The title of an Urdu book is, “Jo Tum Muskurao Tau Sab Muskurayein”. If you were to smile, everyone would smile with you.
I feel this sentence is so apt for moms because a mom’s happiness is totally contagious. When she’s happy, the entire family is happy.
Remember though, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
You need to prioritize your own mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing first so that you have plenty of love, joy, and care to share with others.
Here are some important self-care tips for stay at home wives and moms to prevent them from depression and burnout.
1. Learn something new online.
A relative once told me that ever since she’s become a stay at home mom, she feels that her mind is rusting and that she has no original thoughts or ideas anymore. What a scary feeling! It’s one that you can easily fall prey to unless you take it upon yourself to continue your journey of learning, even from within your home.
The list of things you can learn online is endless. You can continue pursuing higher education or learn a new skill. Udemy and Coursera offer great courses on a wide range of topics. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, devote a set time to learning every day and you’ll feel mentally stimulated.
2. Find time for solitude daily.
Find at least half an hour of uninterrupted every day in which you can reflect on the direction of your life, feel grateful for your blessings, and evaluate your personal development. Journal and write it out, if possible. Contemplation is necessary for growth. Don’t just survive these years of being a housewife and mom – enjoy them and THRIVE.
3. Don’t let bitterness enter your heart.
Guard your heart fiercely against any bitterness that may enter and linger. Life never goes 100% according to our expectations and plans. If someone has wronged you, take a stand where possible or forgive them for the sake of Allah, but don’t let yourself hold onto grudges.
Whether it’s because of your in-laws, husband, or just fate – learn to go to sleep with a clean heart every day. Why carry every wrong ever done to you by holding on to its memory? Let it go and know that Allah (swt) is all-Seeing, all-Knowing. He remembers so you can forget.
4. Start a business.
Are you good at crocheting or baking but have never thought to put your skills to use professionally? Now you should! The tools to run a successful business are readily available online. All you need is motivation and a leap of faith – you never know where you’ll end up, and “a year from now, you will have wished you started today.” Start your own business, be your own boss, and you might just surprise yourself with the greatness you’re capable of!
Are you motivated to change your life for the better but don’t know where to start?
5. Keep your spark alive.
Who are you? This is one question very few people know the answer to. Who you are is not defined by your roles, which are ever-changing. Learn to define yourself as a person, not as a mother, daughter, sister, or wife. Know who you are. Strengthen your private relationship with your Creator. In the whirlwind of your numerous responsibilities, hold on tightly to everything that makes you, YOU.
6. Host or attend parties.
Get together with your girlfriends at least once a month. Texting and staying in touch over social media can never compensate for real face-to-face conversation. Coordinating around everyone’s schedules can be a monumental task, but once you actually manage to host or attend a party with old friends, you’ll feel so much more energized and happy!
7. Pursue knowledge of the Deen.
You can’t practice or pass on to your children what you yourself don’t know, so the pursuit of righteous knowledge should take precedence over other knowledge you can gain in your spare time.
There are so many reliable online institutes that are imparting knowledge of Arabic grammar, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh to women. You can enroll in one of them, or even better is to attend an Islamic class in person.
When you strive to gain knowledge for Allah’s sake, Allah (swt) will put Barakah in your endeavors. The fruits of that effort will pass on to your children.
8. Go out with your husband, just the two of you.
It can be so difficult to communicate with your husband when there’s always some pressing house or child-related task to do or fret over. After a while, you may struggle to remember the last time you and your husband did anything fun together, just the two of you.
But remember – you became a couple first, and parents later. So it might take some trial and error and lots of plans won’t go exactly according to your expectations, but be flexible and take time out with your husband wherever you can. Plan a date around your baby’s nap time. Even if you have a very small child, call on the help of your family members or trusted friends and request them to take care of your baby while you step out with hubby.
9. Follow the Sunnah lifestyle.
The closer our lives are to the Sunnah, the more Barakah we have. Sleeping shortly after Isha, waking up at or before Fajr to begin your day, taking a nap midday, all of these are habits that will help you feel more in control of your time. When you follow the Sunnahs of daily activities like eating, sleeping, even using the washroom, then the time you spend doing them becomes Ibadah (worship).
Exercising is beneficial not just for your physical but your mental health as well. If going to the gym isn’t feasible for you, go for a walk several times a week. Just the act of stepping outside your home and breathing in fresh air can center you.
There are so many things that can enhance your routine walk – recite your daily Adhkar or listen to the Quran while walking. Walk with your husband so you can catch up on each other’s day. Put your baby in the stroller so you don’t have to worry about leaving her with someone. Call up a family member or friend you haven’t talked to in a while and chat with them while you walk.
11. Create novelty.
Life at home can sometimes feel like just one chore after another, so do something new every once in a while to break the mundaneness of everyday life. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive. Go for a picnic or explore a recreational point within your city. Even a one-day trip to a new scenic spot can be refreshing.
12. Read a book.
Reading is one of those habits that many of us rarely find time for but should try our best to bring back into our lives.
You can read something lighthearted to refresh yourself. You can read something spiritual for a daily dose of inspiration. Settling in with a book every night is a great way to wind down and end the day on a positive note.
13. Whatever can be done with or in front of the kids, don’t wait until they’re asleep to do it.
If you keep waiting until the kids are asleep to do anything productive, you’ll constantly feel as if you’re behind on everything. Let go of perfectionism and settle for getting things done.
Involve the kids around the house in chores like cleaning and organizing. Allow them to see you pray and read the Quran so they can follow your example.
14. Don’t waste the morning hours.
The subtitle of the book I’m reading these days is: “Own your morning. Elevate your life.” Having been a night owl my entire life, I know how tempting it is to sleep some more while your baby is also asleep, but utilizing the morning hours is key if you want to have more Barakah in your time.
When you learn to rise early on a regular basis, you’ll get more done by afternoon than most people get done in a week. Try it and you’ll be amazed by the results.
Do you want to reach your full potential & achieve your goals in life?
15. Be grateful for every little joy of motherhood.
Allah (swt) chose you to be a part of the Ummah of His beloved Messenger (saw), and then He chose for you to give birth to an Ummati as well. Subhan Allah! The reward of being a mom is so great, we’ll only realize it fully when we enter the next life.
Strive to focus on the bigger picture during the crazy mom days running from one errand to another. Just take a deep breath and say alhumdulillah. Alhumdulillah for motherhood, alhumdulillah for the opportunity to raise righteous children who will make Dua for you when you’re gone and elevate your levels in the Hereafter.
16. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
You may have never needed to ask for help before becoming a mom, being quite efficient at multitasking and getting everything done on your own. But momhood is a different juggling act altogether.
Don’t feel ashamed to take help when it is offered or to seek help when it isn’t. You’re human, and it’s better to rest and reset yourself than it is to risk burning out when you feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do.
17. Don’t compare.
You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of anyone’s life but your own, which is why it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking someone else has it easier or better than you.
No one has a perfect life and the grass is definitely greener where you water it. But there are some days when we are more vulnerable than others, so be more mindful of your social media consumption. Don’t mindlessly scroll through your feed because whatever you see is being fed to your mind and heart.
Focus on your own little private joys and limit your exposure to other people’s. Don’t compare.
18. Stay in touch with friends who are at different stages of life.
It can be easy to lose contact with people who mean a lot to you when you’re spending all of your time and energy running a household and taking care of your kids. But staying in touch with old friends and getting to know new people is an effort that really pays off.
Try to have friends who are in different stages of life. If you’re a mom of young kids, seek guidance and insight from a mom of older ones. Get together with your unmarried girlfriends for fun times and laughter.
Having a diverse social circle is so important for gaining perspective and preventing isolation on your stay at home journey.
19. Invest in yourself.
Taking care of your mental health is absolutely a necessity. You deserve to feel at peace and content. Children deserve to grow up in happy households.
So while it’s normal to feel overwhelmed after giving birth, if your low feelings persist and start to feel a lot like depression, seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.
Don’t ever feel embarrassed for needing therapy or counseling. Would you feel embarrassed about needing antibiotics for a chest infection? Of course not.
20. Don’t measure your self-worth by your productivity.
As women, we often forget that who we are is not defined by what we DO, or how much of it we do for others. This means that on days when you’re only able to manage the bare minimum, you don’t berate yourself for not getting more done.
On days when you’re not able to be “productive”, don’t let your inner voice criticize you. These rough days will come and go. It’s all a part of the challenging yet beautiful journey of motherhood.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Which of these points can you incorporate into your life starting today? Leave a comment below to let me know!