woman enjoying a cup of coffee as part of her self-care

Importance of Self-Care

The importance of self-care and wellness is often overlooked by moms, but it's especially vital for moms who are trying to overcome executive dysfunction or are trying to help their kids do so. Add in a mixed bag of physical and mental health issues, and you have the perfect recipe for exhaustion.

The benefits of self-care can impact all aspects of your life. I’m going to talk about the benefits of self-care, give you some simple ideas for adding self-care into your life, and explain the importance of getting rid of self-care guilt.

woman enjoying a cup of coffee as part of her self-care

Benefits of Self-Care

Sure, we all know that we should take care of ourselves. As moms, we make sure our kids eat good food and get exercise and adequate sleep. But we tend to spend so much of our lives taking care of others that we drop to the bottom of the list.

But here’s the thing. You’re so used to doing things this way, that you’ve convinced yourself that you’re fine. That doesn’t mean you are. If you’re one of the thousands (millions?) of women who have been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, you’re figuring out a lot of shit. While things have started to click for why you are the way you are, you now have to reassess what that means. How will you do things differently? Will you change?

Add in that you might be trying various medications to see if they will improve your life, and that’s more to learn about and understand and track. If you struggle with executive dysfunction, you’re always stressed and tired. You never seem to get ahead and self-care can’t be on the list because you already have so many things to do—not to mention the things you’ve forgotten about.

But I’m here to remind you that you are no good to anyone if you drive yourself to the ground mentally and physically. Managing your own executive dysfunction is hard enough. If you have kids who also struggle with executive functioning, your life might be full of chaos. You need to take care of yourself.

Stress Relief

Self-care is a way to relieve stress. If you don’t let some of the pressure out, it will build and build until it explodes (or implodes). Figuring out how to increase your executive functioning will create stress in your life. You’ll spend a lot of time asking, “Why doesn’t this work?” Because finding the right tools and strategies is a process unique to each person, it takes time and can be frustrating. You need to step back and let go of some of that stress.

Improved Mental Health

In addition to relieving stress, self-care also improves your mental health. Taking time to figure out your depression or anxiety triggers can help you avoid them. Taking regular walks can help calm your mind of racing thoughts. Journaling can help you organize your thoughts or express your emotions. All of these activities allow you to focus on your mental health, which is something many people don’t do.

Increased Self-Esteem

If you take better care of yourself, you will feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you do things that make you feel good, your self-esteem will go up. As you feel better, you will be more confident and you will be better able to handle the stresses in your life.

Self-Care Ideas

Whenever you have a bad day, it might be your default to do something you “deserve” even though it might not be good for you. For some people, it’s drinking a little too much or eating an entire bag of potato chips. The idea of self-care is to do things that are good for you. If you have a list of self-care activities that are both healthy and that you enjoy, it will be easier to avoid the unhealthy things.

1. Find the funny

Laughing usually fixes a rotten day. Watch a funny TV show or check out YouTube or TikTok for some funny videos. Laughing has many healing properties. My kids often do something that makes me laugh so hard I cry and then they walk away saying, “You’re welcome for the extra ten years on your life I just gave you.” Is that a real statistic? Probably not. But science has shown that laughing helps us live longer.

2. Go Out

I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to hang out with people. However, even I can admit that staying inside all time by myself isn’t healthy. Get out of the house and meet up with friends, go for a walk, or try something new. Mixing things up in your life is a form of self-care. Going to work and coming home to take care of your family day in and day out makes for a nice routine, but it doesn’t feed all parts of you.

3. Socialize

Spending time with friends and family is an excellent form of self-care. These are the people who know and love you as you are. You can vent your frustrations to them and they’ll get it. Reconnecting with loved ones can relieve stress and makes us happy.

4. Meditation

Mediation is an excellent way to clear your mind. It can help remove the effects of your bad day. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Being mindful of your emotions and current state of mind can help you shift it to make the rest of your day better.

The importance of self-care - stop the guilt

Remove the Guilt

As moms, we feel guilty about a lot of things. I don’t think a day has ever gone by where I didn’t wonder how I screwed my kids up. We worry about everything we do. For many of us, taking time for ourselves, even though we know it’s good for us, will trigger a sense of guilt.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you stop feeling guilty about taking time for self-care.

  • Self-care is not indulgence—Putting your needs first sometimes is not selfish. If you don’t take care of your needs, you put your own health and wellness at risk. How can you take care of others if you fall apart?
  • Other people do it—one of the tests my daughter does when she thinks about her approach to something is “Would a straight white man feel guilty/bad about this?” Obviously, not all straight white men are bad, but let’s face it, they do live a life of privilege. I think this test is a good one for all moms. Just replace the straight white man with whoever resonates with you. Other people have no problem doing what they need to do to take care of themselves. Follow their lead.
  • Help me help you—Okay, that was a little Jerry Maguire joke. But I’ve been saying this over and over: you cannot help others if you are not well.
  • Your family wants you well—The people who love you will not begrudge you taking care of yourself. They want you to be healthy and happy. They want the best for you.
  • Say No – Whew! This is a tough one for many of us people-pleasers out there. We say yes to all kinds of volunteer activities and extra obligations. We don’t want to let others down. However, this often takes a toll on your well-being. You can’t do it all. And some people will take advantage of your kindness. Get used to setting boundaries and saying no. You don’t need to explain. No is a full sentence.
  • Self-care is vital to success—If you want to achieve the goals you have set for yourself, you need to take care of yourself.
  • Self-respect—Self-care is a sign of self-respect. You’re admitting to yourself that you are important enough to take care of. You need to honor your own needs and acknowledge that you are worthy of self-care.
  • Protect yourself—Self-care protects you. Investing in your physical and mental well-being can protect you from future harm. Think of it like a soldier putting on his armor before going into battle. Can he go without it and survive? Possibly. But it makes more sense to protect himself in every way possible.
  • You deserve it—It bears repeating: you are worthy. You deserve to enjoy your life and it’s not selfish to do so.

Free Self-Care Journal

Here’s a free journal to help you work on getting over the guilt for practicing self-care. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter and you will get a free downloadable journal.

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