By Prudence Henschke – creator of Mama’s Me-time
Sometimes self-care feels like just another thing I’m failing at, as a mum. Every second article tells me how important prioritising self-care is. I get it. But still there is a disconnection between what I know I should be doing and what I am doing. The gap for me, is time and money.
I have a wish-list of health and wellness professionals (who also all happen to be mums) I would love to have on speed dial to spend my me-time hours with. Until such time as my children are grown and seeing any one of these practitioners is in the realm of possibility, I reached out to them to have them share the one self-care practise they most often recommend to mums they work with, that can be done without leaving home.
1 // Janet Stone
A San Francisco-based vinyasa yogateacher. She offers trainings, retreats, workshops, and more in San Francisco and around the world.
“The one self-care practise I recommend to mums, is just that – practise. That is easier said than done, but carve out a realistic routine that has you showing up on your mat, in some way or another. That can be simply sitting, pranayama, chanting, a short asana practise or contemplation – whatever it is – so we don’t abandon ourselves completely to care for our families.
Take a moment to realise that your life is not what it once was, so to attempt a life and practise that was like it was before you had children doesn’t make sense. It is crucial to our own wellbeing and ultimately the wellbeing of the child to see a mum model some self-care.”
2 // Dorothy Stein
AKA Dr Dot, a New York-based celebrity massage therapist who has tended to the musical elite for nearly three decades.
“Most mothers put their children first, their partner second, then pets, work, housework, shopping, cleaning the house right after those. They almost always put their needs last. Keeping in mind mums seldom get seven hours of sleep (usually less) and thus having no ‘me’ time at all.
This ritual makes their batteries run out and they need to recharge them at least once a month by spoiling themselves. They MUST take care of themselves in order to be a better mum in a better mood. They need to fit into their budget to get a massage at least once a month.
If they can afford $120 per month, they can have a massage delivered right to their door. This will make them feel the self-love, they somehow lose over time due to be the caretaker all the time. Having a massage delivered to their homes means they do not need to find a babysitter or drive home after a relaxing deep tissue massage. Some areas have very affordable prices.”
3 // Joanna Vargas
Celebrity facialist and founder of New York-based Joanna Vargas Salon and her own skincare collection.
“I would say implementing a night-time skincare ritual like cleansing/exfoliating/nourishing the skin. Mums always think they are too busy to take proper care of themselves but the truth is when a mum feels good she is the best version of herself for everyone else. I just convinced one of my mum friends to start a simple routine nightly and she texts me every day to thank me.”
4 // Melanie Gleeson
Founder and CEO of Australian spa chain, Endota Spa.
“Personally, I try to practise mindfulness in all areas of my life. At work, I try not to take my phone into meetings so that I am not distracted and can give people my full attention. I also like to take time out every day to meditate or attend yoga classes. I find these practises help keep me grounded and centred.
If you can’t find time to go to a spa there are other small things you can do in your home to help create your own haven. It might be a few drops of essential oil in the shower in the evening to create a fragrant steam shower, lighting a candle and reading a book, downloading a short-guided meditation to listen to using headphones, or a short walk around the block for some fresh air.”
5 // Vicky Vlachonis
A Beverly Hills-based osteopath and integrative medical practitioner. She is the author of The Body Doesn’t Lie, a three-step program to end chronic pain.
“If I had to choose only one self-care practise for mums to begin implementing, I’d have to go with positive mirror affirmations. Take five deep breaths and on each exhalation say a line from this brief positive meditation, either silently or aloud:
My body is strong
My mind is clear
My heart is open
I will spread kindness and happiness wherever I go
I am beautiful
Design your own affirmations to fit your specific intentions for the day. Write them on sticky notes and have fun with it!
One University of Manchester study found that women with chronic migraines experienced fewer headaches and were better able to control spikes in their blood pressure and pulse when they used ‘autogenic training’, a method of relaxation, visualisation and positive self-talk. While their training was more involved than this exercise, if you make this a daily habit, to consistently breathe and repeat these positive mantras, you will help to tone your parasympathetic nervous system, which will quiet down your pain signals and help you cope with stress better and say more positive in the face of chaos.”
6 // Georgia Harding
Naturopath and author based in Queensland, Australia.
“I think committing to drinking enough water daily is SO important and something that many busy mums overlook. I always use the analogy with patients of how a plant looks if it isn’t watered – dry, tired, lifeless. They are the same – in order for their body to function optimally and be energised, motivated, alert and looking great, they need to be adequately hydrated.”