Black Maternal Health Week is April 11-17 and this year’s theme is Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy. In honor of the theme, we wanted to really encourage Black moms who are often praised for being overly sacrificing for their children and families, to be intentional about self-care.
Indulging in self-care doesn’t make you selfish and it is necessary for moms to intentionally and regularly refill their own cups. Doing things to make yourself happy actually shows children what that looks like. It normalizes self-care for them, teaches them healthy coping skills, shows them how to set boundaries for themselves and even helps them build better relationships. Below are ways 6 ways you can practice self-care as a mom.
Do something you enjoy or that relaxes you for at least 15 minutes daily
Making time to regularly create space for yourself enables you to be more intentional about acknowledging and prioritizing your own needs on a daily basis. It can be as simple as taking a walk, bubble bath, having a cup of tea, or just sitting outside on the front porch without the kids. It gives you a chance to catch your breath and regroup before jumping back into mom mode. It also helps teach your children that mom needs time, too.
Set appropriate boundaries with your children
Boundaries help us love ourselves and our children in a healthy and balanced way, however, it can be hard for kids to honor our boundaries and for moms to set them without guilt. So, it’s important to remember that it’s a learning process and the expectation is not for things to go perfectly overnight. Starting really small and kid-friendly can be helpful. For example, tell your small child that he or she gets to do whatever they want (within reason of course) on his/her own for five minutes, while you take five minutes for yourself. You can even give this time a special name to make your child feel special about getting to take five minutes for himself or herself. Starting with five minutes and gradually working your way up helps set the foundation for both mom and children to build healthy boundaries on.
Journal your feelings and visualize possibilities
Sometimes when we’re stuck in a rut or mundane routine of motherhood, we believe we’re actually stuck and that this is all there is. Keeping a visualization or manifestation journal can help to break that mundane cycle in your mind and remind you that you still have dreams, hopes, and joy outside of being a mom. In this journal, you can write all the things you still want to do, see, accomplish, feel and really visualize it happening. They can be big AND small things that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Exercise and eat healthy
Never underestimate the power of a balanced diet and moving your body when it comes to both motherhood and self-care. Not only does exercise release endorphins that help improve your mood, but having a healthy body gives you more energy for yourself and your children. Exercise doesn’t always have to be hitting the gym or doing some Beach Body workout. It can be as simple as taking a walk, walking in place while watching your favorite show, or putting on some music and dancing around the house. When it comes to eating healthy, gradually work in some healthier food choices without depriving yourself of your favorites. Think moderation, not deprivation.
Make time for friends, whether it’s virtually or in real life
Healthy friendships will provide you with a listening ear, helpful advice, and a break from your kids and family even if it’s just for a little bit. Staying connected to friends helps remind you that you have a support system and that you are more than a wife (if you’re married) and mother.
Download our app for additional support
This isn’t a shameless plug…well maybe it is. However, there are huge benefits to joining apps and virtual communities that help keep you intentionally and gently accountable for maintaining your overall well-being. You get access to expert information, support, and community to help you find ease on your motherhood journey.
Children live what they learn and their mom is often their first teacher of life. So, if they never see you taking a break, asking for space, and doing things that bring you joy, ease, and fulfillment, imagine what message that’s sending to them?