What are self-care strategies and why are they important?
If you’re like most mompreneurs, self-care strategies are few and far between. Especially in young families, moms’ self-care strategies are thrown out the window to make room to care for your children. You are probably like so many moms who run around until they drop. If you’re exhausted every time you sit still, maybe it’s time to look a little more deeply at the costs of the lack of self-care strategies in your life.
Think not? Okay, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about working moms:
- 35 percent of all solo entrepreneurs are women, and their numbers are increasing by 23 percent annually according to the Apollo Research Institute.
- 94% of self-employed (aka solo entrepreneurs) utilize a home office for their business (Source: NASE).
- Women average 21 hours of paid work time and spend an average of 18 hours per week on household chores. (2007 Pew Survey Data).
- Mothers spend 13.5 hours per week with children (in 2011), yet more than a third of those surveyed feel they don’t spend as much time as they want with the kids.
- Working moms spend about six hours more in household work and an additional three hours more in child care than their male partners, says the analysis, by the Pew Research Center.
What does all this mean?
Self-care strategies are critical to your sanity and health. The division of labor for a ‘typical’ 2-parent family has shifted in a positive direction for women over the past fifty years and in general, we have a more holistic sense of how we define ‘providing’ for our families. Yet, mothers still do more housework and child care than fathers. And although overall work time for fathers (paid and unpaid) is more than for mothers today, fathers typically have almost three hours a week more leisure time than moms do (28 hours vs. 25).
Although these ‘leisure time’ figure above (21 hours/week) is surprisingly high (in my experience), I have to wonder whether moms include the time spent transporting kids to and from events (and sitting idly while kids participate), preparing food, picking up around the house – in that ‘leisure’ time. And, if you are doing this, then you have to wonder if self-care strategies are a priority at all for most mompreneurs.
Regardless, when you do the math of the time in a typical week, and then subtract a typical 16 hour weekend (21 – 16), that leaves an average of one hour per weekday that moms can claim for themselves. (That number seems much more realistic to me).
If you do not take care of you… who will?
With everything that demands a mompreneur’s time, I’m living proof that self-care strategies work. In fact, they are a critical ingredient for personal sanity and business success. When I consistently focus on business tasks and then add mom tasks to the list, I run out of time for rejuvenation. It doesn’t take long before I’m wiped out, tired, feeling terrible and resentful. I’ve learned that it’s so important to flip this triangle upside down so I fill myself up and then I can continue to give, nurture and support my family and my clients.
How to build self-care strategies into your leisure time
Most moms pride themselves as being ‘Multitasking Masters’. Managing many tasks and the ability to rapidly shift between priorities is a success indicator, but we know multi-tasking is a myth. However, if you are doing passive mom tasks to support your kids, sometimes there are ways to build a little self-care into the daily routines.
Here are three self-care strategies that can help you feel more grounded, focused and effective.
Self Care Strategy 1. Work during work time.
The first self-care strategy is indirectly related to self-care, but will provide room for you to employ self-care strategies when you do it. Here it is: When you are working, work.
Seriously. Moms can do SO MUCH within limited times because of our ability to super-focus and get things done. So, to help you stay focused during work, limit your social media time, manage interruptions and avoid distractions so you can stay focused.
I’m always amazed when my clients are actually accountable to their time – and report their surprise at how much they complete in a span of 20 minutes. Try it for yourself. Split your work time into twenty-minute segments, shut down your distractions – and get going on your most important task. See what happens!
Self Care Strategy 2. Play during play time.
The second self care strategy is just the opposite. When it’s time to play, HONOR that time. If it’s game night at home, turn off your phone or iPad… and just be in present to the playtime. If it’s time at the gym, leave your phone in the locker – and get busy with your work out. I’m always amazed at the number of people who allow their phones and social media to creep into their workout routine.
Self Care Strategy 3. Do one thing that you love daily.
The third way to build self-care strategies into your day is to focus on one thing you love to do and make time for it daily.
So, what do you LOVE to do? What activities truly nurture you?
Make your own ‘Love Myself’ list of go-to activities, and plan to do one daily for the next week. At the end of the week, reflect on your happiness quotient and see how it is affected by spending more time being present and doing things you love. Even spending 15 minutes of focused time on something you love will add up and make space for self-care.
If you don’t focus on you, who will?
We live in a frenetic time where access and priorities are consistently pushing our human limits. Self-care doesn’t just happen. It takes intention and consistent action to put yourself first on your list of priorities so you are able to replenish and renew your own resources.
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