthful snacks (raw nuts, bananas, olives, avocados, etc.) to not arrive at any occasion starving and lacking self-control.

5) Enjoy a cup of tea.  Take time to slow down, smile, laugh, and relax.  Your peaceful demeanor will enhance your holiday season and will seep much-welcomed into those around you!

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