Self-care: why caring for yourself is actually caring for all

by Natalie

I’m so excited to welcome Jo Wimble-Groves from Guilty Mother to the blog. I met Jo at a conference last year where we started chatting about the importance of taking time out for yourself, and the inevitable mum-guilt. Here is Jo’s insightful guest post on the importance of self-care. Enjoy.

Self-care: why caring for yourself is actually caring for all
by Jo Wimble-Groves

I have noticed over the last few months, that the topic of self-care has become an important one, so I thought I would share my thoughts with Mums Off Duty. Self-care shouldn’t be underestimated and I have finally figured out that it’s not selfish, it’s not a waste of time, it’s essential – and here’s why.

When I was pregnant with my first child, people consistently reminded me to take time for self-care. But, in truth, self-care was not even on my radar at the time. I was still sitting at my office desk at forty weeks pregnant and it was business as usual. It was no one else’s fault or decision other than my own. Instead of thinking about resting before baby arrives, I was either distracted with work, or more interested in choosing my baby buggy, car seat, baby clothes and all the fun things that come with having a baby.

Once our baby arrived, I was overwhelmed with love and self-care can often be parked to one side. After all, how could I complain about having a beautiful family and that I needed some alone time when so many would trade places with me, who were desperate for a baby? Surely that would be selfish?

Mums Off Duty, self-care, guilty, mums

In my early years as a mother, I thought self-care was about going out with other mums. Mums Nights Out. I was so looking forward to a night out. This seemed like self-care. That’s what the glossy magazines and movies make you think. But was it? As it turned out, those nights were great, but I wasn’t taking any time for myself. Taking time for your own thoughts and quiet time seemed, well, quite difficult. I had misunderstood what self-care was about. I hadn’t thought that it could be something as simple as a walk on my own or a lie-in, without feeling guilty about it. It has taken me a long time for me to figure out that self-care is about, well, myself.

Self-care practice isn’t necessarily about surrounding myself with lots of people or noisy places. Sometimes we need to be still. To feel calm, happy and nourished. I still enjoy going out with friends but I also enjoy the one-on-one kind of experiences. Let’s meet at the coffee shop or let’s go for a walk. I want you to surround yourself with others who want to improve their self-care too. Perhaps we can all support each other on this journey.

According to a survey poll back in 2014, many of us mums are not very good at spending time alone. A study found that the average mother ends up with a mere 17 minutes to herself a day. Over the course of a whole week, the average mother gets less than an hour and a half of waking time to herself.

I want my self-care routine to be about restoring and recharging myself. This can mean so many things, from going for a run, to simply sitting and learning how to just ‘be’. Self-care is about something that has a positive effect on your mental and physical health. There is no one thing that encompasses self-care. It’s different for every person. However, the end goal is always the same: to reduce stress, preserve relationships, maintain a beneficial work/life balance, and nurture your own well-being.

I’m still trying to be a bit kinder to myself. I’m trying harder to stop making excuses for not popping out for a walk or a run. I seem to find an hour available to scroll through Instagram but I won’t spare an hour for myself to do some form of exercise. For me, 2018 is a year of change. Self-care means caring a bit more about my mental and physical well-being.

Clearly, I haven’t got this self-care stuff nailed but once you understand what works best for you, just take a little time to inject some self-care into your busy life. You’ll never regret being kinder to yourself. I used to love noise but now I have learnt to love silence too.


About Jo Wimble-Groves (Guilty Mother)

Jo Wimble-Groves is a inspiring speaker and expert in leadership and management. She is also the co-owner of Active Digital, an award winning mobile telecommunications company. As a keynote speaker, Jo runs a series of events and talks designed to encourage and help women with confidence and to help them step up into more senior business roles. As a regular speaker in schools, Jo’s aim is to encourage and inspire the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Jo tailors each talk to suit the needs and ages of her audience.

As a freelance writer and a mother of two, Jo shares her business and parenting advice with a number of publications including The Guardian, Training Journal, Huffington Post Parents, Mother & Baby and InStyle UK. Jo also runs workshops to inspire confidence in women, helping them to thrive at work and/or to move into more senior work positions in the workplace.

Jo writes a popular parenting and travel blog called ‘Guilty Mother’ about her experience juggling work commitments and motherhood, which has gained 42,500 followers across her social platforms. On a personal level, Jo has achieved a number of accolades; including The Young Guns Award for growing business and ’35 under 35’ in Management Today as seen in the Times.

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