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I’m a shift working nurse and mum. Here are the 7 ways I make time for self care.

Peeling open my eyes, I felt groggy and tired from yet another night of terrible sleep. For over 40 years, I’d always put everyone else’s needs above my own. It was finally time to start making time for me. But as a shift working nurse and mum of three teenage boys, was it even possible?

Deep down I was spiralling and drinking too much to cope with the daily demands of life. A year on, I’ve completely shifted my mindset and turned my life around.

As a shift working nurse and mum, these are the seven ways I make time for self care. 

Watch: The horoscopes and self care. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Prioritising sleep.

As a shift worker, ensuring I get enough sleep sounds like a no brainer – but it really does make the world of difference to my mood, energy levels, and ability to stay focused both at work and home. Each week differs based on my shifts, but I always aim to get seven to eight hours of good quality sleep and wind down by reading in bed each night. Not only has prioritising sleep helped with my mood and energy, but it’s also had a positive impact on my immune system because I can’t remember the last time I got sick... touch wood! 

Ready-made meals.

As much as I’d love to be one of those 'meal prep mums' who are constantly uploading their nutritious bento boxes to Facebook, I’m all about making my life as easy as possible – especially when it comes to nutrition! Having struggled with my eating habits in the past and being a serial snacker, I decided it was much easier to utilise a ready-made meal service so I don’t have to stress about finding a healthy takeaway option at work. The 1:1 Diet meals and snacks have been a lifesaver for me as I can just grab them and head out the door.


Yoga with a friend.

I always feel better after I exercise, but it never used to be something I’d make time for. In addition to going on daily walks with my girlfriend, we’ve recently taken up yoga which I absolutely love. Although some of the positions can be tricky to get into sometimes, I find myself having to be fully present. The mindfulness reflection at the end also helps me find a sense of calm before going about my day. 

Hiring a cleaner.

I know that having a cleaner is a luxury not everyone can afford, but with three teenage boys and a husband to clean up after – a little bit of help goes a long way! Knowing I don’t have to do everything around the house all the time is a pretty great feeling. Getting my boys to share the chores around the house also helps, too.

Cutting back on alcohol.

Just a year ago, I was drinking alcohol regularly for what I thought was 'self care'. After going cold turkey for two months, I realised that *not* having alcohol actually made me feel better than when I would drink. I didn’t realise just how bad of an impact it was having on my sleep and that in itself was reason to cut back! Now, I limit my alcohol intake to just one night a week and when I do sit down with a nice glass of white wine, I can really enjoy it.


Making plans while the kids are at sport.

Most parents can relate to the amount of time you lose waiting around between dropping off and picking up your kids from their extra-curricular activities. As much as I want my sons to take part in weekend sport, the after school training sessions and travel to and from different locations every week definitely adds up. As a result, a few of the other mums and I decided to create a group chat so that when our kids are at rowing lessons or in music class, we can use that time to catch up over a walk or grab a coffee – things we wouldn’t otherwise make time for!

Listen to Fill My Cup. On this episode, Allira is joined by author and clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Ray. Beck joins us to shed light on why we people please, how to set better boundaries and reminds us why we need to look out for our own needs. Post continues below.

Organisation is key.

With so many activities to juggle while wanting to prioritise both my physical and mental health, the biggest self care habit I’ve mastered is simple time management and organisation. Knowing what events I have coming up, booking in walks with my girlfriend around my shifts and making sure I’ve got my 1:1 Diet meals on hand are just a few of the ways I stay organised so that when unexpected things come up (which they always do) – I’m able to adapt.

I’ve come to realise that I can’t always plan for everything in life, but by prioritising my own wellbeing I know I’ll be in a better mindset to tackle whatever life throws at me. And that’s exactly why I’ve adopted a 'no excuses' approach when it comes to self care.

Feature Image: Supplied.