With the little ones on winter break and the pressures of buying presents, decorating, and hosting mounting by the day—the holiday season often feels less like the most wonderful time of the year and more like the most overwhelming time of the year for busy moms. From keeping kids entertained and hosting in-laws—to staying on top of all of the social obligations and expectations that pop up this time of year—maintaining your mental health as a mom during the holidays is a struggle (to say the least). Today, then, we wanted to serve up our top seven self-care tips to help you take on the winter months with less mom guilt and more go-me!.
1. Schedule time for yourself.
No literally—schedule it. Whether it’s a pedicure, a yoga session, or a cup of coffee by yourself in the backyard—the woes and worries of motherhood can always benefit from a little self-care. Your personal time can be short, sweet, and regularly scheduled (i.e. 20 minutes spent reading alone in your room every Wednesday afternoon) or extravagant, extended, and once-in-a-while (i.e. a spa day right before your in-laws arrive)—but, whatever you choose, the key is to pencil it in your calendar and actually see it through. Treat your planned personal time as you would a work meeting or an appointment for your kids—plan ahead and secure help in advance so you can stick to it as-scheduled.
2. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel (yes, even if it’s ready for the kids to go back to school).
The only thing worse than feeling overwhelmed by our children and social obligations is feeling guilty that we’re feeling overwhelmed by our children and social obligations. From television advertisements to social-media posts, moms face hundreds of items and interactions on any given day designed to trigger mom guilt—you definitely don’t need to pile any more on yourself. Know that your feelings are valid. They’re not positive or negative, good or bad. They’re simply representations of how a situation is affecting us. The only way we can navigate through our emotions effectively and with clarity is to acknowledge them without judgment and prioritize our self-care.
3. Find creative outlets to navigate mom guilt and prioritize self-care.
Feeling overwhelmed and under pressure as you deal with the kids being home for the holidays? Journaling and free-writing can be a rewarding form of self-care. It is a a great way to get your thoughts, frustrations, and worries down on paper and off of your chest and a great form of self-care. Anything you can do to release some of the pressure that so often accompanies motherhood is great—whether that’s painting, sketching, jogging…or, yes, screaming into a pillow.
4. Add therapy to your self-care toolbox.
With all kinds of options for online therapy available (like BetterHelp and Talkspace), getting professional help is easier and more convenient than it’s ever been—and it can make a world of difference in how we show up for ourselves and our families on a daily basis. Having someone you can rely on to act as an unbiased third-party and honest sounding board is essential during motherhood—whether you’re currently feeling incredibly anxious and overwhelmed or simply just exhausted.
5. Stay hydrated and nourished (seriously).
Never underestimate the power of a refreshing rehydration drink and a nourishing meal. Maintaining your mental health as a mom during the holidays is a struggle—and neglecting to properly hydrate and nourish yourself is a seemingly small oversight that can lead to fatigue, frustration, headaches, and an array of symptoms that only make an already-stressful day that much more tenuous.
Dehydration negatively affects your brain function, mood, and ability to concentrate (in fact, about 75% of your brain mass is water!). We tend to be even more dehydrated in winter because we’re naturally less thirsty and forget to hydrate—which makes it even more critical to replenish during the colder months with functional, clinical-grade hydration. Think: an electrolyte drink, but preferably one free from artificial dyes and added sugars, like our fan-favorite CF(Rehydrate)® IMMUNITY +.
6. Take a social media break.
We already had mom guilt—and now, in the age of social media, we have mom comparison. (How fun for us, right?). With the curated trying to convince us it’s carefree and candid—and the edited masquerading as the effortless—social media outlets tend to serve as less of a community builder and more of a comparison catalyst. In fact, a Prior Group survey found nearly half of parents thought social media apps created “unrealistic and unattainable expectations of family life” sparking mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
While sharing your family’s holiday adventures with others is a fun and lighthearted way to use social media—scrolling through your feed when you can’t sleep wondering why everyone else’s life seems so much more joyous (…and well-lit…and less spit-up-stained) than yours is not. If you’re doing more of the latter lately, it’s probably time to delete Instagram (or your rabbit-hole of choice) for a few weeks and focus on remaining present and free from that age-old destroyer of joy: comparison.
7. Seek out community.
Whether it’s meeting up with a friend for a cup of cocoa, taking an online art class after the kids have gone to bed, or simply getting out of the house alone and heading to your favorite cafe or park to soak in the presence of other adults—seeking out some form of community is key. Isolation can exacerbate motherhood mental health challenges—so look for opportunities to connect with others, but only in ways that bring you joy. If planning a big family dinner adds more stress to your life than serenity—maybe you skip that opportunity for community and head to a yoga class as a form of self-care instead.
Overall, it’s no secret that the holidays can make maintaining your self-care as a mother a true challenge. But validating your emotions, seeking out therapy and community, and carving out time for yourself can all help ease stress and bring a little more joy into our lives!
Ready for more goodness? Browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips. And don’t forget to fuel yourself and your family in the hectic holiday months with the clean, clinical replenishment of CF(Rehyrdate)® and CF(Rehydrate)® IMMUNITY+—our fan-favorite electrolyte drinks.