If we Mother Runners have one thing in common—it’s our struggles with finding time to take care of ourselves. And, while running is certainly a form of self-care, it often needs to be balanced out. The grueling workouts, early wake-ups, and schedule maneuvers running often requires can be downright exhausting.
In a dream world, every day would consist of time for running, yoga, smoothies, and reading in a warm bath filled with Epsom salts. But who’s got time for that? Not us, Mother Runners!
But just like we’re making being badass mothers and runners work—we’re also squeezing a little time in for ourselves work. Because, as most households know, having a healthy and happy mama is paramount.
Why is Self-care Important for Moms
Self-care is critical for your happiness and health. It helps keep your stress level low, self-confidence high, and \health robust. It is also necessary for you to be able to care for others as you have more to give when you feel energized, balanced, and strong.
Here are some tips to sneak some self-care into your busy, busy days:
Self-care is doing something that’s good for your physical, spiritual and mental health. Think about where you’re lacking, or what’s most important to you, and aim to make one small change to benefit this area. Is it waking up 15 minutes early to read, meditate or pray? Is it going to bed a little earlier to get a full 8 hours? Is it calling a friend or family member to connect (you can even do this on slow or recovery runs)? Or, is it applying a face mask before you collapse into bed?
My kids are old enough that an Epsom salt soak is safe for them and good for me. So, if my muscles feel especially tired, I’ll dump some salt into the tub and have my kids join me. They’re having fun and my muscles are getting rejuvenated. It isn’t the most relaxing bath time experience, but it’s getting the job done.
Make it routine.
Another way to sneak in self-care is to make it part of your routine. When I get home from running, I’m almost always heading right back into mom mode, which means no time to stretch or roll out on a foam roller. So, I tend to my muscles while my kids are in the bath. While they’re (mostly, hopefully) happily splashing around, I’m stretching and massaging my tired and tight legs, glutes, and back.
Related: A proven guide to injury prevention for runners
Make a date with yourself.
Several Mother Runners make a date with themselves on their calendar to do yoga, write, meditate, whatever. Actually scheduling the time helps them plan around it, and makes it harder to let it be overridden. After a while, scheduling this time becomes a habit for them—and known to others that this is their “me” time. If this time gets encroached upon, Mother Runner Rebecca analyzes what happened so she can modify her schedule to ensure she fits it in.
Make a date with your partner (or kids).
If self-care to you means going to yoga, get a sitter and ask your partner to come with you. Then your self-care is a double whammy of quality time with the hubs and quality time with yourself. Or, if self-care means something like going for a walk outside or getting a pedicure, bring the kids (if appropriate, of course).
Related: Have a healthy marriage and train for a marathon
Ask for help.
Sometimes you just really want QUIET! Because the kids have been screaming at each other all day, making their demands, and having their needs. See if your husband can handle getting them ready for bed or hang with them for 20 minutes so you can go for a short walk or just sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature.
Remember, self-care is not being selfish. You being the healthiest and best version of yourself is the most important thing for EVERYONE.