Over the past 8 days, a group of amazing women completed the Wellness Mom Challenge together. The purpose of the challenge was to help moms take time for themselves. The truth is, many of us feel like we shouldn’t take time to care for ourselves.
Yet, without doing this, we often become stressed out, exhausted, and even desperate. So what holds us back from creating wellness habits, and what can we do once we realize something needs to change?
WHY WE DON’T CREATE WELLNESS HABITS:
We feel guilty that we would want to take time for ourselves. We look at other moms and compare, and think, “Well they don’t need time away from their kids – why should I?” Or, we feel bad simply admitting that we need a break.
Obviously, there is balance here, but I can tell you that my husband and I went away for a weekend as soon as it was feasible for us to do so. Not because we didn’t love our daughter, but because we did! We knew she was safe, and we knew that we needed to reconnect as a couple.
In talking about the concept of taking care of ourselves, Heather from the God Centered Mom Podcast says: “It feels selfish, I think – that’s the lie we tell ourselves.” Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm replied with this: “It ends up becoming the most self-less thing I can do to take care of myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually – so that, I am now whole, and I have energy to give out to you, and when you have a problem, now I can help you instead of making it about me.” (Listen to the entire episode here.)
What I want moms to know (myself included) is that it is OKAY – no, it’s NECESSARY – to take care of ourselves. No guilt for doing this!
I want moms to know is that it is OKAY to take care of ourselves. Click To Tweet
We think that caring for ourselves and our own wellness requires a lot of time. For example, perhaps you think of the “big things” such as getting away for a weekend or going to get a massage. Or maybe we are already so busy that we just don’t know how we could possibly squeeze in any extra time for taking care of ourselves.
For the Wellness Mom Challenge, we took just 15-30 minutes per day for a task. Each day was something different, but the idea was that we would focus that time on caring for one particular area of wellness. Eight days is not enough time to develop a new habit, but it IS enough time to figure out what areas may need more attention.
Here’s what one of the challenge participants shared after she completed it:
THANK YOU for offering this challenge! I really enjoyed all of it- even day 7 (ha ha). Doing this opened my eyes to the fact that I can take better care of myself, my family, and my environment making little changes. – Elesia
Developing new wellness habits doesn’t have to require huge amounts of time! A little bit every day can make a world of difference in taking care of your own wellness, and therefore being able to feel better and have more to give those around you.
So what now? Perhaps you did the challenge, and you found out what area is an area of weakness that you want to change. Or maybe you didn’t do it (don’t worry, you can still do it whenever you want), but you know you need to make some changes in how you care for yourself as a mom.
If you recognize that you: A. need to take care of yourself and B. want to make changes, then the next step is creating new habits. But how?
Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an expert. I highly recommend using a life coach if you really want some serious life change. However, I can share what has worked for me, and I will use one example of a change I made in the past year which has made a big difference.
5 STEPS TO CREATING NEW WELLNESS HABITS
- Make a decision.
If you want to develop a new habit, you must decide to do it. I decided last Spring that I wanted to start getting up earlier. I realized that starting the day by immediately having demands placed on me (daughter wants to play, making breakfast, taking care of the dog, talking to husband) was doing nothing for my personal wellness. I was feeling stressed by starting my day that way. Many other wise women shared that they valued getting up earlier than their kids so they could have time alone. I decided that I truly wanted to develop this new habit.
- Make a plan.
You can make a decision about anything, but without a plan in place, you’re likely to fail. When I decided to start getting up early in the morning, I made a plan about how I would do that. I set my alarm – sort of an obvious one. I prepped the coffee pot the night before, so that all I had to do was plug it in when I woke up. And I had my Bible & other reading materials ready in the place I planned to sit when I got up.
- Get accountability.
This is one of the most effective ways to develop a new habit. I asked a friend if she wanted to get up early, as well, and she said yes. We decided on the time, and we committed to texting one another when we were up. So when the alarm went off, and all I wanted to do was roll over, I knew that I would get the text, and she would be waiting for my response. Having that accountability motivated me when I didn’t have the motivation to do it myself.
- Choose one habit at a time to focus on.
If you feel overwhelmed thinking about all the areas of wellness you want to work on, instead choose just one area, and then narrow down to one specific habit to develop. Once you’ve got one new habit down pat, then choose the next one.
For me, I had been doing pretty well with getting up early until my daughter went through a phase of waking up multiple times per night. This was physically and emotionally draining, and for a time, I realized that it was more important for me to sleep a bit longer than get up early. However, getting out of the habit made it hard to get back in. So at the start of the new year, I decided to focus on this habit again, even though there are a few others I want to develop this year as well.
- Just do it.
This may be painfully obvious, but once you decide you are going to change or develop a new habit, and you make a plan, and you have accountability – you have to actually start doing it.
When my alarm goes off at 6am, I get out of bed immediately. I know that if I don’t just do it, I will be hitting the snooze for an hour. Ultimately, changing a habit or creating a new one requires taking action. It might be the action of refraining from something, or it might be the action of doing something. Either way, there is conscious effort involved.
NEXT STEPS: WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
- One option is to join the Wellness Mom Challenge to help you learn a few simple things you can do each day to improve your wellness. You’ll have access to our private Facebook community with other moms who are willing to support you through this goal! This will also help you to identify if there is a particular area of weakness you want to focus on.
- Secondly, if you already completed the challenge, then choose ONE new habit you want to develop, and share it in the group. If you need more ideas and resources for how to choose one area to focus on, watch for my next post, which will be all about that!
- Finally, if you are totally overwhelmed and unsure what to do, you can contact a life coach. I highly recommend Amy at Full Her Life. I have personally used her, and I know that she loves working with women who want to make changes but aren’t sure who to do it.
Sometimes, we need a little more accountability and support than just a friend or a Facebook group – and that’s okay! So contact her if you want more info (she can work via Skype if you are not local).