By Kirstyn Mayden, Crosswalk.com
As a mom of a preschool-aged daughter, my life is full, and my number one priority is to make sure that her daily needs are met. From the time she wakes up to when she goes to bed, she is active, and I’m trying to keep up (LOL). From playing in the park, going to preschool, and watching Paw Patrol, there is never a dull moment in our household. Watching my daughter develop and grow is the absolute joy of my life, but it leaves little to no time for self-care.
If you are a mom of active young children, carpooling elementary-age students and/or teenagers, or navigating adult children, I know that finding consistent time to care for yourself can be challenging. Whatever season of motherhood we may find ourselves in, God is with us and desires for us to live joyful, complete, and abundant lives.
Being a mom is a 24-hour a day, 7-days-a-week job with ongoing duties, full schedules, and relentless responsibilities. As moms, we know that taking care of ourselves is important, but making it a priority in our already busy lives is a continual challenge. Motherhood is a gift from God that shouldn’t be restricted to endless to-do lists, overwhelming schedules, and limited free time. Oftentimes, we try to over-complicate self-care, but God wants us to keep it simple. It doesn’t take a lot of money or time. We just have to be committed to making our self-care a priority. If you are struggling to find any time for self-care, here are five simple, practical ways to better take care of yourself as a mom:
1. Detach from Electronics
To help minimize mental burnout and overload, I invite you to momentarily take a break from looking at your phone or computer. This will help limit how much information you are absorbing, as well as help to re-energize, restore, and clear your mind. It also helps to free you up to be creative and not have your mind weighed down with the numerous headlines of the day. While engaging social media and the internet can be a helpful tool for gathering information, it can also be very time-consuming and draining. When we take a break from electronics for a period of time, it helps our minds be still and unwind from the overwhelming need to always know.
As moms, we are often relied upon to manage multiple aspects of both our personal and home lives. Being the keeper of a lot of information can be taxing at times. So, today, I invite you to detach from electronics to clear your mind and reinvigorate your soul.
2. Take a Walk Outside
Taking a walk or participating in any outdoor activity encourages needed exercise, absorbs Vitamin D, and provides uninterrupted time to unwind. You can go on a prayer walk, listen to music, or just enjoy God’s beautiful creation in nature. Walking also helps you relax and recharge before moving forward to the next tasks that are waiting for you. If you have minimal time for a walk or it isn’t a viable option, I invite you to be creative. Walk around your favorite book store or walk with your kids in the park. If possible, it would be great to go on a solo walk, but varying circumstances may not make it feasible. Incorporating movement in your daily routine will help increase your energy as well as help establish healthy habits.
3. Do Something You Enjoy
I also invite you to take some time to do something that brings you joy. When we do things exclusively for ourselves, we are prioritizing our self-care and taking the time to be revitalized. In Christian culture, this can often be deemed selfish. But let me remind you: there is a difference between selfish intentions and the need for personal reflection, quiet time, and peace. Even Jesus took naps, sat down for meals, and got away from the crowds to be with the One who provided His greatest sense of joy, the Father.
Continually pouring out and serving others, without being regularly filled up, will leave us feeling depleted, overwhelmed, and exhausted. You can read, sit outside, have a spa day, listen to music, or watch your favorite show or movie. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you decide to pursue refreshing joy.
As moms, our self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or cumbersome. It’s most important that whatever you choose is edifying, life-giving, and meaningful for you and will help strengthen your relationship with God.
4. Stay Connected with God
Staying connected to God through prayer, maintaining a grateful heart, and scripture reading is an essential way to care for ourselves as moms. God is our ultimate source and provides us the strength, energy, and stamina to be great moms and accomplish all the things that God has called us to do. John 15:5 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” Us moms give so much of our physical, mental, and emotional energy away to others daily that we desperately need to be filled back up with the things of God. As we continue to grow in our relationship with God and abide in Christ, God will strengthen us as women and moms.
5. Take a Break
Taking a break may seem like a simple way of caring for ourselves, but it is something that is often overlooked. Taking a break allows our bodies, minds, and spirits to relax, recharge and re-focus. When we take a break from our overloaded schedules and obligations, we are giving ourselves permission to breathe and have more time and space to connect with God. Mark 6:31b states, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
We can also find a deeper, healthier dependence on God to continue to direct, lead, and guide our lives as we listen to His voice more. When we decide to take a break from something temporarily or permanently, we are deciding to relinquish control fully to God and be confident that God will continue to provide our needs as moms. We don’t have to strive within our own strength to get everything done, which will keep us burnt out, but we can begin to shift our focus more on things that will fill us up and give our souls' lasting joy.
As we continue to move forward each day, I encourage you to take care of yourself as a mom and relieve yourself of guilt for doing so. In order for us to be the best moms and women we can be, carving out consistent time for self-care is non-negotiable. God has amazing plans for each of us, but we must continue to be filled up by staying connected with God, doing things that bring our spirits joy, and taking a momentary break from electronics or chores. If you are a mom, may God give you the courage, wisdom, and boldness to care for yourself unapologetically so you can continue to be all that God has called you to be.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/LightFieldStudios
Kirstyn Mayden is a Christian blogger who writes devotionals that empower and equip believers in their everyday lives. She is a wife, Mom, and loves Jesus. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. For the last 20 years, Kirstyn has served in several ministry capacities. She has a passion to serve with women empowering them to grow and live out their God-given purpose. Currently, she serves alongside her husband in ministry in West Virginia. She is the author of Merciful Moments: A Devotional Journal for Moving Forward with Grace Each Day. Connect with Kirstyn’s blog here.