It’s that time of year, folks: the end of December, and a fresh start to a new year. This means that you may be considering what 2024 will look like- what resolutions are you hoping to accomplish this year? Which bad habits are you trying to quit? Whether you’re planning a life makeover or just hope to feel 1% better, you deserve to make 2024 the year of you. This means feeling well taken care of, well fed, and yes- even well rested. Let’s dive into an achievable New Year’s resolution for mamas that you can implement this year through small changes: taking care of yourself.
How to Make 2024 the Year of You
If you’re a mama, I know what you’re thinking (it’s probably something along the lines of “Nice try, but nothing is about me right now.”). It likely feels like there’s no time for setting goals or taking on any New Year’s resolutions. Between tantrums in public, sleepless nights, and trying to keep the house from burning down- parenting is… A lot. As of right now, your New Year’s resolution may just be to get through the year.
Believe it or not, there are ways that you can prioritize self-care in all of the craziness and make the most of the coming year. When you feel mentally taken care of, you’re better equipped to handle the endless problem-solving that parenting graces you with. This year, commit to taking care of not just the kiddos- but yourself. So today, we’re sharing tips to achieve a New Year’s resolution for mamas. Make 2024 the year you become healthier, happier, and follow through with taking care of yourself to set an example of self-love for your kids.
Tips to Feel Your Best (Even When You’re Busy)
Parenthood is life-changing- it shifts your perspective on pretty much everything. Pre-kids, life was all about you. Now, your heart is outside of your own body in little people that you would do anything for. It’s so easy (and often feels necessary) as a parent to put your own needs aside to give your kids the best life that you can. As a mama, forgetting about yourself is a bad habit that can be difficult to overcome.
We’ve compiled a list of self-care hacks suitable for the busiest of people- aka, mamas. Don’t worry, taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be as time-consuming as it sounds. We know that the hours in a day are limited, so here are some attainable ways to prioritize yourself.
Get enough protein
Protein consumption is not just helpful to lose weight- it’s a life hack for feeling better. Boost your muscle mass, energy levels, and satiety by filling up on high-protein foods to fuel you throw all the parenthood throws your way. Everyone is different, and while some may have the time to meal prep or cook every meal, others may laugh at the idea.
Although many experts recommend consuming at least 100 grams of protein a day, boosting your protein levels doesn’t need to be an exact science. Just prioritize a source of protein at every meal- if you’re getting more protein than you’re used to, you’ll feel much better. Here are some easy sources of 15 grams of protein or more:
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt
- 4 ounces of poultry, seafood, or red meat
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- A scoop of protein powder
Up your protein by making an on-the-go shake, or make enough eggs for yourself, too (instead of just eating your kid’s leftovers). It doesn’t need to be complicated! Incorporating more protein into your diet is a simple change that will make you feel better on a day-to-day basis.
Move your body
Post-kids, fitness looks different. Pilates classes or exercising for hours on the regular is likely unrealistic. However, it is still imperative to move your body. Getting in regular physical activity is key to longevity and maintaining functional fitness- aka, being able to lift littles, carry in the groceries yourself, or push a stroller with ease. Beyond physical fitness, you’ll feel better mentally, too. It’s no secret that regular physical activity improves both physical and mental health.
Moving your body doesn’t need to be overly strenuous, or time-consuming. Dedicating 30 minutes each day to moving in whatever way you can will grant you long-term health benefits (that will ultimately make parenting easier). Here are some simple ways you can move your body, even if you’re busy:
- While unloading and unloading the dishwasher, squat every time you put in or take out a dish
- Run up and down the stairs twice when bringing laundry up or down
- While making the bed, do side lunges
- Dance while cleaning
- Do lunges while vacuuming
- While cleaning surfaces, perform calf raises
If your kids are old enough to kick a soccer ball, toss a football, or practice batting, this is a great way to get some movement. Not only will you and your kids get some exercise, but you’ll also be able to get in some fun quality time that the whole family can enjoy!
Walks are another practical way to get simple movement in. Whether you take two 15-minute walks by yourself or go on a long walk with the littles, walking is a simple activity that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. (Bonus points if you’re pushing a stroller!)
While getting out to lift weights may not be realistic, nowadays there are an abundance of free home workouts that don’t require a gym membership. Try some yoga, pilates, or bodyweight strength training. Set up your kids with some play dough, puzzles, or a game they enjoy, and bring a workout mat to the family room. You could even invite your kids to work out with you (modified of course)!
Have a positive mindset
Set your intentions to view parenting from rose-colored glasses. Your daily mindset is determined by your perspective and how you choose to view things. Try these mindset swaps to enjoy the little things again and make the most of parenthood:
- Instead of “They never finish the food that I make for them”, think “They listen to their hunger cues and don’t feel pressured to eat when they’re not hungry”.
- Instead of “I’m exhausted, burnt out, and I don’t want to play pretend right now”, think “This day in my life will never come again, and someday I will miss these moments.”
- Instead of “Ugh, my child never sleeps through the night without my help.”, think “I am my child’s safe space, and they know that they can come to me when they need me. (And maybe we should try sleep training.)”
Thinking with gratitude can be so difficult in the moment- it won’t happen overnight. Intentionally train your mind to remove the negative clutter, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your outlook will change! Be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of grace and patience. Each day looks different- if all you accomplished was getting everyone to school on time and keeping them fed, you should feel good about that!
Get enough sleep
Exhaustion is the biggest thief of joy. Getting enough rest is the most important form of self-care there is. When you’re well-rested, you have more bandwidth to take on challenges and react with intention. (We’ve all had those days where you’re a complete zombie and just simply cannot.) Parenting can make sleep a bit more difficult- but here are some ways to improve your quality of sleep so you can show up as your best self.
Ditch the scroll
At the end of a long day, not much sounds better than a glass of wine and scrolling Instagram (with Bravo playing in the background). However, blue light significantly impacts your ability to fall asleep (and stay asleep). Whenever possible, eliminate blue light at least an hour before bedtime and reap the benefits of better quality sleep.
Create a routine
Bedtime routines are extremely beneficial for children– and they are for us, too. Create a routine filled with your favorite things that allow you to wind down, do some self-care, and savor “me-time” before you go to bed. Here are some examples of activities that you can incorporate to get a solid night of sleep:
- Brew some sleepytime tea to enjoy as you wind down
- Establish a simple, quick nighttime skincare routine
- Do some pre-bedtime yoga or stretching (you can include your littles in this to help them get sleepy, too!)
- Find a genre of books that you love and opt for reading over screens
- Make a bedtime mocktail: in a glass, mix magnesium powder with tart cherry juice, seltzer water, a splash of lemon, and stevia (if you like sweeter drinks). Studies show that magnesium helps to relax the nervous system and aid in deeper sleep. Tart cherry juice contains tryptophan and melatonin and has been shown to boost sleep as well.
Get sleep training
If you’re a parent of a child who struggles with sleep, you probably struggle as well. Overnight wakings, early risings, and bedtime resistance can turn nighttime into a nightmare. If your child doesn’t sleep well, sleep training is an amazing tool that will benefit the entire family. Sleep training teaches healthy sleep habits, self-soothing tools, and can take the stress out of bedtime.
Sleep Shore sleep training
Need some help with sleep training? Sleep Shore offers one-on-one sleep consultations, both virtually and in person. Whether you’re expecting or have a newborn, infant, or toddler- we can help you! Our goal is to help you finally get quality sleep again. Here’s to better sleep in the new year!