Essentialist Self-care for Busy Moms
by Angela Hodgkinson
A year ago
As we settle into summer, and time slows down a bit, perhaps you’re finding more time for that self-care you know you need... or maybe you think you don’t have the time.
At Solare, we believe self-care doesn’t have to be a full-on, hours-long regimen available only to the kid-less few. At its core, self-care is body and mind medicine – just the act of caring for yourself can help you feel empowered, no matter the result. Here, a few of our favorite get-in/get-out self-care tricks for those of us with seemingly little time for ourselves.
Gua sha & facial rollers
Time: 2 minutes
When: While the kids are brushing their teeth, after a shower, before bed
When you’re living on little (or no) sleep, these facial tools can help restore vitality to the face, circulate blood flow and lymph, and move and remove build-up that can show up as dark under-eye circles, clogged pores or sallow skin.
Start by rinsing or cleansing the face, and apply a few drops of your favorite facial oil. Using a gua sha scraper or facial roller, follow along your face’s natural contours. Pass the tool 3-5 times along the forehead, cheeks, chin line from the center out. Then, take the tool along the neck going from the collarbone up towards the jaw. Lastly, we want to encourage lymph drainage by sweeping from the middle of the forehead (at the hairline) down to the temple, ear, neck and finally the collarbone. Do this final sweep a few times on each side.
You’ll want to apply the tools on the skin gently. The gua sha should be held nearly flat against the skin and pulled across it so the edge ‘scrapes’ (lightly) against the face. Rollers can be a bit gentler, while gua sha scrapers can get things moving a bit faster. Both tools basically do the same thing (brighten & tighten skin, clear up blemished/scarred skin, etc.), so it is really up to you which sounds more appealing. They can also be used along the forearms, shoulders and back of the neck to relieve tension.
Time: 3 minutes
When: Before a shower
Dry brushing is one of our favorite ways to wake up the body. Again, it’s all about lymphatic drainage. We like to keep our brush outside of the shower to keep it away from moisture. Before you shower or bathe, stand in the tub and start brushing your bare skin from the feet up using quick little movements. The idea is to brush each area of your body in sections towards the heart. Do feet, legs, groin (be gentle!), rear, hips, abdomen – stopping at the heart level. Then, start again at the hands, move to the arms, then neck and chest. You should feel reinvigorated from the inside-out! After a continuous practice, you’ll notice a firmness and smoothness in skin quality. We shower after brushing, then lather our entire body in Everyday Oil for a deeper moisturizing. So great for summer skin!
Time: 1-20 minutes
Breathing. Sounds easy enough! If you don’t have time to meditate – or don’t know how – breathwork is for you. A simple act like focusing on your inhale + exhale can help usher in a sense of calm, no matter what situation you find yourself in. Doing it a little everyday is scientifically proven to lower your sympathetic nervous system’s flight or fight response. It creates a little buffer between our anxiety (A.K.A. overthinking/irritation/lack of patience/overwhelm – you know those little things inherent to motherhood that we convince ourselves our other mom friends aren’t experiencing) and our reactions.
My favorite new trick is to focus on the exhale. Extending your exhale will slow your heart rate down. Once the heart rate slows, so goes the mind. Start by taking in a breath through your nose, then breathe out slowly through your mouth for as long as you’re comfortable. You will automatically breath in, so you don’t have force it. Stay relaxed, then focus again on a long, slow, full exhale. A few rounds of this is sure to remove the urgency of the moment and settle you into the present – which, really, is where we want to be, isn’t it?
Consistency is key here, not overhaul. Simply working in a few caring moments for your self here and there is actually proven to help us recharge and restore internal calm. And let’s face it, as mothers, sometimes that’s the only way to make it work.