Guest Contributor: Liz Sarantopoulos, MSW, LICSW
Liz Sarantopoulos is a social worker living and working outside of Boston, MA. Liz helps strengthen emotional wellness in new mom’s by helping them achieve balance in their busy and stressful everyday lives. Liz is a wife, mother, and dog lover. She enjoys going on long walks with her beagle (Charlie), taking spinning & yoga classes, and baking cupcakes. Liz has an adventurous spirit and loves discovering new places both near and far.
As I sit here drinking my second cup of coffee, watching little E play with her toys and our dog, Charlie, taking his first early morning nap, I realize that my self-care went flying out the window last week.
I feel sluggish, this granola bar is not taming the rumbles coming from my stomach, and I can’t remember a moment in the past few days where I wasn’t thinking about my family, patients, or planning for the upcoming week.
What do most of us do when this happens? We “mommy on”, ignoring the signs that our well-being has taken some hits and we’re running low on superhero juice.
Self-care is so incredibly important, but it’s also easy to let slide when you’ve got a lot going on. I always remind my patients to build in a little time each day for self-care, for “Me Time”. Studies show, that 10-15 minutes’ worth of self-care can greatly improve your mood and energy levels. Here are some tips:
Move Your Body
Research suggests that exercise helps relieves stress and can improve your mood, so get up and move around! Attend a spin class at the gym, do yoga while you catch up on the news, or transform mommy and me time into a workout!
Fall is one of the best times of year here in New England. Open the windows, take a stroll through a pumpkin patch, pick some apples, or just drink your pumpkin spiced latte outside. Experience the cool, crisp air on your face. I promise, it will make you feel better.
The saying “you are what you eat” is not a joke. When you take the time to plan your grocery list with healthy foods and meal plans, you feel better. Make this a regularly habit. Spend some time planning healthy, wholesome meals for you and your family.
Silencing the mind is a difficult task, and when you constantly have a to-do list running through my head, it’s tough to truly feel relaxed. For me, I find that meditating 10-15 minutes a night before going to bed helps me sleep better. If you struggle sitting in silence, try downloading a mediation app for your phone. My favorites are Headspace and Buddhify.
Being a mom is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding jobs. It’s important (with every job) to take a little time for yourself. Schedule that manicure or haircut you have been wanting. Take an hour to yourself to do something that you want to do. Step out, regroup, decompress, and come back as a refreshed and relaxed mama.
Plan It Out
If you’re struggling to incorporate self-care into your life, try setting a reminder in your phone. You can also make a sticky note or add it to your daily schedule (you’ll feel proud that you accomplished something when you cross it off your to-do list!). How ever you do it, make it a priority to yourself and your mental health.
Being a mom is hard work. Sometimes bad days, weeks, or even months get the best of us. Remember your self-care when times are tough. It will help you through the hard times and possibly even help you see things a little differently.
And don’t forget mama, you are worth it!