The truth is, when you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.
To avoid burning the candles at both ends, here are 10 resolutions for this year that are you-focused so you include yourself on the list of people you are caring for and are ready for whatever life (and motherhood) may throw at you.
1. Make time for yourself.
And don’t apologize for it.
As moms, it’s all too easy to “should” all over yourselves. I should be able to keep going. I should be more intentional during playtime. I should plan more activities. I shouldn’t pay a babysitter just to go sit at Starbucks. The problem with all that should-ing is that it leaves you feeling like…well, crap.
This year, give yourself permission to claim your time.
2. Be intentional with your time.
There’s one small thing you can do every morning that makes the difference between starting off on the right foot or the wrong one—getting up before your kids do.
Wake up TO your day, rather than be woken up BY your day. Set an alarm for at least 15 minutes before your kids’ typical wake up time. It gives you time to brew a pot of coffee and do a quick devotional or maybe just watch the sun rise. Waking up to peace and quiet rather than cries of “Mom, Mama, Mommy, Maaaa-mmaaaaa!” will help ease you into your day.
3. Take care of your body.
Breaking a sweat and getting your heart rate up a few times a week can be critical to your state of mind.
In the famous words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don’t kill their husbands.”
4. Accept help.
Many mamas fall victim to not asking for help when they need it, but it often leaves them feeling burned out and overwhelmed.
In the name of taking better care of yourself, when someone extends a dinner invitation on night three of solo parenting, say yes.
5. Take care of your mind.
Read one book a month. It doesn’t have to be highbrow literature or a book, just something you can lose yourself in for a few hours.
6. Be kind to yourself.
Scrolling through Instagram can make it really easy to feel like you’re not thin enough, fashionable enough or sufficiently well-lit in your photographs. Pinterest can lead to dissatisfaction with a small house and disorganized closets. Facebook can leave you longing for more vacations or a more successful career.
Social media is great for maintaining connections, but not so great for encouraging satisfaction and contentment. Be kinder to yourself and more appreciative of what you have by spending less time on social media.
7. Prioritize friendships.
It can be all too easy to neglect your friendships. “They’ll understand.” “They’re busy, too.” And they do, and they are, but it’s so rejuvenating to take the time to reconnect.
So every week, reach out to a friend—whether by text, email, or over a cup of coffee. Just a quick check-in, to see how things are and let them know you’re thinking of them.
8. Spend more time being present.
This year, drawing lines around your time with the kids—the first hour after school and the hour before bedtime can belong solely to them, as well mealtimes. Work can wait.
9. Make space for your passions.
It doesn’t pay the bills, fold the laundry, keep the house clean or take care of the kids, which means it often ends up at the bottom of your priority list.
You may not be able to move it to the top of the list, but you can carve out a little time every week for your what simply makes you happy.
10. Give and accept grace.
Maybe your 3-year-old woke up in a bad mood. Or your 7-year-old spilled his milk all over the kitchen floor (again). You skip your workout.
You may roll my eyes and your temper may flare. But what if you met mistakes with grace instead? “That’s okay; let’s wipe it up together.” “No problem; I’ll just set my alarm early and workout tomorrow instead.”
An unexpected dose of grace never fails to make an impact.