Self-care rules for Mums

What they don't teach you about Motherhood.

By Onolla's founder, Suzanne Duckett

The expression ‘Put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others’ comes from the safety announcement made by flight attendants as a key rule for ensuring survival – and it’s the ultimate metaphor for parenting, because if you run out of oxygen yourself, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. 

I think NCT (National Child Trust, the UK’s leading charity for parents) should present their own version of this when teaching soon-to-be parents the ropes. At the beginning of every week’s session, before they get on to the bathing, nappy-changing tips and how to prevent the father fainting in the labour room, the NCT class leader should put on an oxygen mask and show them the escape routes – escape routes being the numerous daily self-care saviours that can give instant liberation for strung-out parents.

Those who spend a great deal of their time taking care of others, especially parents, need to understand that putting your child before you, all day, every day, is not good parenting. There – I said it. Mum martyrdom is miserable for everyone – putting everyone else first will make you tired, grumpy, stressed and burnt out, your mental health will suffer and, in turn, your family will suffer, too, which is the absolute last thing you want, as it defeats the object.

Self-care isn’t selfish or some sort of occasional luxury – it is a necessity and when your family sees you prioritising your self-care, they will follow suit. What more could a mother ask for? 

Replenish your energy daily and keep your reserves up, because taking care of others starts with yourself.

Here are some ideas how:

Drop perfection and get enough rest. Having an empty laundry basket and a tidy house shouldn’t come before your mental and physical health.

Exercise regularly – and that doesn’t mean a triathlon; it means walking, stretching, dancing or whatever gets your heart pumping and a bit breathless.

Eat the rainbow: eat fruits and vegetables from each colour to get a variety of important vitamins and nutrients. It’s recommended that, at mealtimes, half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables.

Boost your immunity. Read our post on enriching your diet and the difference between chewable or swallowable immune supplements here.  

Sit quietly for at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. 

Learn to meditate – a few minutes a day is like taking a power nap.

Get out in nature. Being immersed in nature is the ultimate antidote, boosting your mental and physical health, and provoking a kind of instantaneous happiness. Just sitting in nature has been proven to leave you feeling psychologically restored, and this happens even faster when walking in nature. Read about ‘Earthing’ here

Watch nature – look out of the window and watch the birds or squirrels in the trees.

Get as much good sleep as you possibly can. Read more here.

Start your day on a high with this power-shower routine. It takes just minutes!  

Other easy antidotes to bring into your day include listening to uplifting music, writing in your journal, creating a gratitude list, engaging in a hobby and decreasing stress by laughing and playing a game with your family. 

Learn to say no – no one will actually stop loving you for it!


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Written by Suzanne Duckett, founder of Onolla.

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