We know that finding time for yourself is tough to do in normal times, but now that you’re probably with your kids (or your partner) 24/7, you may be wondering if it’s even possible. The good news is that it definitely is, and we chatted with Health & Mindfulness Coach, Louise Murray, to get her take on how you can still make time for some self-care.
Louise, who goes by Lou, talks us through the biggest challenges her clients face when finding time for themselves, her go-to practices for self-care, and how to address the mom-guilt that inevitably pops up.
Without further ado, here’s our chat with Lou!
Mindfulness Coach, Louise Murray, Weighs In On Self-Care
Baby2Body: What do you find is the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining self-care?
Lou: Time; there never seems to be enough of it. And when you think about your priorities as a busy mother, making time for self-care probably falls near the bottom of your list —below work, kids, home, and family time.
Consequently, self-care quickly falls by the wayside as you continue with the daily grind. The first step in creating more time for your own self-care is acknowledging just how important it is for you, and your family. Once you decide to commit to making self-care a priority, it is so much easier to find time for it.
The challenge is, most of us already know this. We KNOW as parents how important it is to take care of ourselves. When we can stay connected to our own wellbeing, it overflows onto our children and we’re more patient, loving, joyful parents. However, knowing and doing are completely different things.
Baby2Body: So how do you recommend getting past knowing what to do, and onto actually doing it?
Lou: Well, research has shown that mothers have on average just 17 minutes of time to themselves each day. 17 minutes! And this is why the approach I take with all my clients is the practice of micro self-care.
Micro self-care: small self-care acts that take between 2-10 minutes a day but make a big impact on your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.Louise Murray
The trick is to practice self-care in short intervals so you can easily fit these mindset makeover tools into your jam-packed routine. Start with just 2-10 minutes a day and build it up from there. In fact, learning to squeeze these little self-care moments into your life may actually lead to less stress, more patience and a clearer focus.
By lovingly tending to your mind and body, you give yourself the best possible chance of being the person you aspire to be, the kind of mum you want to be… and your kids will reap the rewards, too.
Baby2Body: Brilliant, we couldn’t agree more. Would you mind sharing some of your go-to practices?
Lou: Here are two of my favorite micro self-care tools, which you can easily integrate into your day so they aren’t another thing on your already unmanageable ‘to do’ list:
1. Develop An Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude is a fantastic little mindset makeover tool and something that you can practice throughout the day as you go, so it doesn’t add anything extra to your ever-mounting list of things to do each day.
Set a timer to go off daily on your phone and when it rings, slow down just a fraction — enough to briefly ‘press pause’ and just be in the moment of whatever you are experiencing. Mentally note down what you are grateful for in that moment. Say for example – the sound of your child’s laugh. Just be in that moment and mentally note down how grateful you are for that magical laugh. DONE! That’s it.
The more you do this the more you’ll find yourself thinking with gratitude throughout your day. You will shift your mindset into a positive ‘high vibe’ zone – and you will start to subconsciously train your brain to see more positivity all around you and in return this will attract more positivity into your life.
2. Have a Cup of Calm
When you start feeling a little overwhelmed, this is a great ‘2-minute’ self-care tool that uses mindful meditation (which doesn’t need to take a long time!). 2 or 3 minutes can be enough to give you a little space to slow down, press pause, re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day:
Make yourself a cup of your favorite warm drink and sit down. Notice three things in this moment – the color of the drink, the weight of the mug, the feeling of the chair. Then consciously breathe into your shoulders, try and relax them down away from your ears and enjoy your cuppa – savoring the flavor. Return gently to the senses whenever you notice the mind straying into thought or analysis. Simply be open to the sensations you’re experiencing.
Baby2Body: We love those — thank you! Before we let you go, one thing we hear a lot from our Baby2Body mamas is that ‘mom-guilt’ is what holds them up from taking that time for themselves, even if it’s only a few minutes! What are your thoughts on that?
Lou: So many mums I work with feel the dreaded ‘guilt’ for investing time into themselves, even if it is just 10 minutes a day. But I always remind them that self-care isn’t selfish. Self-care is healthcare. It is self-preservation. It’s setting yourself up to be the best mother you can be.
Remember that you are loving more than just you when you take care of yourself. By prioritising your health and wellbeing you’re making sure that you can fully be there for your family when they need you most. I know how hard it is to bump yourself up the ‘priority’ list, but I also know that it’s the key to a happy, healthy life.
Routinely dismissing your own needs can have an adverse effect on your overall health; making you irritable, fatigued, stressed and susceptible to a full-blown burnout. So, in order to save your health (and sanity) please make time for you!
Louise Murray is a Health and Mindfulness Coach and has her qualifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She looks at nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them around 12 different aspects of one’s life. For more, you can follow her on Instagram @live_well_with_lou.