Finding time for self-care
When it comes to self-care the biggest hurdle that many working mums cite is time. We just don’t have enough time. Children, work and managing the home are all full times jobs and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
The problem is that without time for self-care we become exhausted, burned out and anxious. As the saying goes; you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s vital that professional mums find the time for self-care in order to stay on top of things in work and at home.
Unfortunately, we can’t just magic more time into our day. So we’ve had a look at some techniques that could help you to redirect hours, in order to free up some time for self-care.
Seems like an obvious answer, doesn’t it? But many mums are just rushing from job to job, crisis to crisis, firefighting rather than preventing the inflammatory spark. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nowhere is that more relevant than in the day-to-day management of a working mum’s life. Organisation starts with planning. Sit down at night and spend ten minutes planning the following day. Give yourself an achievable list of tasks and allocate time for each. Remember to give yourself a self-care break every once in a while, and plan what you are going to do.
I know, I know, I’ve just told you to make a plan. But that doesn’t mean your plan can’t be flexible. Children are the ultimate ‘spanner in the works’ when it comes to planning, so you’ll need to be ready for things to change. “Mum! I have to build an undersea diorama by tomorrow.” “Mummy, I don’t feel well.” “Mum I can’t find my gumshield!” The best way to be flexible is to plan with ‘what if’ scenarios in mind, that way you will be prepared and have a back-up plan if things get pushed out of kilter.
If you know you’re going to be on the train for forty-five minutes, or you’re going to be waiting in the car at school pick up time, then plan to put that time to good use. Check emails, send messages, return calls, get some work done. Be ready to take advantage of downtime in order to free up time elsewhere in the day.
Delegate and ask for help
Let someone else take some of the jobs. Hire a cleaner, share lifts and pick-ups with other mums, make use of the laundrette. You don’t have to do it all. If your children are old enough give them a list of chores, it will not only help you, it will also teach them responsibility. Let your partner know what needs to be done, too often mums have an “I’ll just do it myself” attitude, but if you make a list of jobs that need to be done, then everyone knows what is going on and you are more likely to get help from family members.
“No. I won’t be able to help out at the cake sale.” “No. I don’t want to be part of the green committee.” “No. I can’t make that meeting.” Your time is your greatest asset, spend it wisely and don’t waste it doing something you don’t want to do because you feel obligated. Say no to prevent yourself being spread too thin, don’t apologise or make an excuse, just say no.
This is one thing that the pandemic has opened our eyes to. A lot of mums are now realising the joy of online shopping. The groceries can be done and dusted in 20 minutes instead of two hours, school essentials can be delivered to the house and we no longer have to waste time standing in line at a check out. Shop online, take back that time and use it for other things.
Be scrolling conscious
Social media can be a huge time suck. Don’t confuse scrolling with self-care. Too often social media has a negative effect on our mental health, confidence and self-esteem. Catching up with friends, checking out some accounts and even posting a picture or two is all fine, but getting sucked into the irate comments section or getting lost in the ‘perfect’ life that may influencers can portray, is not healthy.
Be time aware
We’ve already touched on how precious time can be, so don’t waste it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with watching TV or losing yourself in a movie. But if you find yourself surfing through channels, frustrated that there is nothing you want to watch, then redirect your time. Use it for self-care, whatever that is for you, read a book, paint your nails, go for a walk. Do something that makes you feel good.
Working mums are busy people. We know that. But with a few tweaks here and there, and some preparation, even the busiest mum can find some time for herself. Remember you don’t only deserve it, you need it. So get planning the night before and enjoy a more relaxed, more productive and more rewarding day.