Putting your best self forward requires intentional choices (especially for busy moms), even if that means stepping outside your comfort zone and putting yourself first.

But you can feel healthy, look great, and live a joyful life, all while juggling a family and a career. The key? Designing a balanced life through purposeful choices that feed your body, mind, and soul.

The moment you become a mother and commit to caring for your child, set an intention for yourself: “I will honor and respect myself by regularly taking care of my needs. This will make me happier and better able to care for my family.”

As moms, we have an enormous opportunity to set a great example for our children of how to be kind to ourselves, and in turn, how to be kind to others. As the saying goes, we can’t pour from an empty cup.”

But where (and how) do you begin—especially if you’ve been at the bottom of (or completely missing from) your own “to-do” list for a while? “Put you back on the list,”

Start by penning in 10 minutes a day just for you. Be patient with yourself, keep your dreams alive, and treat yourself with the love and compassion that you show others.”

To help you kick off your self-care mindset, focus on these six simple self-care ideas and activities to make yourself a priority.

1. Get your body moving.

Whether you need to exercise more often or just want to shake up your regular routine, choose activities that motivate you to exercise consistently. Take an outdoor yoga class. Sign up for a race. Hire a personal trainer. Try your hand at Tai Chi. Buy a Pilates DVD to do at home. Add an element of fun, like having dance parties in the living room with your kids.

2. Feed your body well.

Good food fuels your body, so make sure you eat and drink high-quality ingredients. You need to nourish yourself with proper foods. It’s great for your kids to see you practicing self-care because you’re modeling healthy behavior. Some simple ideas to make healthy eating a habit? Go vegetarian once a week.  Cook from scratch more often. Drink water instead of soda. And take a few minutes to plan what you’re going to keep in your fridge each week so you can make quick, healthy, easy meals.

3. Get connected.

Don’t let your busy schedule squeeze out time for family and friends. If weekly date-nights aren’t going to happen (and really, #relationshipgoals, right?), then try to at least schedule some time to connect on a regular basis. Make the first Friday of each month date night, for example, or schedule a one-Saturday-morning-a-month coffee date with your friends.

4. Put your healthcare on the calendar.

You wouldn’t let your kids miss their check-ups  or immunisations right?—so don’t let your own health fall by the wayside! Schedule annual checkups, appropriate tests, mammograms, skin exams, pap smears, flu shots, and vision screenings. And get to the dentist for an annual exam and cleaning.

5. Make sleep a priority.

Chronic lack of sleep has adverse health consequences: people who consistently sleep less than six hours experience increased appetite, which causes weight gain and increases the risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Things to avoid close to bedtime? Stay away from food, alcohol, emotionally upsetting conversations, and stimulants (such as caffeine and nicotine). Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine and to “remember that the bedroom is for three S’s: sleep, sickness, and sex.” (Hey, remember that?!)

6. Stay connected to yourself.

As a mom, it’s easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day routines of family life: car pools, laundry, preparing meals, paying bills, cleaning, etc. Before you know it, 10 years have gone by and you’re a shell of your former self. The antidote? Pursue hobbies. Journal. Meditate. Stay abreast of industry trends if you left the workforce. As mums, we are evolving throughout our whole lives and staying connected to our inner-most passions is what keeps us fully alive and joyful.” So put yourself back on the priority list.

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