Let me make this clear:
- You are worthy of your own time.
- You are worthy of your own money.
- You are worthy of your own health.
- You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy.
As our flight attendants always remind us: we must secure our own oxygen masks first, before assisting our children. This is so we don’t lose so much oxygen that we are incapable of securing their masks properly. In our everyday life, it’s important to care for ourselves first, so we are mentally and physically able to care for our children.
How can we expect to take care of our children if we can’t take care of ourselves? How can we expect them to learn to care for themselves if we aren’t setting the example?
If we aren’t caring for ourselves, not only do we rob our children of modeling a healthy example for their own self-care, we rob them of a happy, healthy mom. Self-care is the first step we can take towards preventing stress, fear, overwhelm, anxiety and depression from taking the driver’s seat in our lives. When we constantly take the time to analyze what we need physically, mentally, and even spiritually, we can catch the first signs of distress before they take root.
Setting aside time for self care as a mom can be extremely difficult – and if we struggle to squeeze it in we may begin to develop feelings of resentment toward our loved ones and we don’t need that kind of guilt to build up.
Join me as we chat with Sara Miller as we discuss some of the many ways to incorporate self care into your every day. Sara is a self care coach, a wife and mom who is on a mission to help women reduce anxiety and overwhelm through a self care lifestyle.
Sara is the host of The Self Care Life Podcast, where she shares honest stories, inspiration, and impactful tips and tricks to help you transition from feeling anxious and frustrated to tuning into your needs.
Topics in this episode:
*Sara’s journey in discovering self care
*Self care looks different for everyone
*Practicing emotional awareness to evaluate your self care methods in new seasons
*Multitasking your selfcare to integrate it into your daily life as a busy mom
*Decluttering as a form of self care and anxiety relief
*No spend self care ideas
Brittni: Sara. I’m so happy to have you here with me. Can you introduce yourself?
Sara: Thank you so much for having me. I am Sara Miller and I am the host behind the self-care lifestyle podcast. I help women reduce anxiety and overwhelm with the power of effective self-care. I do that through my podcast, through courses and free content on social media, all that good stuff. So that’s me.
B: Great. So happy to have you. So, let me ask maybe what for the overwhelmed mom, because I know that’s who’s listening to me. Where would you say she should start in her self-care journey?
S: That’s a great question. So let me give you a little foundation. So my self-care journey was really something that started when my mental health went downhill.
I had always been kind of an anxious kid, an anxious person, and then, but never really clicked that like this is not normal, and then my freshman year of college things just got bad. And I was having a lot of panic attacks. I was struggling to function. I was struggling to want to go out and make friends.
I became depressed because of the level of anxiety that I was feeling and how damaging it had become to my life and to interacting with new people. I had always been decently okay at making friends in school, but it was just becoming too much. I ultimately ended up getting a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis and going on meds, all that stuff, some counseling.
And as I kind of got it a little bit more manageable, I started working through self-care. What could I do to not only manage it, but to really thrive, and what could I do to prevent this, what’s the word, this uptick, this, this episode, I guess of, yeah, just horrible anxiety? What could I prevent? What could I do to thrive?
And it became this journey of self care. It became trying new things. It became figuring out what I was feeling. I mean, I was 18 years old. I was still figuring out what was happening in life. But it was a lot of self exploration and I think that’s where everybody’s self-care journey starts. So even the overwhelmed mom, that self-care journey starts with self exploration.
It starts with figuring out where you are, what is going on in your head? What are those thoughts that you’re having and how are you not taking care of yourself? What do you wish you had time for? It is then putting different kinds of self-care into practice. It’s trying different things and it’s being aware.
It’s being really, really aware of how you’re feeling. I think that’s one of the key pieces is that self-awareness that emotional awareness is something that you have to work on in your self-care journey in order for the self-care to really be effective, because I’ll say again, I’ve said it a million times, but meditation and Zen are really not for everybody.
Some people want to jam out in their car or go for a run. Some people want to have alone time. Some people need time with friends. That’s part of their self care. Everybody’s selfcare needs are really different because we are all so, so different and unique, and our needs change throughout time too, which is something we can dive into more if you’re interested in that.
But, that’s kind of where I would start that self-awareness that emotional awareness and just experimenting.
B: Absolutely. Oh my goodness. You’re little origin story about freshman year of college – like I only went to university for one semester and almost all my memories of it are just laying in bed.
Like emailing my professors. “I’m not coming to class today. I can’t do this. I can’t leave my room.” Anxiety and depression were bad.
S: Mm-hmm , it’s so hard. You go away from family and your friends and, you know, I was four hours away from home and you know, I brought my boyfriend with me – who’s now my husband. But it was still, you know, like my best friend was not there. And I’d made some great friends now that I’m still connected with, but it was still, I didn’t thrive because I was so stuck in that anxiety.
B: Mm-hmm absolutely. What was that you mentioned a bit ago about going deeper into our needs changing?
S: Yeah. I mean, I think a part of that self-care journey, you know, you start to figure out what works for you, right? And then it changes because life changes. So you have to continue that emotional awareness of how you’re feeling after you finish an act of self-care, but also during, and before through all the phases, you need to be very aware of how you’re feeling.
And I think the most important piece is how you feel after the fact. Let’s say for just a specific example, you know, my self care as a college freshman looks a lot different than as a mom to an 18 month old.
S: So my needs have changed, but also the time I have the season of life that I’m in has changed. I don’t have the free time of a college freshman who went to class and had a part-time job where I worked on homework and it was fine. It was, you know, a really chill job versus a mom working a full-time job with an 18 month old and working on this, you know, business on the side as well, and being a wife.
And of course COVID has thrown a whole wrench on things as well. And just the chaos. My son was home. Until this fall, he was home. And then he spent the summer with my mother-in-law, thankfully, she’s a teacher’s assistant. So she watched him most of the summer cuz she wasn’t working, which was a huge help.
But he spent the majority of like the first year of his life home while both me and my husband were working full time. Anyways tangent. Self care looks really different in that in this season, self-care looks like a lot less alone time. You know, I might have an hour or two in the evening, or if that, depending on the night, so as moms, I think it’s really important to set realistic expectations in how we adapt to our seasons of life with our self care, because a mom with a young child versus a mom with a teenager, the time that they have is a lot different.
And I can’t speak to being a mom with a teenager. I don’t have any idea, but from what I’ve heard, it’s at least a little more time since you’re now less supervision, a little less supervision, you know, Not chasing them everywhere and trying to keep them from climbing things and tackling the dog and whatever, but, it’s just really different.
And I think it’s important to give yourself grace in those seasons. In how you practice selfcare I also think it’s important to be really attentive to how you can pull that self care into your daily life. Even when you have that limited time, I think self-care needs to be a part of your daily life in general.
Hence the Self Care Lifestyle. But when you have very limited time, sometimes that self-care has to be a part of those menial tasks. It has to be a part of the stuff you don’t like so much. It has to be a part of a shift in mindset. So a really great example of this could be as simple as listening to a podcast while you wash dishes, it could be choosing to unplug from your phone during your family dinner and be more present in your life.
There’s so many different ways that you can take care of yourself and elevate what you’re doing so that it feels like self care. Doing laundry, you could binge watch your Gilmore Girls or whatever you watch while you fold your laundry.
Don’t feel like you can’t make self-care a part of your daily life, just because you’ve got kids. I think it’s just important to recognize that you can integrate it and it’s important for your kids to see you taking care of yourself.
B: Absolutely. Yes.So if I can say two things without forgetting one of them, cause I don’t wanna interrupt.
B: I recently started – when I’m doing dishes, because I don’t enjoy doing that – I used to have a chores playlist that was all just like music that made me wanna move. So I couldn’t sit down when it was on. But I recently created a new playlist where there’s songs that make me wanna move, but they’re also all songs that remind me of either my husband or my kids.
So like, there’s a lot of love songs or like some of my kids’ favorite songs. Songs like All Star by Smash Mouth is one of their favorites. So that as I’m listening to that, all the words that are coming in while I feel like I have to move are reminding me of like, why am I the one washing dishes right now?
Like, why did I sign up for this? You know, like I’m here to support their lives when it comes to the housework. I might have forgotten the other one.
S: Well, that’s okay.
S: Yeah. I think that’s a great option. And I’m curious, it sounds like a lot of your self care circles around your kids and your husband and I would love to hear how you practice self care in a way that is… why do you feel like you integrate your kids and your husband into your self care a lot? Is that something that you feel like is just limited time or a mindset shift? Or what do you think?
B: it’s probably because I spend most of my time with all of them.
B: Like most I get that of my life is spent with them. So. Most of everything I do involves them in some way. I would hate to like start developing this whole mindset of like, I can’t take care of myself unless I’m away from my kids. Cuz that, for me, at least would lead to a lot of resentment towards them when I feel like I need self care and I can’t get away.
B: Also a lot of the things I used to do for myself before I became a wife and mom are like just terrible, bad habits that I can’t keep. I was addicted to shopping. We need money for the family now. My husband would not be happy with me if I was just out spending money on a ton of crap all the time.
And that would honestly lead to more of a cycle of depression for me than help. I have like really gotten into more decluttering and like, we don’t need the physical stuff, so it’s not helpful self care at all to go out and spend money on bringing more stuff in that I’m gonna have to deal with later.
B: That’s stress that I’m paying money for.
S: Yeah, for sure. I get that. I was just talking with another guest about Self care that isn’t focused on consumerism, which I thought was really fascinating. She made a reel about it and it really hones in on that focus of like – okay, well I say another guest, I’m on your show.
I’m getting confused. I’m sorry. A guest on my show. I was recently talking to a guest on my show about that and she was discussing how there’s this focus on consumers and like needing to buy things to practice self-care and that’s just not true. There are so many ways to practice self care that are not purchasing things.
There are so many free ways to practice self care and I think you’re totally spot on in that decluttering realm of things. It can be so… I’ve been working through that as well and decluttering my home because I find it to be so overwhelming to be surrounded by stuff to be so like over-stimulated, by all the things and it’s that like spending money on things we don’t actually need and all of that.
S: With that I’d love to talk – Do you wanna talk through some free self care ideas? Like what you practice and what I practice?
B: Yeah, we could try. We can think of them on the spot. Yeah,
S: I mean, for me right off the bat, there’s like hot showers, taking walks, listening to a podcast, it could be spending time with your kid.It could be snuggling a pet. Snuggling the husband. I don’t know.
B: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We can’t forget that. Like yeah. Snuggling your husband is self care. I think that we tend to think it’s for him too often. I feel like that’s society that we think spending time and intimacy with the husband is like for the husband – like there’s a whole idea, like women withhold it to get what they want kind of thing. No you got married for both of you – that’s time for you too.
S: Mm-hmm yeah. And I think that’s time that can be really hard to make time for especially with kids, but also just that mindset shift and that’s – thank you for calling attention to that, because that is something that I need to think through. That’s great.
B: Yeah. I’ve gone back and forth, struggling with that one, so yeah, for sure. Let’s see what else? Early mornings. Those are free. Wake up when the world is still silent. Oh my gosh. Like, yeah, just thinking about an early morning, hot coffee, crisp air outside, step outside and give like breath of fresh air. hat is a self care. That is one of my favorites.
S: Yeah. I have to admit I’m terrible at getting up early. I am not a natural morning person, which is really funny because in my full-time job, I’m considered the early bird and I’m like, “guys, this is not – This is not early. What are you talking about?”
Oh, well I have a husband that gets up at, you know, five o’clock and I’m over here getting up at like seven and they’re like, “that’s so early.” I’m like, it’s okay. But, yeah, you know, perspective, but, It’s a struggle for me, but I also find that when I do like get out of bed at seven and don’t lay in bed for another hour and I have like two hours to myself before my full-time job to get ready, to sit down and sip my coffee and probably like work on some podcast stuff.
I am in a much of a better mood because I’ve gotten to like work on a passion project. That’s another good one is working on a creative project or working on something that you’re really passionate about, that might not necessarily always be free depending on the costs of whatever your hobby is.
But it is something that I don’t feel like is rooted in consumerism because it’s not just buying to buy it’s, you know what I mean?
B: Yeah. Yeah. Buying supplies is very different from like, you know,
S: 10 tops and the same in different colors.
B: Than just keep buying things to be happy. Yeah. Like, no I’m buying it so I can do something else that makes me happy. That’s it’s it’s a different intention behind it.
S: Sure. Yeah.
B: Well, where can my listeners find more of you?
S: Sure. So I actually put together a little freebie that I wanted to share with you guys, and it is called the Own Your Self Care Starter Kit. And it’s all about figuring out what kind of self care works for you. There’s worksheets to work through that process. I’ll give you that link for the show notes. You can also find me on Instagram at Sarastrives and then I’m occasionally on TikTok trying to figure out TikTok at the self care lifestyle.
Of course, my podcast, the Self Care Lifestyle. All over the place. But definitely go grab that starter kit, I think it is a really great taste of what I do and just how to get started with self care. Thank you so much for having me on.
B: Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. This was so much fun.