'Me time' is so important for mothers," says Linda Okwor, a mother, fitness and nutrition specialist, and owner of Baby Boot Camp (a fitness program or mothers and their babies) in Los Angeles-South Bay, California. "It energizes you and makes you feel good, which also helps your family." Take inspiration as she shares the benefits of taking time out for yourself.
Good for your well-being
As a fitness professional, Linda knew it was important to make her health a priority after she had her baby. "Pregnancy is the biggest thing your body will ever do,"she says. "It's a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it wrecks your body." She makes the effort to include regular exercise for her "me time.", which also releases beneficial feel-good hormones.
She has observed, especially in new moms, that hormones can also cause debilitating emotions, such as postpartum depression. "It can be very severe." She stresses that mothers, with children of all ages, need to take care of their well being.
Handling your emotions
Should you battle to take personal time, Linda encourages mothers in her fitness programs to:
1. Realize that feelings of guilt and embarrassment are okay. "You're not alone and you're not a bad mom."
2. Talk to friends, join groups, mother-oriented fitness groups or reach out to moms through social media. Contact with others is helpful and staves off feeling isolated.
3. Try at least once a month to go out and do something for yourself: take a walk, meet with a friend. Just one hour will have a positive effect on your disposition.
4. Release what you're feeling. "Do not internalize," cautions Linda. "Whether you like to write it out or punch a bag, dance, scream, let it out." Holding on to emotions can cause stress and make you feel even worse.
Make "you" a priority
Linda believes it's crucial for moms to make a commitment to themselves. Socializing with others gives you a break from daily activities and allows you to talk about mom issues. Be around people who get you and the space you're in." She helps the mothers in her program with their "me time" by organizing outings. "We go to comedy shows and play games. It's healthy to laugh!" If finding childcare is an issue, she suggests mothers provide it for each other. One mom watches all the kids one week and another mom watches them the next. This allows every mother to have some quality social time and enables the kids to make new friends.
Having "me time" is essential for a mother's well-being. Allowing yourself just an hour once a month to have coffee with friends can be beneficial. Linda adds, "You can't be thinking about diapers and putting somebody to bed all the time." If you're pressed for time and have no chance to socialize in the week, it also helps to allow some personal pampering at home. Put on a hair mask like Pantene Total Damage Care Intensive Hair Mask to bring those lifeless strands back to life or slather on a hydrating facial cream like Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream to give your tired skin an added boost. Whether at home alone or out with friends, remember that YOU deserve to look good and feel good.