I pretty much stink at taking care of myself lately. I will Go-Go-Go until I am forced to take a break and take care of myself. As I said in my last post, a friend made this observation about frazzled and stressed-out moms:
Generally a mom in that condition has either been running ragged taking care of everyone else, or has been checking out and “resting” in ways that aren’t actually helpful.
That has ME written all over it.
I also think moms put off spending any money on themselves. Or at least I know that *I* am guilty. Most of us homeschool moms are living on tight budgets. I can make myself feel guilty for buying a new nail file and a bottle of nail polish, let alone a good pair of slippers. I have skillz.
Moms often prioritize everyone else first and then skimp on the time, effort, and money when they do finally get around to taking care of themselves.
I’ve been learning more about taking care of myself the right way as I’ve been reading a book called “The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally,” by Dr. Sara Gottfried. This book is SO good. This book reaffirms and supports much of what I’ve already learned elsewhere, and it’s chock full of science, supporting data, and action to take. But really, the book is all about taking care of yourself: physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we take care of our bodies, our minds and our emotions will be healthier, too.
So this got me thinking about the phrase “the right tools for the job.” Men use this phrase frequently. If you’ve ever tried to use a flat head screwdriver when you need a Phillips, you know that you can make it work but it would be a lot easier if you had the right tool. And that got me thinking about all other frazzled, ragged, stressed-out moms in my life. If they are like me, they’re trying to make do with a few mismatched tools in their self-care toolbox.
I’m willing to bet that you either know a mom that is overwhelmed and stressed out, or you’re there right now.
If you know a ragged, worn-out mom, you might be wondering how you can help, or what kind of thoughtful gift you could give her to help her feel loved. I’m thinking, if raggedy moms are struggling to find the time and tools to take care of themselves properly, then these are probably the things that would make the most helpful gifts for overwhelmed moms.
10 Thoughtful Gifts for Run-Down, Stressed-Out, Worn-Ragged Moms
The tools in our mom-care toolbox need to help us take care of a few major areas. We need to rest and relax, get better sleep, relieve stress and anxiety, and ease the aches and fatigue of the day. In addition to exercise and proper nutrition, here are some tools that can help.
#1 Natural mood-lifting tea.
This list of 12 Teas to Boost Your Mood has a lot of good information about how and why herbal tea is a good mood booster. It also explains why I like a good hot spiced chai latte when the weather outside is gray and cloudy.
- Happy Tea, Loose leaf tea
- Organic Spiced Black Chai, Loose leaf tea
- Organic Peppermint Loose Leaf Tea
- Tea Infusers
- Or a gift certificate to your local coffee and tea shop, or better yet, take your friend out for a cup of hot tea and some girl talk. Girl Time is an amazing mood booster!
#2 Dark chocolate.
If you don’t like dark chocolate, you can develop a taste for it. Dark chocolate (with 85% cocoa or higher) is rich in flavanols which have high antioxidant and anti-inlammatory properties. According to “Dark Chocolate: Good for Your Brain!” these high levels of flavanols are great for your heart, brain, memory, and mood.
#3 Essential Oils for Stress-Relief and Lifting Mood.
Even if you don’t “have an oil for everything,” most people agree that a little oil therapy couldn’t hurt. I find that I’m easily influenced by smells. Happy aromas help me feel happy. I’m particularly drawn to orange and clove, but anything that smells pleasant can help me relax and feel more peaceful.
- “Happy” Blend essential oil roll-on
- “Stress Relief” essential oil blend
- Plant Therapy lavender lotion
- Essential oil diffuser
- Owl “Breathe” diffuser necklace
#4 Magnesium bath salts and sprays.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for a wide range of body and mental functions, but unfortunately, if you’re not making an effort to get enough magnesium in your diet you are most likely deficient. Because magnesium is critical for brain function and mood, deficiency leaves you more susceptible to mood swings and depression. In addition to supplements and dietary intake, you can absorb magnesium by soaking in bath salts or using magnesium sprays.
- Stress Relief blend magnesium bath salts
- Stress & Anxiety magnesium spray
- Aromatherapy Bath Bombs with Epsom and mineral salts
#5 Something for those tired toes.
Most moms I know are on their feet a lot. My feet are often killing me by the end of the day, but I rarely take the time to take care of my feet. As this article on Everyday Health points out, it’s important to take care of our feet so that we are able to stay active and healthy.
- Fuzzy slippers with memory foam
- Massaging foot spa (which you can use with magnesium-filled bath salts!)
- Cooling peppermint foot lotion
- Gift certificate for a pedicure or foot massage <– You can’t beat the treat of a professional foot treatment.
#6 Something for the soul.
Reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s word is soothing to the soul, and one of the ways I like to work scripture into my day from time to time is with a Bible verse coloring book. Additionally, I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven that focusing on things you are grateful for, like with a gratitude journal, can lead to more peace and contentment in your life. Yes?
- Spiral-bound inspiring Bible verse coloring book
- The Psalms in Color coloring book
- Verses for Women, prayer and stress relief coloring book
- Gratitude Journal
#7 Aromatherapy and candles.
Like with the essential oils, another way to fill my space with “happy smells” is with aromatherapy candles. But more than that, I find that a candle and jar of bath salts next to my tub is a visual reminder to make time for a relaxing bath. Out of sight, out of mind is my default mode. The presence of the candle alone is a reminder to take care of myself.
#8 The Gift of Reading
One of the things that makes me feel like I’m overwhelmed and over-scheduled is not having time (or making time) for old hobbies like reading. I used to read more often, and I think I got out of the habit when the kids were younger. It’s hard to read when you’re being interrupted so much, and it’s easier to read aloud to them than read your own book on your own. I’ve been trying to make more time for reading–it’s a work in progress.
My favorite site for finding affordable books is called Thriftbooks.com. They have great deals on used paperbacks, and the hard back prices are usually really good, too. You can give the gift of a certificate to Thriftbooks.com or Half Price Books and let your friends choose their own books.
#9 Acts of Service
One of the best gifts you can give a friend in need is an act of service. Take their kids for the day, have them over for dinner so they don’t have to cook, or watch their kids for a date night. When our kids were younger, my friends and I liked to go grocery shopping and errand running together so we could help each other keep an eye on all the kids, and we could have good conversation and company at the same time. If you’re close enough with your friend, you can offer to come fold laundry or wash dishes. You could even go as far as paying for two weeks of housecleaning for a birthday gift or something.
If you’re the run-down mom, maybe you need to be the instigator. Invite your friend to run errands with you, or offer to trade kids for date nights, etc. We try to do everything on our own, but it’s okay to ask for help.
#10 “You are loved” sign, etc.
My last and final suggestion is a gift that literally says “you are loved.” Last year while going through a funky spell, I surrounded myself with verses and reminders of God’s love for me. Sometimes when we are worn out, anxious, or depressed, we need the in-your-face reminder that we are loved – by God, our friends, our family.
Ladies, I’m not advocating spending our time and money unwisely in the name of “self-care.” But I AM saying that if we habitually put ourselves last, we WILL run out of steam. And like I said in my last post, if I run myself ragged, no one in my family will benefit from that. We do need to take care of ourselves in small and regular ways so that we can be healthier and be better moms/wives for our families.
As I learn more about staying healthy as a busy mom, I want to encourage you to learn more about taking care of yourself, too. And if you have a raggedy mom in your life, encourage her and show her she is loved. =)
P.S. This post is part of a link-up. When I debated about whether or not to participate (with all the stuff on my plate,) I thought “what would I even write about?” And then with everything going on, I thought, “I’m going to write about other moms like me. I’m going to make a list of gifts for overwhelmed moms.” But if you want to see more gift guides, for not-so-stressed out moms, or kids with different interests, or husbands, or teenagers, or whatever, then hop over to big giant link-up of Christmas Gift Guides from iHomeschool Network.