mental health motherhood parenting self-care work life balance

Finding Quiet Time for Mental Health: Tested Strategies for Self-Care and Mental Wellness in Motherhood

Finding Quiet Time for Mental Health:  Tested Strategies for Self-Care and Mental Wellness in Motherhood

In my previous post, I mentioned that things have been a bit chaotic in our household lately.  From meeting work deadlines to family dance recitals to helping my husband recuperate from jaw surgery.  It’s been quite a lot.  I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only mom out there trying to do it all while balancing motherhood and my mental health.  But, as I walk this tightrope, I’m picking up a few strategies along the way to help me wrangle just a bit of the chaos. Here are a few that have actually made a difference.

Photo by Oleksandr P on

Schedules Are Our Friends

I have a love of planners and calendars.  Our family uses a digital calendar color-coded for each member and the family as a whole.  We put anything that affects family movement on this calendar.  Work meetings, practices, concerts, family time, etc.  I’m able to check it multiple times to see what’s on the agenda for the day and week.

writings in a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on

What I am also learning is the importance of scheduling self-care and KEEPING THE APPOINTMENT!  I can’t tell you the times that I have had dinners scheduled or time scheduled for time just for myself, and have cancelled the appointment, trip, walk, etc. because I think that someone needs me or that I need to relieve someone.

Adults Need Nap Time, Too

In 2021, The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health posted an article on Effects of a Short Daytime Nap on the Cognitive Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.  It concluded that napping in the afternoon improved cognitive performance alertness for up to two hours after the nap.  Early naps in the afternoon were more effective on cognitive performances. [1]

In my household, we have “Quiet Time”.  Every member of the family, from infant to adult, shuts down and either naps or does a quiet activity.  Daily, my younger children have an hour to an hour and a half nap.  I have noticed that on those days where I am afforded a 30-minute lunchtime nap, I wake with energy and a fresh perspective for a task.  I feel better and can more easily figure out tasks that were giving me a hard time before.

Motherhood. Black mother holds a sleeping newborn girl on her chest while sleeping on a brown couch


Walk It Out

Admittedly, I need to do this more often, but taking a walk outside is a definite mind regulator for me.  Our neighborhood is very walker friendly.  It’s not unusual to see families walking or biking on pleasant days.  When the weather is nice and I have had the most all-consuming day of work or parenthood, I let my husband or oldest son know I need a moment and I take a nice long walk. 

Trees lining the road and sidewalk with red fall foliage (leaves).

On days when the kids are a bit amped and there is no one there but me, I drop the younger ones in the double stroller, grab scooters, bikes, and helmets and we walk together.  Most times, the littles fall asleep (I try and plan these walks close to nap time) and the older ones are ready for quiet time when we walk through the door.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

I’ve posted about it before.  Somewhere along the mythical imagery of mothers came the belief that moms can do it all without any help from anyone at any time.  That may be true but it isn’t necessary or healthy.  I have run myself ragged instead of seeking help when needing.  I’ve actually passed out from exhaustion instead of reaching out despite people offering to help.  When I was pregnant with our last child, people often asked if they could assist.  But I was stubborn and believed I could do it on my own or convinced that I had to.

After the baby was born, more than one person pulled me to the side to tell me that they were concerned for me during pregnancy because I looked stressed and close to collapse.  They wished I’d have allowed them to help me and I wished I had allowed them to do so.

person drowning in water
Photo by Luca Nardone on

Getting help from trusted family and friends is not a weakness or an admission of defeat.  It is accepting love in one of its many forms—this time as an Act of Service.

There are tons of other offerings and strategies that I have seen moms use to help them balance their loads.  The ones listed above have helped me when called upon and I hope they help you as well. 

Do you have any go to strategies for Self-Care and Life Balance?

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