3 Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Working Mom
Working mothers know the stress of parenthood and the time management struggle that comes with it. Between grocery shopping, nursery room setup, soccer drop-off, and more, what falls at the bottom of your endless to-do list is time for yourself. It can be hard to carve out self-care as a working mom, but we all know how refreshing it can be when you get some R&R to yourself — especially when coping with everyday stressors.
Working parenthood is difficult, emotionally and physically, but breaking it into small steps makes it less overwhelming. By understanding the issues you’re facing and ways to manage them, you’ll be able to succeed. And the secret to successful working parenthood is self-care.
The Challenges of Being a Working Mom
Working moms and expectant mothers endure myriad stressors each day. For mothers in the first postpartum stages, the challenges of being a working mom are all too prevalent, from sleepless nights to interruptions during video meetings and even feeding, pumping, or cleaning in between calls. Unfortunately, working-parent transitions don’t only occur at the onset of work after children are born. When kids are older and finish school for the summer, or you hire a new babysitter, your home environment always changes while your work expects the same or even more.
Toggling between identities is another challenge. It’s often easy to put your kids’ needs before your own. Do you have time to finish that report by 5 p.m., or will you spend time watching your child at soccer practice and then work well into the night to finish your tasks? From an identity standpoint, mothers often choose between being moms and working professionals.
For working mothers, communication is often tricky, too. You might be in a workplace that understands the transition, making communication easier. Or your workplace might make communication difficult whether or not you’re a new mother. Discussions about home life could feel too personal and uncomfortable for many mothers, yet not having these conversations often results in more stress and burnout. Further, without communication, you could find yourself missing out on important moments, such as your baby’s first steps or words.
Self-Care Strategies for Working Moms
Working parents are caregivers, but we also need to remember they are caregivers to themselves, too. We can do our best for others when we feel refreshed ourselves. Here are three small steps you can incorporate into your routine as a busy mother that will impact your life:
1. Tackle the physical side of de-stressing.
A woman’s body produces 50% more body fluids and blood during pregnancy to support the developing baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Excess water can only be expelled via sweat and urination. This is where infrared applications come into play for self-care for new moms. An infrared sauna session can help with postpartum recovery by helping shed excess water weight and bloating, detox the body, boost metabolism, and reduce joint pain. As a mom, it can be hard to squeeze time in the sauna; responsive infrared textiles can provide similar benefits to the infrared sauna when integrated into products used daily, such as apparel and bedding. De-stressing is often a mental game, but it can also be physical.
2. Think short-term and long-term.
Milestones take miles, not inches. As professionals, we’re often incentivized to strive for intermediate goals, such as meeting annual revenue targets or completing a six-month project. But as a parent returning to work after maternity leave, it can be difficult to think about the future when you’re missing your baby in the present.
To combat this, try thinking very short-term and very long-term simultaneously. In just a few hours, you can be at home with your baby again, whereas, in a few years, you can rest easy knowing you did your best to provide for them and show them the benefits of hard work. Allow yourself time to feel your current feelings and look forward to the relief of being with your baby again soon. But also, maintain a long-term goal you keep striving to reach that will provide an ultimately positive outcome.
3. Integrate a daily self-care routine.
Taking time for yourself doesn’t have to take hours or days; sometimes, it can take just a few minutes. Prioritizing time to write in a journal, read a book, or do some meditation will help you be more mindful and allow you to catch your breath and take care of your health to better care for those around you.
Exercise and fresh air can also do wonders not only for physical health but also for mental health. Practicing a daily skincare routine, taking a nightly bath, or listening to a podcast are all small changes that will greatly impact your quality of life. Whether you use an app like Calm or one of the many podcasts on Spotify or YouTube, sounds and meditation services can help you quickly implement self-care.
As a working mom, you deserve to feel rested and relaxed, and following these steps will help you start every day on the right foot. With all the stress related to motherhood, especially when work compounds the equation, you owe it to yourself to prioritize your needs, too. By considering infrared for relaxation, implementing self-care, and altering your thinking, you can bring your best self to the table for those who need you at work and home.
Kristina Johnson is an Account Development Manager who, as a new mother, oversees the FemTech and Beauty verticals of Hologenix, a materials science company dedicated to developing products that amplify human potential and improve health and wellness. CELLIANT®, its flagship technology, is an infrared ingredient brand that enhances textile-based products with health and wellness benefits across performance, recovery, and sleep. This article was originally published on Ms. Career Girl.