Self-care gifts for mums who don’t have time for self-care

Forget elaborate gifts this Mother’s Day – the best present a mum can get is time and space to look after herself, mentally and physically.

Mother’s Day can be when you finally get bath time to yourself, get a sleep-in or enjoy breakfast in bed.

But ideally you can keep that self-care vibe going for the rest of the year. So how do you do it?

“The key to practising self-care and making it a habit is to choose a practice or activity that feel good for you, that you are confident you can do and maintain,” says Wendy Gilroy, founder of counselling and therapy practice Mind Momentum.

Whether it’s you or your mum (or both) who could use a little more self-care, check out these expert tips for fitting more TLC into your day:

1. Proactively carve out time

Rather than waiting to find time, schedule in some self-care (such as a yoga class or gym time).

Also look for opportunities in small moments.

That might be sitting down to enjoy a cuppa while it’s still hot, going for a 10-minute walk or even just feeling the sun on your back while you take a breather.

“It doesn’t need to be extravagant or time-consuming to be self-caring – often the best self-care is found in the little moments of presence and freedom,” says Jessica Sanders, social worker and author of Me Time.

How to help your own mum:

  • Consider ways you can help out your mum to ensure she also gets some “me time”.
  • Small favours, such as doing some of her weekly chores or running errands for her are simple, yet effective, gestures that will allow her downtime to do whatever she wishes.
  • You can step it up even further by booking in a mani-pedi, class or pampering session that she can enjoy. Or just organise a spur-of-the-moment coffee catch-up.

2. Reduce the guilt

Guilt is so often a barrier to women’s self-care,” says Jessica. “We’ve been taught that to take time for ourselves is selfish and that our worth comes from what we offer other people, rather than what we intrinsically are.”

Wendy believes part of the problem stems from how we observed our mothers and grandmothers. “They seemed to ‘do it all’ and just got on with things,” she says.

“As a newer generation of mothers, we’re challenging and redefining motherhood.

“Many of us are taking on much more than our mothers did, and our lives are busier than ever as we juggle raising kids while simultaneously being committed to a career or business goals.”

How to help your own mum:

  • Remind her that prioritising time for herself is nothing to feel guilty about.
  • Take time out together so you can enjoy some bonding time.

3. Hone the art of saying no

“Equally important is learning to say no to others when we have a full load or we’re not feeling at our best,” says Wendy.

“If we’re always trying to please others or be seen as a ‘perfect’ mum, we might just be setting ourselves up for burnout.”

How to help your own mum

  • If you’ve never heard your own mum say no to requests, it’s time for a conversation – not just with her, but also with other relatives guilty of asking too much of her.
  • Offer to share the load if you can. And before you ask her for a favour, think about whether there is anyone else you could lean on instead.

4. Learn how to ask for help

Asking for help can be especially challenging for those of us who like to pretend everything is under control.

But if you can’t carve out self-care time, it’s worth talking to your partner or kids about how they can help pick up the load, whether that’s helping more around the house or readjusting their expectations of what you’ll take on.

“As women, carers and mothers, there will always be something that needs to be done,” says Jessica.

“Practising self-care requires accepting that your care is more important than all the other things and people on your to-do list.

“When you practice self-care without guilt, you give others permission to the same.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do for the self-care of others is to model prioritising your own care.”

How to help your own mum:

  • Keep your eyes peeled and take initiative to help her out without her having to ask.
  • Better yet, drag in some reinforcements, whether it be family or friends, who don’t do enough to help out so they can learn the art of helping too.

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Written by Samantha Allemann.