With most of us working from home, the busy lives of young parents are being challenged even further. Although the short commute from our bedroom or kitchens to the home office has its perks, the lack of separation from home and work environments has many looking for ways to destress from work, before taking on all that full family life throws at us.
As I navigate all of my various roles — Nested Bean CEO, Mother, Partner, Friend — I have found that investing time in myself pays dividends. As mothers, adopting everyday rituals to calm our minds throughout the day is crucial, and it’s my secret to encouraging small self-care moments and fostering mental health.
Set Your Day Up for Success
I have always been an early riser. Waking up at least an hour to thirty minutes before the house wakes up has always allowed me to gain control of the day and avoid the busyness of the early morning routine with younger children. During this me-time, I have taken simple steps to pace myself.
Depending on how much time I have, I will take anywhere from 5-15 minutes for a deep breathing exercise and meditation. As the kids have gotten older, I have started taking a 15-minute walk or doing morning yoga to achieve the same goal.
When I am extremely short on time, I have made it a habit to at least play calming sounds in the background and enjoy a morning drink while preparing small meals before others wake up.
Take Moments to Calm Your Mind Through the Day
Either with work meetings or running house errands, we need to catch a break from back-to-back activities.
I have spoken about my growing up in India with an early introduction to meditation and how it helps me regain control even today, when the smallest to the toughest challenges hijack my calm.
Our mind works well with associations. Creating a calming association during the day is essential to pace ourselves during back-to-back activities. A sound or a scent will do the trick of quickly switching our minds from their present busy state to a calmer state. The Calm App advocates such short breaks.
Take a Short break to Transition from WFH to Home
The best thing about kids is their high levels of energy. The scariest thing about kids is the equal amount of energy that they demand. As work commutes have dwindled, so has the separation between work and home demands. To welcome kids with a high level of energy, it's necessary to introduce a short but necessary in-between routine.
When my kids were younger, I remember making it a point to take 10 minutes to have my tea before engaging with them. Today they are older, but I haven’t changed this routine. It helps me make the switch effectively and listen to their day’s account with enthusiasm and solve their problems as only a mom can.
Have an Essential Bedtime Routine
To have a healthy start to the day, it’s also necessary to have a more structured end to a long day. If you have young babies, then nodding off while putting them to sleep may be the only sleep routine you know. I’ve been there too. But as your babies get older, you can often spare more time. According to this article by Entrepreneur magazine, a more structured bedtime routine helps you win the next day. And even when your babies are young, there are things you can do to aid their sleep and give yourself a few free moments. Gently weighted Zen Sleepwear helped both of my babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, giving me the time to get to my evening routine. Light physical exercise, quiet bedtime reading surrounded by a calming ambiance (sans-screens) as you drift off, is a great start.
Ask for Support
I welcome any of your questions and would love to help you get started or get past the initial hurdles. You can leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get to as many as I can and share any helpful answers here for others to see.