The Best Self-Care Products for Mamas
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Welcome back, Mamas! last time we talked about self-care, which as you know, is a very hot topic right now and I think for good reason. Too many mamas (ahem) fall in to a pattern of caring for Littles, or the hubs, or maybe an aging parent, to their own detriment.
We all know that you have to put on your own oxygen mask first or you won’t be any good to anyone! The rub comes in when we actually try to put that mask on. That’s why I’m writing this for you today. . . to share some of the products I have either found, or been given over the years, that fall into the category of self-care.
These are items I use and enjoy and I think you might too!
Recommended Self-Care Products
Exercise and Hydration
As we mentioned previously, self-care falls into three basic categories: physical, mental and spiritual. When talking about addressing physical self-care needs, exercise is a biggie. Through the years I have walked many a mile with Leslie Sansone. She has so many wonderful Walk Away the Pounds DVDs that it’s hard to pick which one(s) to start with.
Leslie makes exercising a no excuse deal, Mama, because it’s all done from the privacy of your very own bedroom, living room, basement or anywhere else you have a TV/DVD combo. You can get a mile crossed off your to-do list in 15-20 minutes, even if it’s raining outside! Two miles takes about 40 minutes with Leslie and it sure is nice to have that done for the day. I prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, but whenever you decide, Walk Away the Pounds is a simple, fun and super inexpensive way to exercise!
Wait a minute, though. Don’t forget to keep your water bottle handy when exercising! I’ve had numerous and various water bottles through the years. I’m super excited about my most recent one, however. It is made by Nalgene (in USA), and has ounces/ml marked along the side all the way to 32oz. This is super because now I can see exactly how much water I’ve had.
This makes it a lot easier to follow that formula we discussed previously. . . the one where you take your weight and divide by two. That equals (in ounces) how much water you should be getting daily. Example: 140 lb divided by two = 70 ounces of water per day. That would be a little more than two Nalgene water bottles!
Relaxation and Sound Sleep
Sleep is another very important aspect of physical self-care. Dr. James H. O’Keefe, Kansas City Cardiologist said in a recent article, “. . .your busy and powerful brain generates substantial amounts of waste while it’s awake. As in a bustling city, the garbage accumulates during the day, and only at night when the city sleeps does the refuse get hauled away, the debris in the empty streets flushed down the sewers.”
The article is titled, “Sleep’s Unrivaled Therapeutic Powers: Why Wakefulness is Over-rated,” and is excellent reading. The bottom line of the article is that good sleep is the cornerstone of good health, and with that in mind, I share two nighttime products I recommend to enhance relaxation and sleep.
My husband and I enjoy using the White Noise Machine and we each have favorite settings. There are six “soothing sounds” to choose from: white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night and brook. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but we especially love rain and brook!
This Bath and Body Works Pillow Mist is a game changer. I love, love, love spraying it around the room before retiring for the night. I do a lot of reading before bed, and this spray just sets me up to breathe deeply and relax into my reading. It can be sprayed directly onto your pillow, which I do sometimes, but remember to let it dry a bit after spraying.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet / Nutrition is another HUGE part of self-care and if you’re anything like me, the biggest “fail” portion of my diet (okay, one of the biggest fails) is when it comes to veg. Ugh. I don’t know what went wrong with me as a kid, but something certainly must have, because it has taken me a long time, and a lot of trial and error to find veg recipes I enjoy.
On my path to broadening my vegetable horizons, I found this amazing book! It’s appropriately called, The Vegetable Butcher, and is written by Cara Mangini. I purchased it several years ago and it has become my go-to book for all things vegetable. If you are “flummoxed by fava beans or perplexed by purslane” as the review by Library Journal says, Ms. Mangini has a recipe for you! Seriously though, there are so many wonderful vegetables out there that we don’t have to be roped in by the standard corn, green beans and peas of childhood.
I mentioned previously Food Rules by Michael Pollan. What a wonderful, common sense little book for anyone trying to navigate “health” in a society dominated by commercial farming. It’s no wonder this is a #1 New York Times Bestseller!
If you are interested in digging deeper into diet and health as it pertains to self-care, author Michael Pollan has also written this book, which has been called an “eater’s manifesto” by The Washington Post. I read both of these books, and others, over 10 years ago when my husband and I volunteered at a local organic farm for a growing season. (Did you know a growing season starts in January and ends in October or November?) It was a wonderful experience and one that I may have to write about, but for now, as it pertains to self-care and diet, Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma is a must read.
Recommended Products for Mental Health Self-Care
Meditation and Mindfulness
When talking about mental health as it pertains to self-care, there are several products that I use and greatly value in my personal routine.
In January, 2018, I added meditation to my daily routine, and since I’m a big book geek, of course I read about it to obtain a better understanding of the practice. The book I go back to time and again is The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe. The subtitle is, “How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day.” It is a small book, chock full of story and explanation.
Mr. Puddicombe is one of the UK’s foremost mindfulness experts and he even created an app called Headspace. It is phenomenal! I used the free version for all of 2018, and then purchased the full version Christmas of that year. I recommend Headspace app, and book, to anyone who will listen. Practicing meditation and mindfulness has helped me be more aware of those times when I am stressed or anxious, and it has given me tools to use during those times.
I was recently in a very long holding pattern at the ER, (thank you, gallbladder). I’m talking hours waiting to be seen. Not knowing why I was in pain or what was going on. It was very stressful to say the least, and a perfect opportunity for me to focus on being mindful and aware. I was able to take positive steps toward lowering my already high anxiety level, using meditation, in a time of obvious stress. (Insert smiley face here!)
Something more tangible that I use to help clear my head in a different sort of way is my Leuchtturm 1917 Bullet Journal. Now, in all fairness to me, I just got my BuJo this spring. It wasn’t too long before the end of the school year, and I haven’t worked with the Journal the way I need to, to get the full benefit from it. I have been using it for lists and “brain dump” sessions. Which, if you don’t know what those are, I recommend you Google it, because for people who tend to have a lot on their mind, it works great. I think creating a Brain Dump Printable Freebie might be fun, don’t you? I’ll have to get to work on that! Look at this beautifulness!
We talked last time about the importance of creativity as it relates to mental health self-care. I mentioned how every single Mama is creative and that there are so many different ways for us Mamas to express our creativity. I love to write and maybe you do too. Or maybe you wish you could write, or wish you could paint. I remember thinking, “I like to write, but I’m certainly not a writer.” And then I found this book by Julia Cameron. She weaves together that part of us that is creative, with the part f us that is spiritual, and what she creates is a powerful argument for how it is that every single person is creative!
As far as creative endeavors go, one of my favorite things to do to de-stress is bake. If my family sees me baking up a storm, they know something’s up. One of my absolute favorite creative endeavors is Cookie Art! I love cookies (though my life has taken a turn toward the gluten free) and turning them into tiny pieces of artwork is so much fun! I taught myself using blogs, YouTube tutorials and BOOKS!
I love Autumn Carpenter’s cookie books. . . Look! How stinkin’ cute is this?
Or this book by Bridget Edwards? I have them both and I love them both!
Recommended Products for Spiritual Self-Care
Spirituality is very important to me. I became a believer in Jesus in February, 1988. My relationship with Him has been one of learning and growing and learning some more. We won’t ever know it all until we get to heaven, but that doesn’t stop us from continuing on a path of growth. One of the ways I use to grow my relationship with Him? Yep, you guessed it! Books.
I have read (and sometimes reread) countless books in the last 30 years. There are many authors I glean things from and many who encourage me in my spiritual walk. One author I’ve been reading for over 10 years is Lysa TerKeurst and her book that I’m currently reading is Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close. This book is very encouraging and thought provoking. I love the way she writes!
I don’t think a conversation about spiritual self-care would be complete without discussing worship music. There are so many amazing artists who create powerful music. Hillsong United is one such band and if you haven’t heard of them, you should check them out!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Self-Care Product Recommendations
These are just a few products I use and love that fall into the self-care category. There are tons more! What products do you love and use already?
My hope is that one of these, or maybe even a couple of them, are interesting to you and that you’ll check them out so that they can provide you with that little self-care boost we all need from day to day.
Mama, find what works for you, what you will use in your self-care routine and get started!