Self-Care is NOT Selfish: Don’t Forget YOU

I’m your average working (though I am extremely fortunate to work from home) mom. I’m sleep deprived, often forget to eat, & constantly put myself last in the hierarchy of things to do. It doesn’t take an expert to know that how I often do things isn’t the best way, and that’s why I’m constantly trying to juggle what needs to be done and what can be left for tomorrow. My house isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, because we live here. I don’t spend nearly enough time training our new puppy — but she get’s tons of love and attention. There are days when the boys and I stay in our jammies ALL day, and it’s simply because I’m not a robot and sometimes I just need to take it easy. Here’s the deal moms and dads: Self-Care is NOT Selfish! If, you don’t take care of you — you aren’t in the best shape to take care of everyone else, and in case you weren’t already aware. . . Your family depends on you.

So, buckle up buttercup, let’s talk about taking better care of ourselves so we can take the best care of our littles.

Sleep Deprivation is NO Joke

 

 

With motherhood comes less sleep, and I’m not just talking about newborn babies. Mommies-to-be need more sleep and often find it hard to sleep because they can’t get comfortable with a human growing inside of them, moms of preschoolers and toddlers, preteens and high schoolers too, are also dragging it. Let’s face it – as a mom and parent, sleep doesn’t always come easy, no matter how old our kids are.

According to the experts at WebMD, the biggest culprit in moms losing sleep is that we tend to stay up way too late after we’ve put our little ones down. I know this to be true for myself. The fact is, I love my nights. Night time is when I get EVERYTHING done. After, the boys go to bed I have time to do all the things I couldn’t focus on earlier that day. College turned me into a night owl and most of my best work comes from a good night up. Mornings just aren’t as productive for me as I’d like because as soon as my boys hear me up. . . They’re up too and that’s the end of work for me. Nights are the only time I can truly devote to myself because during the day I give my all to my boys, and what we’re doing.

The problem is, apparently, we don’t take sleep deprivation seriously enough. Sleep is more important than we think it is.

The Health Effects of Losing Sleep are Steep

 

According to Ronald Kramer, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, we need to think of getting enough sleep as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising. All are important to our health (Griffin, 2010).

 

Prolonged sleep deprivation is linked to:

  • Poor work performance
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Heart disease

From what I’ve read, basically, most diseases and health problems are made worse by or connected to a lack of sleep. So, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. I give you permission to take naps as needed.

The Benefits Speak for Themselves

The best reason there is to make sure you’re getting in all of your Zzz’s is being there. If, you’re well rested you’ll be more aware, more involved, and more productive.

I know that when I’m well-rested I seem to accomplish way more in a day that when I’m not. That never-ending to-do list is easy to slam out when I’ve slept well the night before. For example, yesterday and the day before I was absolutely exhausted. So exhausted I was on the verge of being sick. It’s taken two days to recover from a week-long of doing too much without resting properly at night.

I went to bed early last night (even though I didn’t really want to) and I feel so much better today! I have done more today than I did in the last four days combined (I hardly did anything yesterday and the day before I felt so awful). I swept and mopped the house, I did some laundry, I even took a shower and shaved my legs! That’s a good day. Any day I get in a shower that includes deep conditioning my hair and shaving my legs is a great day. I’m up, dressed and ready to rock and roll through the rest of my day.

Other Benefits of Sleep:

  • Sleep more & eat less (like 300 less). . . this might be enough of a reason for me to go to bed early every night!
  • Sleep more & get smarter. . . Your brain organizes all the information you’ve learned during the day at while you sleep!
  • Sleep more & be happier. . . more sleep leads to increased energy and a more positive attitude
  • Sleep more & get sick less. . . those who get at least 8 hours of sleep each night are 3 times less likely to catch a cold!
  • Sleep more & give your heart a break. . . while we sleep our heart gets a break too because our BP dips as we snooze.

So, don’t take it from me, take it from the experts – sleep is incredibly important to our health.

Take a Time Out

There’s a lot of information and even more ideas out there about how to relax, but it really depends on the person. I love to color but I haven’t done that since Charlie was born three years ago. My biggest challenge in taking time-outs is time and space. I have some beautiful outdoor spaces to hang out in, I just can’t quite hang out there yet. . . because my boys are too little to be left alone for too long without some supervision. Eventually, I will be able to spend more time in my peaceful spaces and enjoy all the hard work I’ve been putting in to make those spaces as amazing as they are. I don’t have a place inside that’s “mine,” so I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

Everything inside is shared and there is no spare room for hiding let alone taking a time out. My best strategy for alone time at the moment consists of announcing that I’m “going to the bathroom.” This is my time right now. . . hiding in the bathroom playing Block Puzzle on my phone while the world outside the door often sounds like World War Toddler Edition.love to color but I haven’t done that since Charlie was born three years ago. My biggest challenge in taking time-outs is time and space. I have some beautiful outdoor spaces to hang out in, I just can’t quite hang out there yet. . . because my boys are too little to be left alone for too long without some supervision. Eventually, I will be able to spend more time in my peaceful spaces and enjoy all the hard work I’ve been putting in to make those spaces as amazing as they are. I don’t have a place inside that’s “mine,” so I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

Making my spaces kid friendly so I can relax is my biggest goal. So, while working in The Berry Patch is something we can all do together, adding a play set to the Patio Garden gives the boys an activity and me time to enjoy the space while having the added benefit of watching my boys as they have fun and explore. Another way I take care of myself is working outside. I find digging in the dirt to be really therapeutic and it gives me some me time in my head too. My me time usually includes joyful screams and laughter from the boys and I’ll take all of that I can.

If working outside, coloring, or hiding in the bathroom playing on your phone don’t do it for you – try one of these:

Other Ways to Relax:

  • Eat marshmallows, I mean. . . Enjoy a hot cup of cocoa or hot tea
  • Eat chocolate, I mean. . .Enjoy a healthy snack
  • Lift a wine bottle to your lips, set down & repeat, I mean. . .Exercise
  • Plan a Girl’s Night Out & GO! Don’t chicken out. . . I’m already looking forward to this
  • Breathe. . . my lovely friend T created a FaceBook group just for this. It’s just a place where a bunch of women I don’t know remind me to breathe and relax. Join one or create one – these groups are wonderful for the heart and soul.
  • Eat, I mean. . . Plan and cook a meal.

Are you seeing a trend here? I see a trend. Most of the things that I find on the internet about helping moms relax revolve around food and exercise. . . All you really need to know is this:

Do what you love & love what you do. If, you love cooking, cook. If, you love eating, eat. . . but you might want to add exercising too if you do. If, you love painting then paint. It’s that simple. Do something for you and work toward achieving some semblance of balance and routine. My routine keeps me sane and balance keeps my feet on the ground.

Super-Moms Need Recharging Too

It’s okay to take a time out and take care of you. Even super-moms need to recharge their super powers. Losing sleep is a normal part of parenthood, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have two weeks to make up the sleep we lose before our brains and bodies give up and start the count over again. I am constantly working toward a balanced routine and I have to readjust things constantly to keep up. Find your key to relaxing and rethink your reasons for staying up late versus getting in a good night’s sleep.

What is your super power? Have anything to add to the list? How do you relax and recharge?

I love hearing from you, leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

 

References: 

Blahd MD, William. “The Healing Power of Sleep.” 06 October 2016. WebMD LLC Web Site. Web. 25 August 2018. <https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/better-sleep/healing-power-sleep?>.

Griffin, R. Morgan and Brunilda Nazario MD. “Moms and Sleep Deprivation.” 17 March 2010. WebMD LLC Web site. Web. 25 August 2018. <https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/moms-sleep-deprivation>.

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Self-Care is NOT Selfish: Don’t Forget YOU

  1. Hey Lindsey:

    Self-care is never a selfish thing, I think. Especially as a mom you’re always on-call and it can be a challenge to find the time and the space to do what helps to keep you sane.

    I guess it’s wise to remember that in order for you to be there for others, there has to be a you there in the first place.

    Other people’s needs can eat you all up and taking small breaks to take one little step towards building up your own self is way more productive than using up all of what you’ve got to get everybody else cared-for until you’ve got no more to give and then just lying there like an old wet rag on the floor….

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