Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

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Why You Need to be Listening to Podcasts

Being a mom of small kids means your brain is probably full of Disney lyrics and wistful thoughts about napping. Or being alone for 5 minutes. Sometimes, you feel like your “mom brain” is turning to mush, held hostage by the sounds of children’s TV programing and the constant hum of whining or asking for snacks.

But don’t despair: podcasts to the rescue.

For me, podcasts are the antidote to the crazy, “blah,” mom brain that often accompanies long days devoted to raising small kids. They are the perfect way for busy moms to be entertained and learn new things, without taking up any extra time in the day.  

Seriously, they will change your life. Here’s why:

1. They’re free.

Um, can I get a “heck, yes”!?! When I discovered that I could download any of the bazillions of podcasts out there FOR FREE I felt like stumbled on the greatest thing in the world.

It was like a master baker moved in next door and would bring me free pastries and fresh bread everyday. But it’s even better because you can’t get fat off of podcasts!

2. You can listen as you do all the stuff you’re gonna do anyways.

Whether cleaning your house, going for a run, folding laundry, or driving your kids to soccer, you can be feeding your brain and soul with the goodness of podcasts.

Through a podcast app, you can download them straight to your phone. Then you can sync it to a portable bluetooth speaker, throw on headphones, or connect it to your dashboard. You can listen anywhere while doing just about anything.

Seriously, you’ll actually look forward to folding clothes and mopping your floor when you can listen to your favorite podcasts.

Podcasts are amazing for moms

3. There is a podcast for EVERYTHING.

When it comes to podcasts, there is an insane amount of variety. Comedy, parenting, health and fitness, history, true crime, motivational–whatever you’re looking for, there’s a podcast that’ll knock your socks off. Here are some of my all-around favorites.  

Need a quick place to start? Check out any of these crazy-addictive series:

Oh, and there’s even podcasts for kids! My kids love to listen to “Wow in the World”. It’s hilarious and educational.

There is literally no end to the amazingness and variety of podcasts at your fingertips.

4. You get to learn awesome stuff & be inspired.

Which, at the end of the day, just makes you a better mom. I’m always learning stuff that helps informs my parenting or helps me be more understanding of people who are different than me.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that podcasts have changed my life. Listening to podcasts is what inspired me to start this blog, try intermittent fasting (which helped me lose 30 lbs), and keeps me informed about the world around me. If I could hug podcasts, I would. 

Basically, podcasts are the bee’s knees.

While they’re great for most everyone, podcasts are an especially amazing resource for busy moms. You can feed your brain as you go about your day doin’ your thing. Check out Apple Podcasts or Stitcher and bring this amazing force into your life. Start with one of the addictive series I mentioned and then tell me all about how obsessed you are (because you will be). 

Listen on, mama!

 

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

Mom life is tough. You’ve got about 50 problems coming at you at once and you’re just trying to keep everyone alive without going insane.

When my 4 kids are all screaming at once, there’s a puddle of pee on my floor, and my house looks like the aftermath of a tornado it takes a lot to not lock myself in the bathroom and cry.

While the joys of motherhood are real and intense, so are the dramatic lows where you find yourself locked in a bathroom with little fists pounding on the door as you cry in frustration and despair.

While it’s impossible to be The Perfect Mom™ (newsflash: she doesn’t exist) there are many ways that you can keep overwhelm at bay. These simple habits will not only help you avoid overwhelm, but be happier and healthier.

1) Make your health a priority.

This is most important thing you can do, and yet it’s the first thing that gets kicked to the curb when overwhelm hits.

But think about airplane safety. The flight attendant always goes through that little thing where they remind you that in case of an emergency to put on your own mask first.

This absolutely applies to motherhood.

So many moms put their needs last, afraid to take care of themselves thinking it will take away from their kids. But it’s not a win-lose game where if you are focusing on yourself, your kids are missing out.

It’s actually the opposite: The better care you give yourself, the better equipped you are to take care of your family. You can’t give your kids your best when you are running on empty and about to lose it.

2) Get enough sleep.

Quality sleep may be challenging as a busy mom, but it’s possible. It’s just not going to happen on it’s own. It’s gonna take some effort to lay this important foundation for your health. Here are some strategies to improve your sleep.

Sleep should be your number 1 health priority. Your sleep is 100% linked to basically every part of your health (weight, energy level, skin health etc). It’s also directly correlated to the amount of patience you have (which comes in handy as a mom).

When we are exhausted, we eat entire bags of chips and move at a snails pace as we try and attack our to-do lists. We lose our cool and yell at our kids. Great sleep is the foundation for being a happy, healthy, and organized mom.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

3) Wake up before your kids.

Waking up before your kids will supercharge your productivity and give you important “me time” when you are energized.

Even if it’s just enough time to get dressed, brush your teeth, and set your intentions (see #5). Waking up before your kids puts you in control of your day from the beginning. You’re not just responding to the bedside demands from your children as they ply you from your covers.

I find that waking up early, exercising, and getting a few thing done before my kids are awake honestly makes me feel like there are more hours in the day. For tips to wake up early, check out these 9 fail-proof tips.

4) Make your bed.

If you’re skeptical of this one, I get it. I used to think making my bed was the biggest waste of time. That is, until I actually gave it a shot. Now I’m a full believer in the power of making your bed everyday.

Making your bed right when you wake up gives you and immediate and visible “win” for the day. You get a little jolt of happiness/and or feeling of accomplishment. Starting your day with an easy win, sets you up to start knocking more tasks out of your way.

Also, one major source of mom overwhelm is clutter and disarray. Simply keeping your bed and bedroom in order will soothe your worried soul when the rest of your house looks like a tornado swept through it.

Simply, I get more done on days that I make my bed.

5) Set your intentions for the day in the morning.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This is especially true for moms. You’ve got a million things coming at you at once and little people to keep alive.

So how can you manage your home, family, AND prioritize your health? At the start of your day, you’ve got to determine what the most important things you can accomplish today. Where will your focus be?

This can take many forms. For example:

  • to-do lists
  • visualization
  • journaling
  • talking it out with your spouse

The key is to decide, right off the bat, what are the few things that you want accomplish for the day. Then you don’t let the little challenges (that inevitably come) derail your day.

For example, if my goals are to be an attentive mom and to get some meal prepping done, then a dirty house or an unexpected phone call wont throw me off. When my child slips and falls, I’ll snuggle her and ignore my messy house. When someone calls to chat, I’ll find a way keep it short and get back to making meals.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

 

6) Find an exercise you enjoy & do it regularly.

We all know we should be exercising. The benefits are awesome for both physical and mental health. It boosts your mood and gives you more energy throughout the day.

But the key isn’t just exercising, it’s actually finding something you want to do. If it’s not something you look forward to, you aren’t going to do it when life gets crazy. Which then just makes life harder to handle.

Find an exercise activity that you like and schedule it regularly. Not everyone has to love the gym or running or crossfit. Don’t beat yourself up or try and force yourself. Find what works for you and you’ll actually look forward to doing it.

7) Pick your battles wisely.

Every day, you are bombarded with challenges. But YOU decide which are worth even dealing with.

You can’t do it all, but you can do what is important and valuable to YOU.

For example, I do not battle over my kids clothes and hair. It does not affect my happiness one bit. Instead, the fact that they dress themselves from about age 2 and on makes my life considerably easier. 

Do they look like they were dressed by someone dropping acid? Sure! But they love having control and autonomy over how they look. And I skip any battle over brushing their hair or making sure they match. 

(Note: We do “brush our hair for Jesus” so they look presentable at church. Usually.)

On the other hand, I am really concerned about creating healthy eating habits. Therefore, I put a lot more energy and effort into preparing healthy foods and encouraging them to like things that are good for their bodies.

Pick your priorities and let go of the rest.

8) Shower & get dressed everyday.

Showering and getting dressed for the day will make you more productive and efficient.

Mind you, “dressed for the day” does not mean you need to be ready for an Instagram lifestyle shot. It means you are clean, clothed (no pajamas), and have brushed your teeth. Figure out what kind of daily “uniform” is easy to throw on. but makes you feel “ready”.

By the way, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remember, dry shampoo is your best friend. It’s going to save you so much time! 

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

9) Spend 15 minutes on laundry every day.

Spending a little time everyday doing something is far more effective than massive and sporadic bursts of activity. This principle applies perfectly to that fearsome beast: laundry.

A little everyday will ensure that it doesn’t ever get out of control. Think about it: in fifteen minutes, you can throw in a load of laundry and fold the laundry from your load the day before.

This has absolutely changed my life. As a mother of 4, laundry plagued my life. Especially folding. Ugh. I would do one big push a week, gathering, sorting, washing. It was a massive undertaking. And I could never manage to get much folded. Which meant living out of the clean laundry baskets (a time-sucking habit).

But now, I fit my “laundry 15” into my regular morning routine of taking care of kids and cleaning up after breakfast. I spend far less time on it, yet it never gets out of control.

10) Give individual attention and snuggles to each child daily.

Having 4 kids means that this takes some thought. But this goes a LONG way to create a happy home.

Lot’s of snuggles make happier kids. And crabby kids make for a crabby and frustrated mama.

Remember, most crabby kids don’t need a lecture: they need a good long hug. More snuggles usually translate into a happier day. For everyone.

11) Have a reliable babysitter (or several)

There are a few facts of life you can count on. Water is wet. The sky is blue. And you need to get out of your house without your kids.

Whether on a date with your husband or when an emergency pops up, you need someone you trust that can watch you kids. If you don’t have family to rely on, it sometimes takes time and effort to find these people. But it’s worth it.

Also, having a mother mom friend with whom you can trade babysitting is magical for a busy mom. I highly recommend finding a trading buddy. I’m lucky enough to live just a few miles from my college BFF, so we often do date night trade offs.

12) Live by 1 minute rule

This is simple: If a task will take only 1 minute or less to complete, do it right away.

Whether it’s putting something away, responding to a text, throwing away junk mail, or clearing off the counter. If it takes less than a minute, do it immediately.

This gives you 2 boosts: you get the satisfaction of getting something done plus it creates momentum to accomplish more tasks. And it keeps small tasks from building up and becoming overwhelming.

13) Use the “10 minute clean” philosophy.

When you have huge messes to clean and no time (i.e. every moment of your life), this strategy is perfect. Especially when you’ve just put the kids down for bed.

Muster whatever strength you have for just 10 minutes and do a whirlwind clean. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes of focused effort.

It’s usually enough to get areas of your house in good enough shape to feel fine moving on to an essential task or going to bed (see #2).

 

14) Declutter, declutter, declutter.

The more things you have, the more messes you have to clean up. So the more clutter you have, the more time it takes to manage it and the crazier you feel.

My favorte decluttering stratiegy: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

This book immediately changed my life. Not only did we get rid of 1/3 of our possessions and make hundreds of dollars selling stuff, but it made my home a million time easier to manage (and more pleasant to be in!).

If you feel like your house it cluttered, get this book, read it, and let the magic rain upon you like dew from heaven. 

15) Have a soul-satisfying outlet built into your schedule.

You love being a mom. You adore your children. But you can’t be fulfilled as a person when you lose sight of yourself outside of your role as “mom”.

You need an outlet that makes your soul happy and makes you feel quintessentially YOU. Whether playing music, singing, reading, crafting, DIY, going to flea markets, or whatever. You need something that brings you joy and satisfaction apart from being a mom. And you need to do it regularly.

Banish mom overwhelm bit-by-bit

Being a mom is hard, but through the difficulty and overwhelm comes the moment of sheer bliss. Like when you see your child says “I love you” for the first time and gives you a big wet kiss. Or watching your child show kindness to another child at the park. When we put systems in place that help eliminate overwhelm, we can have more of those sweet moments of pure joy and fewer where we want to scream into our pillows. You don’t need to try and do it all at once. Start with one tip and see what happens.

You’ve got this, mama!

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

Dear Stressed-Out Mama,

Oh darlin’. I get it. You want so badly to make your child’s birthday party magical and perfect. And you are stressed out about it.

You want everyone there to be blissfully happy. And you want some amazing pictures for your instagram and to grace the pages of a Shutterfly album (which is also on your endless to-do list).

But oh, sweetheart. You. Are. Tired.

Your eyes are glazed over from scouring Pinterest looking for the perfect themes, decorations, and designer treats. Maybe you’ve already put in a ton of time into planning and ordering. And now you’ve had it.

Or, perhaps you are simply realizing all the hours (and $$$$) it’s going to take to make this dream party a reality.

Girl, I seriously know how you feel. I’ve been there and felt the exact same way. 

And my friend, I have some great news for you. Unless putting on an amazing party brings you immense joy, you can stop all this planning.

You don’t have to sacrifice your life at the alter of children’s birthday parties. And you can still be a rockstar mama. In fact, I would argue that NOT stressing yourself out will actually ultimately bring your child more happiness and will help you be an even better mom than you already are.

And yes, you ARE good mom. You don’t need a party to prove it.

And your child does not need this party. Your child can experience the joy and magic of turning one year older without giving you gray hairs and forcing you into sleep deprivation.

Crazy stress is not the only vehicle for a fun and exciting party.

Stressed over your kid's party? There's a better way.

kids-birthday-party-stress

But I get you.

It was 2:30am and I was furiously hand sewing ballet tutus for toy dinosaurs when I suddenly questioned every step in my life that led me to that moment.

What on earth was I doing staying up at all hours sewing a tutu for a TOY dinosaur?!?!

Despite a headache and serious sleep deprivation, I had been determined to have a picture perfect Ballerina Dinosaur Party for my 4-year-old. I was looking at the pile of tiny tutus I had spent hours making FOR A DECORATION (*eyeroll*) and I was like: this. is. ridiculous.

And it was.

But like so many moms, I got caught up in wanting a picture perfect Pinterest/Instagram-worthy birthday party. 

So, some real talk here. I’ve got a question for you to ponder: Who exactly is the fancy birthday party for?

It is for your child? Other moms? Social media? For yourself? A combination?  

If I was answering in that moment with the tutus, I would have had to admit it was for all those reasons. While creating a magic experience for my daughter was my primary motivation, if it was my only motivation, I’m 100% certain I would have gone about things differently.

As you well know, kids find joy in the simplest things. A cardboard box or simple kitchen utensils can keep kids busy for hours while the mountains of expensive toys gather dust.

I’m telling ya’ mama, your child does not need a fancy party to have fun and feel special.

A better way

Just days after my stressful and exhausting dinosaur party, I went to a birthday party for one of my daughter’s friends. This mom had it figured out.

We met at her in-law’s house who had fun playground equipment and they had rented a bouncy castle. As it was morning, they got a few boxes of donuts for the treat. Also, the in-laws had a pony so the birthday girl’s dad guided kids around on little rides while the mom chatted completely stress-free with the other moms and the children joyfully played.

No gift bags, organized games, decorations. or photo props. Just a bunch of deliriously happy kids and relaxed parents.

Frankly, this mom was a birthday party ninja.

Okay, I know what you’re about to say. I get that we don’t all have in-laws with playgrounds and horses. Or even funds for a bouncy house rentals, for that matter. But, I’m telling you, my friend had birthday parties figured out.

She used the resources that were already easily at her disposal and she kept it super simple.

While I ran around my kid’s party, exhausted and frantically trying to go through each activity, my friend sat relaxed and happy, visiting with all the moms. She actually appeared to be enjoying herself.

The difference couldn’t have been more stark.

The 3 F’s of a Rockin’ Birthday Party

Can I let you in on a little secret? I’ve come to realize that a successful kid’s birthday party really only needs 3 things: frosting, fun, and friends.

That’s it. Really.

At the end of the day…

Remember, mama: at the end of the day, what your kids need most is a happy, healthy mama who takes care of herself. What will shape their future is feeling loved by you and connected. Not a party.

So go hug your kid and get some sleep, my friend. You’ve got this. 

To the Mama Who is Majorly Stressed Over Your Kid's Birthday Party
7 Books You Should Read Right Now

7 Books You Should Read Right Now

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Books You Should Read Right Now

I love to read. Despite 4 kids 5 and under, a busy house, and classes to teach, I find time most everyday to read. After my kids are in bed, I enter my relaxing nightly self care routine that includes reading.

It feeds my soul. In the last year, I read dozens of books ranging from science to fiction, history to self help.

Of those books, here are my absolute favorite books that I’ve read from the last year. 

7 Books to Read Right Now

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If you pick this up, prepare to not do anything until you’re done reading. You aren’t going to want to put it down.

Tired of all the non-fiction books I’d been reading, I picked this up one evening and figured I’d read if for a few minutes to relax and unwind. I finally slipped into bed at 4:00am after finising the book.

I cried. I laughed. It was a great read.. 

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowlings

Never read the books? Just do it. You don’t get a special counter-culture prize because you held out reading Harry Potter. And as great as the films are, they really are nothing to the books.

If you have read them, they’re even better with multiple readings. As I was nursing a newborn, I devoured the series. Even reading it the 3rd time through didn’t diminish what a fantastic book series this is. 

Grit by Angela Duckworth

If you’ve never heard of her, Angela Duckworth is definitely someone you want to check out. This book is a fascinating look at grit, the power to succeed and overcome obstacles. She delves into fascinating (and motivating) examples of resiliency and perseverance and unlocks the keys to obtain those qualities.

Not only did it inspire me to be more gritty and resilient, it’s helped me focus on how I can help my children develop the trait. I’ll definitely need several more reads!

The Miracle Morning

Want to change your mornings? Then check out this extremely motivating book. This book literally changed my life.

Though it’s not without its flaws (he really needs to cite his sources and use footnotes), it motivated me to start waking up and exercising at 4:00am.

This book was a major paradigm shift for me not only in completely changing my mornings, but it was very instrumental in helping me get the courage and determination to start this blog. Definitely a super motivating book.

7 Awesome Books to Read Right Now

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin has made it to 2 places on my list. I simply adore her and her podcast too.

Former Supreme Court clerk turned researcher and writer, Rubin is obsessed with happiness. This book is her exploration into her year-long “happiness project” where she, using research as her guide, actively set out to increase her happiness.

It’s so inspiring and will surely leave you with many ideas about how you can be happier.

The 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

This is a book that will completely change how you see yourself and other people. My book club cannot staop talking about it..

After exhaustive research, Rubin created a personality framework based on how people respond to both inner and outer expectations.

People fall into 4 categories: Upholders (that’s me), Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Take the quiz and tell me what you are.

It is sooooo fascinating. And it’s extremely helpful for understanding ourselves and the people around us.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

I found this quick read to be downright delightful. While some die-hard Potter fans find fault with various parts of this, I loved it. It’s a playscript and not a novel, so it reads differently. But once you get into it and can envision it on the stage, it is transporting and very engaging.

It picks up the story when Harry Potter’s own children are at Hogwarts. I loved every second of it and hope to see it on stage one day. I thought it was a perfect addition to the Harry Potter series.

You deserve a great book.

You work hard and deserve to immerse yourself in a fantastic book. Go to your local library or Amazon and get yourself one of these awesome books to read.

Then tell me what you think!

7 Books to Read Right Now

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Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

“Take time off…the world will not fall apart without you.”  (Malebo Sephodi)

As moms, we often put ourselves last on our list of priorities. With all the balls we juggle daily, we are afraid that if we spend even a little time on ourselves, all the balls will drop and we will fail spectacularly at this whole mothering thing.

And even if we do manage to do something for ourselves (like take a nice bath or go out with friends) we often end up feeling guilty about it.

But let’s be honest here: taking care of ourselves is not a privilege we must earn.

It’s a human need. And more than that, it’s 100% necessary if we want to be the best moms we can be. We are better equipped to take care of our children, families, and countless duties when we are taking excellent care of ourselves.

We don’t need to “earn” self-care. It’s a necessary part of taking care of our bodies, minds, and souls.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

Self-care means leaving survival mode behind.

Truthfully, I am naturally wired to burn the candle at both ends. I have to work really hard to plan and execute proper self care.

But in doing so, I have seen a massive difference in my life and family. I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced.

And I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

Self-care isn’t a one time deal.

It’s something we need to do regularly to reap the benefits. You can’t go to Target by yourself, read a good book and call it good in the self-care department for the year. It needs to be built into your routines so that you are regularly replenishing yourself.

“How Can I Fit This is My Crazy Life????”

Tell me if this sounds vaguely familiar: You’re exhausted, but you are working through your kid’s bedtime routine regardless. You can just smell the freedom that comes when the last snuggles and kisses are exchanged.

Though you have a long list of stuff to get done, instead you wander to the couch, snack in hand, and proceed to binge-watch something until you zombie walk to your bed and snag a few hours of sleep.

Then, you wake up well before you’re ready to a child who needs to be fed/clothed/etc. So you rip yourself from the bed and groggily trudge through your morning.

Been there. Done that. And let me tell ya: there is a better way

Rejuvenating Mornings & Evenings

First off, self care will look different for every mom. It all comes down to what rejuvenates YOU physically, mentally, and spiritually. But as our mom days are often packed with non-stop chaos (or is that just me?), I finds mornings and evenings to be the optimal times for quality self-care.

Changing my evenings and mornings has quite literally changed my life. 

Before my kids are up, I almost always read uplifting books, exercise, shower and get ready for the day (hair up, clothes on, and perhaps some mascara). I often meditate and I sometimes write in a journal.

These practices nourish my mind, body, and soul and set me up to be a happy, patient mom ready to tackle the crazy that will inevitably come my way.

In the evening, after I put my 4 small kids to bed, I wind down first by unplugging from technology. This is when my husband and I can finally talk and really connect.

Almost without fail, I take a hot bath with epsom salt and essential oils while I read and relax my mind and body. I breath deeply (this method is pretty fantastic) and will sometimes meditate if I am still having trouble shutting off my brain.  

But that’s me. These practices renew me daily, help me sleep well, and feed my mind, body, and soul.

Self-Care will look different for each of us.

To create your self-care routine, you’ll need to reflect what activities bring YOU peace and relaxation. When can you find time in your day to spend some time on yourself? Before you can do that, there are a few steps you need to take to make room for self-care in your life. 

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GETTING STARTED

Step 1: Create Your “White Space”

Imagine a white piece of paper with writing on it. There are margins on all sides and spaces between the paragraphs. There is clear organization and flow. The white space provide direction and organization.

Okay, now imagine another piece of paper with crammed writing covering the entire surface. Overwhelming, huh? Not sure where to start or end and there are no white spaces to be found.

Which paper best resembles your life? The one with rests and white spaces? Or the one that is so full it’s impossible to make heads or tails of what is going on?

To fit in self care, we need to cut out activities that aren’t important. We need to create the white space in our lives. 

To say yes to self care and better mental and physical health, you may need to say no to other things.

Step back an evaluate what you spend your time on.  Don’t let good things get in the way of doing THE BEST things. Don’t worry about fulfilling anyone’s expectations for you or what other people are doing. Evaluate what will be best for you and your family. 

For me, this meant saying “no” to a lot of outside demands. It also meant not trying to fit in work after my kids went to bed. I used to stay up super late grading papers, cleaning, and working on a host of other things that I could never get to during the day. To get better sleep and make the most of my mornings, I needed to completely change my evening routine.

Step 2: Guard the “White Space” in Your Life

If you’ve cut out the non-essentials, you’ve created the white space in your life. If you are anything like me, your natural inclination is to look at that white space and want to fill it all up.

Instead, guard that white space with ferocity. That white space equals balance and your sanity. That white space allows you to fit in the much needed self-care activities that will improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

Step 3: Build Your Self-Care Routine

Again, your self care routine may look very different from mine. But you want to make sure that you are including activities from the 3 core areas: physical, mental, and spiritual.

Below are just a few ideas to get you started. Pick a few of the following and try them out this week.

Body/Physical

  • Exercise regularly
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat nutritious food
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Have a dance party with your kids
  • Ask your partner for a massage
  • Get 15 minutes of sun (with sunscreen)
  • Snuggle with your spouse or children
  • Take a nap
  • Take a hot bath with epsom salts and/or relaxing essential oils
  • Spend time in nature
  • Smell you favorite things

Mind

  • Declutter a problem area
  • Journal
  • Start a file on your computer writing favorite memories of your kids
  • Read
  • Go outside and be in nature
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Go somewhere by yourself
  • Laugh–watch a funny youtube video, read a comic
  • Complete a task that’s been nagging at you
  • Start a book club

Spirit

  • Read something uplifting
  • Go on a date with your husband
  • Try a new type of food
  • Cut out negative people on social media
  • Call/email an old friend you haven’t talked to in ages
  • Unplug from all electronics
  • Meditate
  • Recite Affirmations

Most important: Get started

Mamas, you are so important. So much rides on your capable shoulders. Make sure you give them a break everyday (even it’s a small one). And remember, self care is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Implement your own selfcare routine and let the benefits seep into your life.

You’ve got this, mama!

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

 

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

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10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

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10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

Being a mom can seem like endless drudgery of doing the same tasks over and over. After mopping and vacuuming, five minutes later a child leaves crumbly cracker trails in her wake. After hours on laundry–gathering, washing, folding–the dirty clothes seem to pile again immediately.

But as you know, being a mom also brings moments where your heart feels like it’s going to burst from joy and happiness. Moments where you are overwhelmed with love and gratitude for your children and your life.

Unfortunately, those moments may not be a frequent as we want them to be. But making simple changes can increase our daily happiness and overcome feelings of drudgery and overwhelm.

Here are 10 practical strategies that be practiced daily to increase those sublime moments of happiness–and generally just make us happier.

10 Things Moms Can Do For More Daily Joy

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday For More Joy

1) Wake-up before your kids & do something for yourself.

Whether you exercise, read, meditate, pray, or write your to-do list, take time for yourself first thing. Filling your own cup first thing in the morning enables you to lift up and help those around you. 

If you, like myself, are NOT a morning person and need extra help to wake up in the  mornings, here are some awesome tips to help get you our of bed in the morning.

2) Make your bed every day.

It takes just a minute or two and will start your day off by creating order and feeling accomplished.

I used to think it was a pointless exercise, but I was wrong. Making your bed starts your day with a jolt of satisfaction and accomplishment. Slipping into a made bed at the end of the day simply feels better.

3) Exercise.

Just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day has amazing effects on mood, health, sleep quality, and energy level.

For ideas on ways to fit a workout into your day, check out 6 Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.

4) Use your phone at the right time for the right things.

Have you ever gotten on your phone and suddenly your kids start throwing epic fits. So you get frustrated and then everyone’s upset.

Why does that happen? When we are on our phones, we are no longer engaged with the world outside of out phone.  So you’re disengaged from your kids.

And then what do they do? They act out. Why? Because that’s how they know they can get you off your phone.

Your smartphone can help your life be more efficient. There are so many fantastic apps and features that can boost your productivity and help you stay organized. But it can also be a complete waste of time and energy. Here are some tips to be smart about your smartphone

5) Hug your husband for at least 20 seconds a day.

After a busy, often hectic day away from one another, it’s easy to feel disconnected at the end of the day.

Try a 20 second hug. It’s relaxing, can help build your realtionship, and is a mood booster. It releases oxytocin which creates feelings of trust and it also helps to relax your body. It may feel awkward at first, but embrace the awkward and reap the rewards.

6) Snuggle each child individually giving them 100% focus.

No matter how chaotic your day is, give at least a few minutes of snuggles and undivided attention to each child. Snuggling is going to build your relationship with your child and make everyone happier.

It’s amazing the peace it’ll bring to your home. Your kids will have fewer meltdowns and you will all be much happier. When I snuggle my children, I can literally feel the tension leaving their bodies. 

7) Choose your battles wisely.

With your spouse and your children, make sure you choose the right things to focus on. Whether battling over mismatched clothes, messy hair, toilet training, or a picky child, make sure you’re picking the right battles and letting the rest go.

Personally, I let my girls dress themselves. Sure, they are often clad in a mismatched array of patterns and colors. But they are happy and developing a sense of self and I don’t have to worry about it.

On school days, they rush into their classrooms with epic bed head, running past the girls with their perfectly coiffed braids and bows.

But hey, if they don’t care, neither do I.

8) Schedule downtime at the end of the day.

Stress is often a culprit in our bad moods and unhappiness. After the kids are down, treat yourself to a relaxing routine. Take a bath or read a book. Do something relaxing and rejuvenating that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

9) End your day reciting your “Top 10 of Today”

With your spouse or by yourself, go over the 10 best parts of your day. Can’t make it to 10? Shoot, even the top 1 or two will still be a mood booster. Focusing on the positives brings sunshine to even the cloudiest of days. 

10) Make your sleep a top priority.

This is much more important than a clean house. Your sleep is directly related to your mood, your energy, your health, and how you interact with others. Sleep deprivation can literally kill you.

Mom getting enough sleep = happy home.

Need help? Here are 10 amazing strategies that can help you get dramatically better sleep tonight.

It just takes a few minutes.

None of these strategies take more than a couple of minutes, but each of them will inject a burst of happiness into your day. And your happiness is the cornerstone of building a happy home.

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