I’ve spent this summer focusing on an area of wellness that many moms are notorious for neglecting–self-care.
For some reason, we fall into the trap of thinking that taking care of ourselves is selfish. But I’m discovering the exact opposite.
When we carve out time to cultivate healthy habits for ourselves, we become even more empowered to care for those around us.
My perspective on this whole self-care concept began to change a few months back while listening to a Michael Hyatt podcast on priorities. As a Christian, he places God as the number 1 priority in his life. I do the same.
But his number 2 priority surprised me at the time:
“I believe you come next. That’s where I put myself, and I make no apologies for it. That means before my family, friends, and career. Even before my ministry.
“I don’t think this is because I am selfish or ego-centric. Then why do I do it?
“Because I can’t take care of anyone else unless I take care of myself….
“I have to attend to myself first (second only to God) in order to be spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically available to others. If you have trouble with the semantics of putting yourself second, think of it as preparation to serve others.” ~Michael Hyatt
After reading this and listening to his podcast, I knew that I needed to make self-care more of a priority in my life, but it took me a few months to begin putting it into practice.
Since my husband is a teacher, it affords me more time during the summer to cultivate new habits. The following are 5 healthy habits for moms that I’ve been developing this summer. I’ve seen a world of difference in my attitude, my energy levels and my overall ability to keep my home, mother my children and pour into my marriage and business.
I’ve been able to incorporate all of the following five habits into my new morning routine, and I list them in the order in which I complete them.
5 Healthy Habits for Moms
1. Rising Early
You’ve heard the old saying: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Humbling as it is to admit, I used to scoff at this quote.
Why? I’m a born night owl, and I simply could not imagine a time when I’d ever be able to get to bed at a decent enough hour to afford me the ability to rise early.
Boy was I wrong!
This summer I’ve learned that I absolutely LOVE waking up early, and, in fact, I’ve seen it add two extra hours to my day!
Rising early can give mothers calm and quiet to gather their thoughts and plan their days. It can also grant them the margin needed to complete other healthy habits that they might not have time to fit in while their children are awake.
2. Charting Fertility
I had been wanting to chart my fertility for a really long time, but I just never got around to learning how to do it. I’ve always been one of the types who gets surprised when that time of the month comes since I haven’t kept track of it!
(I know! How embarrassing!)
Beyond watching for signs of fertility, I believe tracking our cycles can be important in tracking our overall health.
There are a plethora of cheap or free tracking apps available today, but I’m going the easy way out: I’m using the highly-rated Lady Comp device. The Lady Comp has been around for over 25 years and is pretty fool proof. I will be reviewing it on the site after using it for a few more months!
I haven’t yet, but I would like to read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which is supposed to really help women understand their cycles.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with exercise (maybe most of us do?).
I’ve come to realize that I actually love exercising when I can do it with a group of people–and when I can get it done first thing in the morning.
Rising early has afforded me the opportunity to take a 6 a.m. exercise class. My friend Megan is in the class, and it’s really good accountability to know that she will be there.
Exercising may not make me skinny, but I can confident that it will make me strong. I am excited to be a stronger mama for my girls. Plus, I have already noticed that it’s boosted my energy levels.
4. Reading the Bible
I struggle with self-discipline even in this area–as humbling as it is to admit! I’ve learned that the key to my spiritual health, though, is spending daily time in God’s Word–even if it’s only for five minutes!
Another humbling confession: When I was in my early 20s, and did not have kids yet, I would scoff at those 5-Minute Devotionals for Moms books. Um, now I totally understand only having five minutes. And five is much better than none. I’ve also learned that it’s definitely quality over quantity.
For me, it takes setting aside a specific time to spend time reading my Bible. My new habit is to read a chapter in the parking lot right after my exercise class.
This sets me up to continue praying as I go about my day, and I listen to KLOVE on my ROKU or in the car and also listen to encouraging podcasts that nourish my spirit throughout the day.
5. Eating a Strict Whole Foods Diet
My family has been eating mostly whole foods for more than six years now, but as our income has increased over the past two years, I have definitely seen my shift to buying some boxed organic or gluten-free items–like cookies, baking mixes, cereal, etc. to eat during busy seasons.
The only thing is…it seems like we are constantly in a season of busyness, and I have far-too-often let “busyness” be an excuse for laziness when it has come to preparing and serving the best foods possible to my family.
I decided to try a strict paleo diet for myself during the month of July.
The Whole 30 is a gentle detox/system reset that requires you to give up all grains, dairy, legumes and sweeteners for 30 days. I will post next week on how I did on this plan!
These are just five healthy habits I’ve personally been cultivating this summer. There are so many more I want to work toward–like drinking more water, taking certain supplements and sticking to my boundaries to guard my off-line relationships.
TCOYF is an awesome read. That and a thermometer helped me get pregnant in two cycles. Every woman should read it as soon as they start cycling, it is that good.
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup
Thank you for the excellent reminder of this post! I used to think that taking care of my self was selfish, but I have learned that I am a better wife and mom when I take care of me. If I am tired and grumpy then I am no fun to be around. I also find that this is easier said than done and you have done an excellent job! I do take the time to read my Bible and listen to Christian music on a daily basis. I am not an early riser, but I do make it a priority to get my sleep and exercise as much as possible as both of these make me a happier person. Eating healthy is also high on my list because it directly affects both my mood and my energy level. Thank you, again, for the reminder that we need to take care of us before we can take care of those we love.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
I have to admit that at first I scoffed a little in my head, thinking that I disagreed that we need to put ourselves before our family and others. BUT, as I read, I realized that I actually wholeheartedly agree. I know what an incredible difference getting up early to pray, read, and prepare does for my day. I also know that when I eat foods that really nourish my body, I am more able to physically AND mentally care for my family’s needs. I have never been one to consistently keep to a personal exercise routine, but I recognize that it is something that would be a great help as well.
Thank you for the reminder that I can’t neglect myself and do all the things I need to do!
i really do need to focus more on self care. i tried whole 30 last year and was just about throwing up my eggs from breakfast every morning when i realized that maybe it wasn’t the eggs and i was pregnant with my baby boy. trying for a second now so it’s not the time for whole 30 again, but i am trying to focus majorly on eating more vegetables and less grains. i still have a long way to go on the self care thing though. it is an enormous struggle.
I’ve had such a hard time with this concept. It does help me to think of it as preparing yourself to serve. I’m currently living out what happens when you don’t take time to care for yourself OR simply fill your own refreshment tank ~ recharge yourself. I think the Lord had been gently trying to get my attention for a while, but I kept gritting on, putting the next fire out, doing the next thing. Mid August, I came down with a nasty case of mono. Mono is ruthless, and I could hardly feed myself let alone care for OR homeschool my 8 precious children. My amazing parents took my kids to live with them while I recover and the Lord graciously paved the way for 5 of my 6 school age children to go the sweet Christian school where my husband teaches. I am finally now learning to rest ~ let myself sit quietly and be loved by Him. Its wonderful, but I so miss my kids, even though I do get to see them often. The Lord is good and His desire is FOR us! Somewhere in Isaiah it says, He gently leads those who are with young. He understands our needs and I’m pretty sure He smiles when He sees us properly preparing to care for our families.
Isaiah 40:10-11 Great verses for tired mothers! 🙂
There is no way I can spend $500 on a fertility computer…! Are there any other brands you recommend?
i have the clear blue one from costco which was around $150.
Just get the book she mentioned… Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It has a wealth of information in it and you really don’t need to spend any money on a monitor.