It starts from the minute we hold our babies in our arms. Our needs become second as we wake up in the middle of the night to feed, rock, and soothe. Soon our babies become toddlers, and our time is consumed with keeping them out of danger, calming their tantrums, and training them out of diapers.
The elementary and teen years add new layers to the schedule. We find ourselves taxiing kids to activities while trying to keep up with the emotional mayhem that comes with hormones.
Every phase of motherhood offers us the opportunity to put our needs second, to let our well-being slide for the sake of our kids. It’s hard enough to keep them alive, let alone worry about ourselves.
I’ve been a mom for twelve years, and I’ve learned that every day has the potential for unexpected curveballs. But you know what else I’ve discovered? No matter how busy the day, I can always find ten minutes for self-care. In fact, those ten minutes are so important that I write them on my to-do list.
Here are some ways I’ve filled those ten minutes that might help you too.
- Wake up ten minutes early and read your Bible before doing anything else. Turn the words into a prayer while you read. (If your kids are raring to go first thing in the morning, you can do this at night before falling asleep.)
- During school-aged years, get your kids on the bus and devote the first ten minutes of quiet to Bible study or reading a devotional.
- If you drive your kids to school, set up a worship playlist or Scripture-focused podcast to listen to after you drop them off.
- While your child is napping or at school, set a timer for ten minutes and lay down and close your eyes. You might fall asleep or you might not. Either way, you’ll open your eyes and feel more refreshed than when you started. (If you work during the day, you could do this during your lunch hour in the quiet of your car.)
- Take a walk around the block or on a local trail. Even ten minutes of walking can rejuvenate and energize you, especially if you’re outside in nature.
- Do a series of stretches that work from the top of your body down. Start with your arms and shoulders, then your back and sides, and finish with your legs. Take deep, cleansing breaths throughout the stretch.
Emotional and Mental Care
- Call a friend and chat for a few minutes. Sharing your life with someone else can relieve stress and remind you that you’re not alone.
- Turn off screens, play your favorite music, and enjoy an activity that brings you joy. Examples include puzzles, coloring, painting, crafting, or creating.
- Give yourself a small “fun allowance” and treat yourself to a latte or other favorite drink. If you can, go out and order it without your kids. It’s amazing how a short drive to Starbucks by yourself can make you feel human again.
- Keep a journal that tracks your victories and challenges throughout the week. Under each challenge, write some ideas of how it can be turned into a positive.
Ten minutes a day. That’s all it takes to refill your “mom bucket.” And the beautiful thing is that recharging one of these areas can boost the others. When you connect with God, your emotions are calmer. When you take care of your body, your mind can better handle the tests of life.
Healthy rhythms don’t have to consume your life. They can be found in the small in-between moments. Make each one count, mama. You’re worth it.