I’m an old mom.
Okay, not in the sense that I’m literally old (unless you ask my kids), but now that my youngest is three, I’ve entered a phase where the baby years are behind me.
And while that’s sad, I’m also excited because it makes taking care of myself a little bit easier.
Today, I wanted to share with you three habits that I currently practice daily that are helping me stay sane during this new season of life.
My hope is that sharing how I practice taking care of myself will inspire you to do more of the same.
1) Practice daily yoga
As of the day this goes out, I’ll be on day 272 of practicing daily yoga.
And before you think, “well, that’s great for you, Lauren, but I can’t do yoga every day,” I want to be 100% transparent and honest about how daily yoga looks in my life:
- For starters, I typically average 20 minutes per day, but there was a month where my daily practice was more like 5-15 minutes.
- Oftentimes, those shorter practices are yin-yoga style – meaning I’m just laying around stretching in resting poses. Nothing crazy.
- I like to follow a yoga calendar. I’m currently a member of Sarah Beth Yoga and practice from her library of videos.
I just finished her 30 day Bend calendar (so proud of myself) and I started her 30-day Deep Stretch one a few days ago. With last month’s practice being a little bit intense, I feel like a more relaxed practice with shorter videos is what I need this month to recover.
The point being: You can make yoga look like however you want (or need) to, mama. I love the flexibility of it (pun intended).
If you’re interested in starting a yoga practice of your own and you want to read more about my yoga journey, including more details on the health benefits, check out these posts:
2) Phone free time before bed
Ever since I learned that I’m a highly sensitive person, I’ve been very mindful of the stimulating nature of using electronic devices before bed.
Therefore, to protect myself from overloading my senses, I take precautions to make sure my routine before bed calms my mind (instead of keeping it alert and active).
I already keep my social media apps and email notifications turned off always. To me, it’s not important to have my thoughts interrupted with email or social media alerts. I log into those apps when my headspace is ready for it.
But for bedtime specifically, I have my iPhone screentime settings set to where it locks me out of practically all apps after 7 pm, except the weather, clock, and meditation apps.
Does this mean I never sneak onto IG after hours? No. However, the locks make me pause and be more mindful of how I’m supposed to be spending that time. It forces me to question, “do I really need to be doing this right now?”
How do you spend the two hours you have before bed? If you’re having a hard time falling asleep (even if you’re exhausted), I strongly recommend taking a closer look at your habits before you go to bed. If you have an iPhone, utilize the screen time feature to see how much time you’re spending on your phone in the hours before bed.
For me, my evenings are much more peaceful when I allow myself to disconnect. And my friends and family know that I’m not available to respond to calls/texts during that time, that they won’t hear back from me until morning.
Instead of using my phone, I take care of myself by showering (washing away negative energy), doing my PM skincare regimen, and practicing yoga. If I have time, I might also do some EFT tapping, meditate, read or journal. And sometimes, if I’m feeling relaxed enough, I’ll squeeze in watching an episode or two of my favorite shows.
3) Keep a consistent bedtime
With the kids back in school, it’s so important for me to make sure I get to bed early enough for the early morning grind. I’m not a morning person, so getting enough sleep makes me a little more pleasant to be around when I wake up.
For now, I try and hit the pillow by 10 pm. Depending on the morning, wake-up time is either 6 or 6:30 am and I function best when I’ve gotten 8-9 hours rest.
Even though my Fitbit doesn’t quite calculate my sleep time as that long, I remember Deepack Chopra explaining once that it doesn’t matter if you’re actually “sleeping.” So long as you’re in a restful pose, you’re benefiting. Hence, I no longer stress too much if I find myself waking up and having difficulty falling back to sleep.
I know it’s easy to fill up the evening with last-minute tidying up and chores (and there was a time where I tried to have the kitchen cleaned every night so I wouldn’t wake up to a mess).
However, for me, I realized it was better to save that sort of thing for the morning because cleaning up is a stimulating task for me and it was impacting my ability to wind down before bed.
The point I’m trying to make is that it’s okay to go to bed early regardless of if you completed your to-do list. The more you rest, the more productive you can be the following day – if that’s your objective.
For me, prioritizing sleep is needed for me to avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. If I’m well-rested, the mess doesn’t annoy me as much. I can think more clearly and I have more energy to do all the mom things required of me. I’m less likely to snap at my children and my days are just brighter overall.
If you’re looking to get into a better bedtime rhythm, you might enjoy this post:
To recap, here are the three daily habits I practice to help me stay sane:
- Practicing daily yoga
- Avoiding my phone before bed
- Keeping a consistent bedtime
I think that when it comes to stress management as a mom, consistency is key. Find what self-care habits work for you. Then, set out to practice them regularly.
Stress in today’s world is a constant, which means we need to constantly do things to counter it. Otherwise, it builds up in our minds and our bodies.
By consistently doing things to release stress, I’m preventing the stress from building up. I’m being proactive. I’m not waiting to have a meltdown before taking time for myself. My objective is to consistently care for myself so that I can avoid the meltdown and reduce the chances of hitting a funk.
Because if there’s anything I know, it is that I can’t protect myself from experiencing stressful events. It’s impossible to eliminate stress entirely. Instead, I must learn to live with it, learn to work around it, and build up some resiliency.
Daily self-care practices can help you do that, too. They can help you build up some resiliency so that the next time you’re having an unusually stressful day, you can handle it gracefully.
Is it hard to prioritize yourself? Yes.
But you can do hard things. I believe in you.