6 ways to take care of your emotional well-being if you’re feeling overwhelmed as a mom
Whether you’re a stay at home mom overwhelmed by taking care of your kids 24/7 or a full time working mom overwhelmed by trying to balance your career with the care of your kids, being a mom is stressful! It comes with pressures you put on yourself to be the best mother you can be for your children along with constant pressures from society and external sources to be a picture perfect parent. The expectations are impossible to fulfill and mom burnout is REAL.
I recently went through a really traumatic and stressful season that made me feel incapable and like a failure as a mother. I experienced multiple complications in my last pregnancy including hyperemisis gravidarium, anemia, a blood clot, gestational diabetes, thyroid imbalance, and more. I could barely function as a human being nonetheless a mother. I was determined to be a better mother as soon as the baby was born but got hit with a neurological disease soon after delivery. I also developed strong consistent head pain that rendered me as incapable of mothering as I was during the pregnancy. With postpartum hormones also at play I reached the point of a total nervous breakdown and went to a month long mental health retreat to work through my deep-seeded anxiety (that we later determined was causing my head pain along other physical symptoms!) It was a long, exhausting, and emotional journey but through all my experience and therapy I learned some great ways to care for my emotional well-being during the draining season of being a mother with young kids.
In this post I want to share some of what I’ve learned with 6 ways to care for yourself as a mother, beyond the popular self care ideas of pampering your body with bubble baths and manicures. I want to share with you simple ways to care for your deep inner being so that you don’t lose yourself in the demands of raising a family.
Self Care Ideas For The Stressed Out Mommy
- Say ‘No’ to Things – This one is incredibly hard for me but I’m working on it. It’s impossible to keep up with the demands of everyone around you as a mother. If you’re going to have the time and energy to invest in your family it might mean saying no to other activities or people. If you build your schedule to please everyone around you, you will never have time in your schedule to slow down and take care of yourself. You NEED to develop healthy boundaries and make time for yourself and your family even if it means letting someone else down. You don’t have to say no to everything, but prioritize where you and your family invest your time so that there’s some to spare for moments together and for you to rest.
- Make Time For Hobbies You Enjoy – When I became a mom I let go of almost all of my hobbies. I used to enjoy art, playing musical instruments, reading books, and more. Once I became a mother they all went virtually untouched for about 5+ years. Recently I’ve learned how important it is to make time for some of my own hobbies even in this season of motherhood. Doing so brings a unique joy and self-identity to me. As much as I love spending time with my husband and kids, it serves all of us if I also find time to enjoy some of the activities that re-fuel and energize me. Think through some hobbies you used to enjoy and jump into them again or, if you can’t think of any neglected hobbies, start a new one! I have a long list of hobbies for moms that you can browse to select from and get started.
- Connect With Other People – I’m an introvert so I don’t often gravitate toward this one. However, investing in relationships with others that you connect with and enjoy brings so many benefits to your emotional well-being! If you’re a stay at home mom it brings companionship with other human beings and an opportunity to experience the emotional support and friendship of other ADULTS. If you’re a working mom you may already have some adult connections at your workplace, but making time for it outside of the workplace can lead to deeper friendships and opportunities to find emotional support from those around you as you balance work and your home life. No matter what type of motherhood season you’re in, connecting with other people can uniquely build you up.
- Give Your Health Attention – It may not seem like a fulfilling and fun way to practice self-care when you’re already overwhelmed and likely trying to balance a packed schedule, but make sure you take the time to give your health attention. When you’re a healthy mom you’re going to feel more energetic and empowered AND you’re going to set yourself up a lot better to dive in and care for your kids. Make sure you get enough sleep, go to the doctors appointments that you need, eat a relatively healthy diet, and find time to exercise. (It might require saying no to other things to make time for your health needs!)
- Journal Your Thoughts – I learned in my recent therapy that writing down your thoughts uses a different part of your brain than speaking them. So even if you’ve already shared your deepest soul with your husband or friend, it can be really helpful to still take your thoughts and feelings to pen and paper. Not only could it be therapeutic to help you vent out emotions, but developing a habit of journaling also forces you to take a few minutes to step back from life’s chaos and give your mind a period of peace to reset.
- Spend Time In Nature – I far too often underrate the power of being in nature. Even in the middle of a hectic day just a few minutes of sitting out in the fresh air and sunshine can go a long way to calm and refuel you. Try to find a way every day to soak in some of the nature around you – whether it’s simply breathing the fresh air deeply on your walk to and from the parking lot at work, going outside to bring in the mail, or more extended ways like spending time outside playing with your kids or unwinding with a cup of coffee in a patio chair. Nature rejuvenates.
Being a mom is an incredibly hard and draining role. It’s easy to neglect your own needs in the hustle and bustle, especially on a deep emotional level. If you’re struggling you’re normal! And it’s ok to be broken and need help. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the people around you – and try some of these ideas to restore some peace and rest to your soul.
As I learned through my recent experience with an intensely difficult mental health struggle, it’s important to set in place ways to care for your emotional well-being. Not all self care is bubble baths, candles, manicures, and spa days. Not all self care has to be a dedicated and scheduled event either. Take care of yourself by building healthy habits to be the best you you can be. YOUR well-being is important.
As the well-known quote states, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”