Self-care should NEVER be optional.

The very best thing a busy mum can do for her family is to first look after herself first. This is not selfish it’s the only way you can ensure you have enough in your tank to look after everyone else.

Think about your car, you make sure it has enough fuel, it has a regular MOT and is serviced to ensure it keeps going and is safe to transport your family around in. You probably have it cleaned on a regular (or not so regular for me) basis too.

Do you pay as much attention to looking after yourself? If not does that mean even the family car is treated with more respect than you and is higher on your priority list?

If the car breaks down all your family plans get put on hold and life suddenly becomes harder.

The same with you, if you are just limping along from day to day and don’t make yourself a priority, then you won’t be able to perform well.

I appreciate it’s very hard if your kids are still little or they are unwell but remember asking for, and accepting help is vital, you need a supportive community around you. This is also self care.

There is a quote “it takes a village to raise a child” the exact origin is unknown, but it’s believed to be an ancient African proverb, though other cultures claim it too. The point is its only in modern western culture that we have comparisonitis (it is a word I checked). In all other cultures it is expected that everyone mucks in and supports each other to make the children of all ages feel secure and for the mum to be cherished.

If like me you like a bit of a Disney feel good film, or even a full blown west end Disney musical experience, then you will be familiar with the Lion King. Disney is great and I love the Lion king and know all the words to the songs, but Disney got this wrong. It was all about the male lion being the leader of the pride, but the males in reality have a much less significant role, it is the females that lead the pride.

We all know the story of Simba the lion cub and his dad Mufasa who died, but can you actually remember Simba’s mums name? Bet you can’t! Her name was Sarabi, she was depicted as inconsequential in the film.  If the film was realistic, she would have been the Matriarch, the leader, and would have been part of a community of other lionesses all looking out for each other, hunting for food, looking after the cubs and keeping each other safe. It is the females that are the workers and the heart and sole of the pride. They also take turns to rest and nurture each other. We could learn a lot from this species and Disney needs to do a remake showing who the real pride heroes are.

Part of self-care is to never compare what you are doing to anyone else, and better still be an encourager of other mums and women who are doing their very best, it may not be how you do things but unless your advice has been sought best to quietly encourage rather than openly criticize.

So back to the selfcare and the car comparison. To keep your car at its very best you need to keep it in top condition and good working order. It is so lovely on the first day it is cleaned. It looks all bright and shiny again, the inside is dog hair and crumb free. It feels like a new car.

Well you deserve to feel bright and shiny again too.

So here are my top 5 self-care tips to keep you in full working order.

Sometimes it may feel that there is absolutely no time for you. Not a spare minute in the day to do anything nice for you. The trouble is if you then get poorly, and your tank is running on empty you will like your car stop working. The engine stalls and just won’t restart again until it gets the attention needed. Fuel in the engine and batteries recharged.

So the things you can do and should do as a self-care priority are

  1.  Stay hydrated, always make sure you have plenty to drink during the day and not just surviving on coffee which hammers your adrenal system. Have a bottle of water handy at all times and plenty of other non-caffeine fluids available throughout the day too.
  1. If a bath feels like too much of a luxury and you don’t have the time for a soak you can transform a 3 minute shower into a reviving spa experience. Order yourself some essential oils and mix with a non-perfumed shower gel. Mix 10 mls shower gel with 5 drops rosemary and 5 drops Bergamot. Both are uplifting and energising, rosemary will give help with mental clarity in the morning. If you want a night-time unwind blend, then use Geranium and lavender.
  1. Try to find at least a 15-minute window when you can get outside. Walk to school, give the dog a walk, walk to a local grocery store or coffee shop rather than drive. If you can manage it and the weather is fine go on an adventure to a new playpark, a new walk you haven’t tried or a country park to walk and meet up with a friend for coffee. Daylight is essential for our mental health and our circulation could use the boost of some outdoor exercise too.
  1. If you find yourself scrolling on your phone stop! Limit the time that you check your social media and don’t shop online late at night. Instead download a book to read or even an audio book. Use the time to unwind rather than wind your brain up with social media noise. During the day some audio self-help books would be a better option than mindless scrolling or googling all the answers. In the evening a feel-good non-fiction book you can escape into gives your mind a rest and allows your imagination to be used for good, doing what it does best being creative and evoking happy emotions rather than fuelling anxiety and overthinking.
  1. Nourish, you make sure everyone in your household is feed well and has proper meal times. You need this too. Make sure you have plenty of fruit and veg in. Instead of reaching for biscuits grab some fruit. Have easy to cook foods in the cupboard, hearty soups for lunch. Get your 5 a day as a minimum. I have heard busy women say “I’m too busy to eat properly or cook from scratch”, yet they have spent two hours that day scrolling through and posting on social media. A banana or apple is just as easy to grab as a biscuit. We cannot make nutrients in our body, we need to actually eat all the right foods so our body can use it as fuel, for energy and to repair and rebuild body cells and tissues. Without food and the vitamins and minerals we eat in our foods, our immune system cannot do its job. We are then prone to colds and infections and many more serious diseases and disorders. Vitamin pills are okay as supplements but not instead of. Never count calories only count nutrients.

That is just the basics of selfcare. There are so many extra feel good things we can do to make us feel better and make sure our body is in the best working order.

If we can factor in some actual treats that would be a real much needed bonus

A regular massage or facial is a real boost too or watch a good feel good film. Getting your nails done, going to a yoga or exercise class anything that allows you to switch off and unwind should be factored into your life on a regular basis.

For me swimming is my go-to exercise at the moment and walking my dogs.

I switch off with a good book or film.

I’m going to go through my diary and schedule in some proper selfcare and book a massage and get my nails done.

I suggest you do the same, block some time out in your diary and find some gaps that are just for you. Work through my top 5 essential list and make sure you can tick all the boxes as done, if not action them immediately.

You only have one you, give yourself some self-love and self-respect.


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