*Collaborative post* When you first become a mum, it’s inevitable that all of your priorities change in an instant without you even having to think about it. Suddenly you’re responsible for an actual human being, and when your mothering instincts kick in there’s no ignoring them.

Even as your kids get older, these instincts and this need to ultimately prioritise your kids above all else never goes away (even when they’re grown-ups!), but to be the best parent possible, you have to take some time for yourself.

It can be difficult to find the time, and a lot of mums experience feelings of guilt about taking time for themselves. Self-care is so important, especially for parents, and with these top tips, you’ll find the time to rejuvenate yourself effectively.

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What does Self-Care mean to You?

First of all, you’ll want to figure out what self-care actually means to you. It looks different to everybody who does it, dependant on what their preferences are.

Are you looking for quiet time by yourself or do you want to connect with a friend and have some fun, do you want to get out of the house or stay at home? Do you want to do something physical or something that will just give your mind a break and a change?

All of these are good but not everything appeals to everyone, and not all options are possible depending on how much time you have and how many children are with you.

If you find yourself busy with your children and don’t want to take much time for yourself, but feel like you need a boost, it really doesn’t have to be time-consuming!

Self-care can be something as small as taking ten minutes to sit out in the morning sun with a cup of tea, or washing and changing your bedsheets so that when bedtime does finally come around, you get into a lovely fresh bed that smells delightful, ready for a restful sleep. The smallest of acts sometimes have the biggest impact on your mental state for the day, so take the time for yourself – however small it may be.

Make Your Life Easier

It might sound silly, but the simple act of being more organised can take a lot of pressure off you on a day-to-day basis, so that you can then maybe find time for some fun.

Think about your weekly shopping and meals for example. An unplanned trip to the supermarket with small children in tow can be time-consuming and stressful.

Take the time to sit down with the family and plan your meals for the week ahead, and therefore write your shopping list accordingly. A lot of stress comes from being underprepared and worrying about spending too much money on the day-to-day things, so by meal-planning ahead for the week not only will you save money, but you’ll save even having to think about what to make.

This will also ensure you’re making food that your kids not only enjoy, but it can also encourage them to be healthy too, so everybody wins!

Likewise, think about the larger-scale things, like car insurance, utilities, and even moving home if this is on the cards. Moving to a new house is a prime example because it’s actually known as one of the most stressful things that you’re likely to experience in modern life. But it is one thing that so many of us have to go through as our families expand, and this often involves moving with small children, which is “fun”.

The laborious process of selling and buying a house can not only take a long time but can cost you a lot of money too. If you do your research online, you’ll find a great guide on how to sell your house fast, and a lot of different options, some of them even skipping out on expenses such as estate agent fees.

Self-care is all about relieving stress and having more time to yourself, so if you do your research, you’ll be able to do this whatever the circumstances!

Do Some Exercise

You don’t have to become a long-distance cross-country runner in order to get fitter, and to get those endorphins going! It’s surprising how much difference even a twenty-minute long quick-paced walk can make to your overall fitness and mental state.

It’s one of those annoying things, when you say you want to practice some self-care and immediately, you’re told: “well do some exercise” – especially if you’re not the active type. However, it is scientifically proven that exercising helps you to produce endorphins, and therefore can make you feel happier and affect your overall mood, so I’m sorry, but in this case they are right!

It can be any exercise you like. Whether you’re into weightlifting, yoga, or even just a little walk around the block (you can get your kids involved in this one!), simply getting a little more active is great for your body and your mind. If you are stuck in the house check out some YouTube videos – I really like Lucy Wyndham Read and her 7-minute videos which are just perfect for busy mums.

Look after your Health

This is probably the most boring bit of self-care, but it is the area that so many of us neglect until something goes wrong. Make sure that you book and attend all of the checkups that you need to maintain your health. Take yourself off to the dentist when you need to, get a health check at the doctors every so often, and go for screenings, mammograms, flu jabs and anything else that you are offered. We are so lucky in the UK that so much of our healthcare is free or subsidised – you owe it to yourself to make use of it.

Don’t forget a regular eye test as well – not only will this keep your vision sharp but opticians can also pick up first stages of other diseases by looking in your eye. You can click this link if you do need glasses or a change in your prescription, and you will be amazed at how much difference this can make to your daily life. This will help you to feel more positive and productive, knowing you’ve done everything you can to look after yourself properly.

Pamper Yourself

You don’t have to go to a spa to feel thoroughly pampered. Last of all, but certainly not least, take some time in the evening to make yourself feel well pampered.

Once the kids are in bed, have a hot bath, put on some clean pyjamas, and maybe even do a face mask or paint your nails! Being a Mum is truly exhausting, so if anyone deserves to feel pampered, it’s you. Remember: you can take time for yourself – it’s not selfish.

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