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I’m pleased to welcome Hannah to Little Blog of Positivity with her fantastic daily self-care checklist for busy moms. Even if you don’t have little ones, there is some brilliantly useful stuff in here! Over to Hannah.
If there’s anything I know about moms, it’s two things:
- We never have enough time
- We almost always come in last place
Self-love and any form of self-care were on the bottom of my list for years, because, well; it’s just me.
When you have people depending on you – dishes, laundry, meals and activities. Driving them all over Timbuktu. School, assignments, church, speech, words – and that just scratches the surface of your responsibilities, I know how easy it is to default to not putting yourself on your list of priorities.
Time management is hard. Raising good people is hard and if you add things onto your list for yourself, it almost feels like more work for you.
Does any of this resonate with you?
Sweet Mama, I’m here to tell you that the opposite is true.
Related Post: How To Make A Soothing Self Care Box
Self-care is NOT another responsibility to add to your list.
It should be at the top of your list so that you are refreshed and renewed and feel ready and capable to tackle being present for your life.
When we care if we are well, it will:
1. Set the tone for how we live our lives. This affects my ability to be more patient with my kids. It affects how patiently or impatiently I respond when Ella only “whacked Sophia with the baby doll a little bit” or Sophia “had it first”. It should be a priority because it will affect how you respond, how you act, and how you feel; good or bad.
2. Set up our mindset. Mindset matters to every single circumstance in your life; big or small.
You can see roadblocks or setbacks; fear of the unknown or limitless opportunity; annoyance in a temper tantrum or trying to understand where she is at.
Your mindset will affect your response, and when you have a positive, growth mindset, your response will follow.
[tweetshare tweet=”You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.― Tony Dungy” username=”alisonw30″]
3. Help minimize burnout, and get you through it quickly when it strikes. Hitting ruts or experiencing burnout is part of life. I’ve had more ruts than I can count.
I noticed that two things get me out of burnout quicker than anything else: a positive, growth mindset and change in any capacity. But then, when you put these two together, you have a powerhouse that can and will propel you through even the deepest of ruts in record time
Related Post: Stuck In A Rut? 6 Top Tips To Pull You Out!
If you are reading this and feeling guilty already, this next bit is for you.
Self-care is not selfish and if you feel guilty in any way for caring about yourself, please hear me when I say that your people need you functioning at your best. They need you well. They need you happy.
I ignored the fact that self-care existed for years, until last August. You can read about that and get more details on things I implemented to pull through that season here: 16 Habits Guaranteed to Make You Feel More Fulfilled + Easy Ways to Practice Self Care.
For the purpose of this post, I created it in a quick format that you can quickly and easily incorporate into your day with a minimal time commitment – because moms are busy!
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I recommend using this list as a tool. Keep it handy.
Save it in your phone or print it off and start with 1-2 things for the morning, evening, and throughout the day. Do those things for 30 days, until they become a habit, then build on to it.
I have learned that success in any capacity starts with baby steps that you create habits in and then add on to.
Trying to do everything at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed and inadequate when you can’t achieve it all. You can do it all, just not all at once.
With that in mind, let’s dive right into our Daily Self-Care Checklist for Busy Moms!
1. Get up before the kids. Take a little time before you have to hear breakfast requests on repeat and break out your referee whistle and checkered shirt. How you start your day, whether it is in peace or pandemonium, matters because often, it sets the tone the rest of the day that follows.
2. Have a morning routine and do it before the kids get up. I started this 6 months ago when I shared that I was going through a terrible rut. I do some form of this every day now, and it truly affects my mindset and reactions for the rest of my day. My ideal start to the day goes like this: Water + Coffee, Bible + Prayer, Journal, Plan my day and Yoga.
3. Have kids stay in rooms until 7:00am. I started doing this and getting up at 5:00 to give myself time to do my morning routine, and it was an absolute game-changer. At 6:00, they can get up and play quietly (it’s supposed to be quiet, but let’s face it, some mornings they play WWE and practice smackdowns on their beds) but they know they stay in their rooms while Mommy has quiet time.
If your kids are little like mine and can’t tell time yet, here’s something we did to help give them an idea of what time it is:
- Put a digital clock on their dresser
- Write a “6” (for 6:00am) on a Post-it. Use the Post-it note to cover the minutes part of the clock, leaving the hour visible
- Tell them when the clock matches the paper and they both say “6”, you can get up and play quietly
We started this the day after they woke me up on the baby monitor playing at 3:00 in the morning. At the time, it was still dark at 6:00am, so they thought because they woke up, they could play. This helps them know when it’s okay to get up, and when it isn’t. For the most part, it works really well!
4. Practice intentional gratitude. I’m not talking about the big things. I’m talking small things, like a beautiful sunrise, your child giving you a sweet, slobbery kiss on the cheek, your husband surprising you with an iced latte, or your dog laying in your lap.
If you’re always looking for red cars, you’ll always see red cars. This literally trains your brain to look for the good in situations. This is a small step that slowly shifts your mindset.
5. Journal your dreams. I go into more detail in the post linked above, but I got this concept from the amazing Rachel Hollis. The gist is you imagine your dream life in 10 years. Who you are, where you live, how you feel; all of it, and nothing is too big or too crazy.
The money part of this is that you write out 10 dreams in past tense because this tells your mind who you are instead of adding to things you have to do.
I’ve been doing this for about 7 months now, and what I found was I have ultimate goals that are awesome, but I wrote those for about 3 months, and they were massive. So I kept those as ultimate goals, but I did re-writes that were stepping stones that added up to the big ones, so I could cross them off and feel like I was making progress in my life.
For example: “I am debt-free.” Became “I paid off the Barclaycard.”
Related Post: 9 Sure-Fire Ways To Achieve Your Goals
6. Loosely plan your day with 2-3 high priorities + low priority task. I love doing this because pouring my energy into 1 or 2 big things helps me make significant progress on that thing, instead of feeling like I’m bouncing everywhere all day and not getting much done.
One thing to be aware of, however, is to refrain from scheduling every minute of your day. You want a guideline over a rigid schedule because real life comes up and things take longer in practice than they do to write down.
Block off time for important tasks, rest time, and family time. Planning your day is awesome! But it’s easy to break away from your schedule when one kid starts throwing up, someone pooped their pants, or a task takes longer than you wanted it to on paper.
Breaking it up will give you some flexibility and make you remember to take time for what’s really important: rest and family.
7. Yoga. This could easily be a post all on its own, but I’ll keep it short. Yoga has changed my mental and physical well being. I sleep better, I’m stronger, more flexible, my body hurts less and is less tight, and I found that I experience significantly less anxiety.
Yoga with Adriene on Youtube is an awesome guide which is fun, light-hearted, and so easy to follow!
8. Wear clothes that make you feel productive. I believe in a good jammie day now and then, but more often than not, I wear jeans, fix my hair, and do my makeup, whether I’m going anywhere or not because I feel best when I feel like I look my best. This isn’t vanity, it’s about feeling like your best self, and your mind lining up.
9. Start your day with a Scripture or affirmation that inspires you. I absolutely love doing this. Grab something easy to remember that inspires you and hold on to it all day. Repeat it often until you know it subconsciously.
10. Soak in the sunrise. Take a few seconds and absorb the way the oranges and purples and pinks blend without definitive lines. Look at the massiveness of the miles and miles it stretches across the sky, and how awesome it is that God creates unique ones every day for us to enjoy.
Take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanks that you’re here another day to enjoy another sunrise.
1. Hot shower. Let the day roll off you like the drops of water. If it wasn’t the best day, acknowledge it, and rest in the knowledge that if today was bad, tomorrow has to be better.
2. Read in bed. I love using this gentle way to wind down.
3. Light a candle. Something about candles is wonderfully soothing and encourages you to slow down and enjoy the moment.
4. Little or no TV. I like watching TV at night, but I have found that when I don’t, I’m more relaxed and I do things that make me more satisfied with how I use that time.
Instead, I try to use downtime to do something I enjoy, read a book, do some yoga, or something else that makes me feel like I’m a good steward of my time.
TV is a massive time suck if we let it be. Time is either wasted or invested. Choose wisely.
Related Post: 39 Amazing Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV
5. Get kids to bed early. It gives you time to spend time with your spouse and to have some downtime before bed! Plus it’s good for kiddos to get allll the sleep and makes it easier for you to get in bed early.
6. Reflect on the best part of your day. Take 5 minutes and ask yourself ‘what was my favorite part of the day?’
7. Floss. From someone who has had 3 abscess teeth in 3 years, take my word on this one. Take the 5 minutes a day and invest in your oral health. Floss is cheaper than crowns.
8. Set yourself up for ideal sleep. Creating a dark space, limiting screens before bed, changing sheets often, diffusing lavender, stopping caffeine by 3:00 pm, and using a good quality sleep mask all help with this.
9. Go to bed early. You get your best sleep earlier and it helps you get up earlier! You need your rest, Mama.
Throughout the day
1. Deep breathing. Yoga has helped train me to do this. It sounds cheesy, but it really does help; especially when you’re stressed.
2. Use positive language as much as possible. Again, it sounds cheesy, but it helps! Especially when talking to the kids.
There’s something exhausting about feeling like everything that comes out of your mind is negative. I try to limit “nos” and “don’ts” and replace it with positive language instead. Focus on what they can do instead of what they can’t.
3. Pet your dog or cat. Why is this soothing? I don’t know, but it is.
4. Cuddle with your kids every day. Sometimes I have to make myself find the time to sit down and do this, but it releases oxytocin which is the love hormone. It makes you feel good, makes your kids feel good, and helps you bond. Win-win!
5. Have little ones nap or have quiet time. Knowing a break in the middle of the day is coming helps and it helps everyone reset!
If your kiddos don’t sleep anymore, here are some of my favorite screen-free quiet time activities: puzzles, coloring, games, writing practice, blocks, Play-Doh, creative play with dolls, cars, etc.
6. Laugh with intention. Making laughter a priority matters. Laugh with the people you love. Create moments to make your kids laugh or joke with your husband. Sometimes choosing happiness means you have to create it in your home. Laughter really is a medicine.
7. Relax places where you’re tense. I usually do this along with deep breathing. I find that I carry a lot of tension in my neck, shoulders, back and jaw, so I make an effort to find space and create softness there often.
8. Stretch when you feel tight. Do a downward dog or forward fold in the kitchen randomly.
9. Drink enough water. Half your body weight in ounces at least! It flushes out all the yucky stuff and helps you feel good again.
10. Limit caffeine and sugar. This one hurts, too, but I really do feel better when I do.
11. Let some sunshine in. Have you ever felt so mentally blah in January and can’t quite place it? You’re not alone. Sunshine is so refreshing!
Open curtains or go outside if it isn’t too cold. Even when it’s cloudy, there’s usually still a little light.
12. Tidy up as you go. I truly believe your space reflects the state of your mind. If your space is cluttered, your mind will be, too.
Related Post: How To Declutter At The Speed Of Life
13. Be kind in everything you do. Kindness matters! It will make you feel as good to be kind as it will make the recipient feel.
14. Smile at everyone you see. Maybe it’ll have a ripple effect.
15. Reflect on your results and accomplishments. Something feels a lot better about looking at what you have accomplished than what you wish you had.
Finally – Be gentle with yourself and give yourself some grace. Be gentle with yourself, sweet Mama! If you are doing the best you can, if you care, and if you love them with your whole being, the rest will take care of itself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Daily Self-Care Checklist for Busy Moms. Here’s a bit more about Hannah.
Hannah Wilhelm is a wife and mom of 3 girls under 5. She founded her blog to help moms feel empowered to pursue their dreams, feel encouraged in motherhood, and share ideas and resources to help moms live up to their full potential.
When she isn’t busy creating content, she enjoys cooking, painting, yoga, dating her husband, creating quality experiences with her family, and working on becoming the best version of herself. She and her husband have been married for 6 years and have 3 daughters ages 4, 3, and 11 months.
You can read more from Hannah on motherhood, pregnancy, personal growth and development and more on tinyjoyfultreasures.com