There have been a few times in my life that I have had what I refer to as a "light bulb" moment. It happens when something becomes so crystal clear and illuminated in my mind, almost like a light bulb has been turned on in a dark room.
I had a light bulb moment when thinking about my self-care routines, and ultimately it helped to transform me and change extended to my entire family.
As a young mom I had an idea in my head that being a martyr meant I was "doing it right." I thought that putting everyone elseís needs before my own meant that I was proving my love to my family. The only problem was that when I did they got the exhausted, depleted, and overwhelmed version of Mommy.
We have all heard flight attendants instruct us to put our oxygen mask on before those that we are caring for. Every single time I fly I silently thank the airline for the gentle reminder. It never gets old.
We cannot share what we donít have. If we donít have reserves of energy that allow us to feel balanced and centered we canít give our best to our children and loved ones, to our jobs, or to our friends and extended family.
The more I began to prioritize my own needs and care, by practicing meditation, mindfulness and gratitude, the more patient, present and joyful I became. I was able to bring the best version of myself to everyone that I cared about.
What I learned as I transformed from a "hot mess" to a "mindful mom" is that it doesnít take as much time as one would think to practice self-care. Small tweaks had a huge impact on my life. Things such as:
I taped a small piece of paper that simply says "gratitude" to my bathroom mirror. Whenever I brush my teeth in the morning and evening I think of a few things that I am grateful for so that I begin and end each day with appreciation. The more you practice gratitude, the more the Universe gives you to be grateful for. Not to mention, it is virtually impossible to feel stress and gratitude at the same time, so thinking of things you are grateful for is an amazing way to recalibrate your energy.
Starting the Day With Meditation
I gave myself the gift of starting each day from a balanced and centered place so I could take that energy into my entire day. I sat in stillness for just a few minutes each morning and found clarity, peace and clam. Doing this consistently allowed me to feel more present, patient and connected with my loved ones.
Getting Enough Sleep
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, and I realized I wasnít getting that. Sleep helps your body recover from day to day stress, and getting enough should be a priority. I took my bedtime back slowly, by fifteen minutes every two weeks until I reached my desired time.
Spending Time in Nature
There is something about fresh air that clears my head, sparks creativity, and helps me chill out. In fact, multiple studies have concluded that time in nature is good for mental health. When things start making me a little nuts, whether itís work, my kids, or self-doubt, I know that a few minutes outside will help bring me back to center.
Giving Myself Transition Time
Life today has us going in many directions on a daily basis. Between work, mom duties, volunteering, being a good friend, and everything in-between, we hop from one thing to the next without so much as taking a deep breath during transitions. Giving myself time to "change hats" made a huge difference in how I showed up in life, and if I was able to bring my best energy to each task.
“ Self-care isnít selfish at allÖ The better care I take of myself, the better I can care for everyone I love.”
I began taking a few deep breaths and doing a one-minute meditation in-between tasks, which was a total game changer. Getting the kids off to school feels like a job in itself, so before I start my actual work day I let myself transition from mom mode to work mode. I do this again at the end of the day as my work day closes and I am ready to put my "mom hat" back on.
The more love I show myself, the more love I am able to attract and share. All of my relationships have improved as a result. My transformation showed me that self-care isnít selfish at all. Itís actually the opposite! The better care I take of myself, the better I can care for everyone I love.
Ali Katz is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, self-care coach, and a meditation expert. She is known for her brand ďHot Mess to Mindful MomĒ which encompasses books, live events, a blog, and a booming online community. Aliís uncanny ability to make the concepts of self-care, mediation and mindfulness feel relatable, and downright fun, truly sets her apart from the traditional self-help crowd. For more information visit www.hotmesstomindfulmom.com