By Tavia D. Smith
‘Hot Girl Summer,’ is a high-energy, syncopated summer anthem that has led to more than a few fun social media hashtags, including #HotMamaSummer.
Search this catchphrase on Instagram or just Google it and you will see a diverse group of women confidently living their best lives. Women from all walks of life, in all phases of life, and trekking through various journeys are all showing they are strong, resilient, passionate hot mamas!
Hot mamas are unapologetically comfortable with their bodies, whether they wear a size 0 or a size 24. They may be rocking a cute outfit or boldly showing off their bikini/fatkinis on that long-awaited beach vacay.
Yessss! to the body positivity, self-love and confidence. Yesss! to the smiles, smizes, and downright courage to feel and look good out loud.
It’s so many positive vibes, and I’m here for it!
Seeing all the glow, made me evaluate how I’m spending my summer. It was a true moment of reflection and I realized I need more consistent self-care. Being a professional, who also juggles chronic illness, being a wife, mom, and foster mom, is an extremely busy life. I realized to care for all these people I love, I need to take better care of myself.
My life has been a rollercoaster of events since 2020 and it’s not slowing down. From family deaths to illness and more, my knuckles are white from hanging on tight and my seat belt may not be fastened.
You truly can’t pour from an empty cup.
After hitting somewhat of a rock bottom after my aunt died of ovarian cancer just a couple of months after my grandmother died, I found myself just stuck in a bad space. I was stressed at work from a toxic environment and everything was just spiraling.
I decided to “run away” to clear my head and reset. It wasn’t easy and the mom guilt was strong, but I knew it was needed.
I took a short beach vacation after I was vaccinated. During that trip, I relaxed. I journaled and did some deep thinking, praying, and reflecting. I was with my inner circle of besties. These are ladies I’ve been friends with for decades so we were able to laugh and enjoy talking. With Covid-19 restrictions, it was a low-key trip, but I enjoyed it.
Tavia and her friends Tan, April, and Larrysha on a girls’ trip.
Morning coffee and journaling while staring at the ocean was a daily self-care activity.
When I got back, I began to really process my life and pay more attention to being intentionally well.
Let’s keep it real. A lot of us are operating with little to no self-care and are loaded down with stress.
We are really pushing ourselves to the max, and we have to realize that’s a really unbalanced and unhealthy way of living. It leads to burnout and emotional distress.
It is time to TAKE the time to TAKE care of yourself.
I’m saying bluntly that along with the amazing photos of you smiling to really look beneath the aesthetics self-reflect. Take a look at your mental and spiritual health, as well as your overall wellbeing.
Plan out self-care.
I know you may have some Kanye-like indignance and yell, ‘HOW SWAY?!” Where am I going to find time to go get a massage or stroll through the park as if I don’t have 14 projects due?
My answer to you is TAKE the time. Yes, TAKE the time. Don’t second guess it. TAKE it. Don’t ask for permission or overthink it. Just take the time for self-care. Put self-care as a priority in your planner right alongside those 14 projects.
A little self-care will boost your mood, contribute to your overall health, and help you to have a Hot Mama Summer where you don’t only look beautiful in the pictures, but feeling amazing emotionally.
I’m not ignoring that time is scarce for the busy working woman, so Hot Mama’s here’s s list of self-care activities, that I’ve done, and that you can do in just an hour or less.
Sometimes, we think self-care has to be this monumental activity like a day at the spa, but it can also be small meaningful activities that refresh you and allow you to rest and recharge.
Hot Mama Guide to Self-Care
- Do nothing. I know this sounds weird, but for real, take 5 minutes to sit in absolute silence and do nothing. No phone. No TV. No kids. No talking. Just sit quietly. If you work from home with kids, plan it (and no judgment if you need to pop them on the tablet so you can get a 5-minute break). If you are at work, go sit in your car during lunch or sit on a park bench. Just five minutes to quietly reflect and be by yourself intentionally can be a little boost especially when you are stressing. I learned this trick from a therapist several years ago.
- Get a manicure or pedicure. Yes, that requires you to sit still and relax. Having pretty hands and feet can make you feel amazing and is a great outlet for self-care. Also, Hot Mama Summer definitely includes pretty toes and feet. I often have to sneak away from my toddler to do this, but it’s worth it, mom guilt and all.
- Journal and let the catharsis happen. Did you know that emotions aren’t good or bad? They are just information and sometimes that information is telling you that you are being triggered and need to process some things. Journaling is a great way to get all that unprocessed information out of your brain. (I’ve been listening in therapy! Can’t you tell? lol!) Take 15 minutes before bed or when you have a solid 15 minutes and let the emotions out. Stop stuffing them down! Feel don’t conceal, Sister Elsa!
- Speak to a therapist. There is nothing taboo about taking care of your mental health. Mental health is health and if you aren’t feeling well, you’d see a doctor. This is the same concept. Find a therapist that is a good match for you and take an hour to go speak to a therapist once a week. Don’t overthink it. Just do it. You won’t regret it.
- Listen to your favorite summer jams. Remember back in the day when making a Summer Mix CD with all the hot jams was a must? You still can but instead, download your summer anthems and blast it on the way to work, while you clean, when you are running or walking, during errands, and dance like no one is watching, if you are so moved.
- Luxurious showers. I know most self-care lists say take a relaxing bubble bath. The busy woman rolls their eyes at this advice. When, right? So take a luxurious shower. Buy your favorite body wash and shampoo and conditioner. Treat yourself to a nice soft wash towel or body puff. Buy that in-shower lotion and your favorite razor and shaving cream. Put that facial mask on before you jump in the shower. Heck, get you one of those shower speakers and play some relaxing music. Treat yourself to all the things that help you cherish that relaxing shower to begin or end your day. 20 minutes of self-care AND you will smell amazing. Boom!
- Talk to your friend(s) and family. Nothing beats talking to your inner circle and laughing, sharing, and catching up. I know we may not think we have time, but again, take the time. We are not asking for permission to take care of ourselves. Take the time to contact your friends and have a phone conversation, meet for coffee or drinks or even Zoom if that’s easier. Texting or video messaging is another quick way to catch up. In our family, we set up a monthly Zoom meeting with extended family from all over to catch up and so they can see the kids. Having meaningful connections is important and beneficial to make you feel cared for and loved.
- Take a day off. Yes. Don’t work for a day: Sleep in. Get a babysitter. Get up and exercise. Binge watch your favorite Netflix series, have a fancy dinner, go on a family field trip. Do absolutely nothing. Finish a DIY project. Whatever you need to feel fulfilled, do it. Take the day off unapologetically and enjoy it.
- Reinvigorate your workspace. If you have to work, why not do it in a space you enjoy and gives you peace. Add plants, a candle, a fuzzy rug, inspiring art, quirky bobbleheads, new supplies, heck, a whole office remodel, whatever you need to turn your workspace into a haven, do it. You’ll enjoy work a little more when you are in a space to create and accomplish great things.(Turns on my essential oil diffuser)
- Clean Your House. I know it’s work, but a clean home promotes a clean mind. Organizing your surroundings can help you organize other aspects of your life. Also, clean your mental house. So do a little of all the above. Take the day off. Turn on your summer jams, clean your house and then take a luxurious shower, binge some Netflix, and journal before getting a good night’s sleep.
- 11. Get some sleep. I struggle with this one for several reasons, but when I go to bed and strive to get 8 hours of sleep, I have a more productive day. Yes, there are things to do, but think about it this way, stay up and do those things and be dog tired the next day OR get some rest and have the energy to do those things well the next day. Practice good sleep hygiene nightly.