It has almost always been true that the person who cares for everyone, the person we can all rely on, is mom.

This past year, with COVID-19, mothers have, in many cases, taken on the roles of teacher, employee and even nurse at times, as families endured isolation forced by the pandemic.

Mothers take care of everyone — except themselves. So, as Mother’s Day approaches, two health-care professionals offer some simple steps for mothers to make the pressures of everyday life a little easier.

Pause, breathe, love and be kind. Dr. Nancy Blatt, a primary-care physician at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, said those are principles to live by.

“I have coined a term for this stress mothers are under,” said Blatt. “I call it working momma syndrome, and that means so much more than 9 to 5. It means constantly. We women wear a lot of hats. We are mom, spouse, parent, sibling, worker and boss. What we need to do is invest in ourselves. A lot of people are relying on us, and we will have more to give when we are present ourselves.”

“Most moms are stretched to the highest degree,” said Dr. Bridget Marvinsmith, a family physician with Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “They are stretched so thin, especially with the pandemic. There is so much stress on the family, and mom is often the caretaker for everything.”

Marvinsmith said going back to basics is the best place to start.

“Eat good, healthy, real food — not junk,” she said. “Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Exercise, even if that means dancing in the living room with the kids. Do what is fun and helps you feel good.”

When patients tell Blatt they have no time for self care, she tells them to start small.

Blatt said she suggests to her patients that they find time first thing in the morning, before anyone begins making demands of them to do something just for them, something peaceful that they love.

“That mind-body connection is so important,” said Blatt. “Start by listening to a favorite song before you get out of bed. Invest before your day begins. Gradually increase what you do to 10 to 15 minutes before starting the day. The fuller your bucket is when you begin your day, the easier it will be to keep a good attitude and reduce stress for the remainder of the day, for the heavy demands you are put under each day. You will be more clear, more aware and more able to move through your daily agenda.”

A simple mindset change can make all the difference.

“There is a lot of stress in the world,” said Blatt. “I am a big fan of movement, but I am saying do something for your physical and mental well-being. It might be music; it might be getting out in nature. Choose something that resonates with you and create your own early morning routine. It will become a beloved part of your day, and it will be so good for you, making the rest of the day a little easier. I predict it will become your favorite part of the day.”

In trying times, sleep is the first thing to be affected, but Marvinsmith said it is one of the best ways to nurture yourself, to reset.

“Don’t try to do everything all at once,” said Marvinsmith. “When you reach a goal, give yourself credit and move forward. We want moms to give themselves credit for all they are doing, but we also want them to remember to take care of themselves. By doing so, they are better able to do all that they expect of themselves.”

Self care is often lost to mothers as they tell themselves there is no time.

Make the time, said Marvinsmith.

“Go for a 10-minute walk at sunset,” she said. “Sticking to a healthy diet is important, but go to your favorite bakery once in a while. Remember that you are allowed to rest. Read a chapter in a book. Go do something with friends. Think in terms of small, reasonably achievable steps.”

No time for a yoga class? Marvinsmith said sit quietly in your room and meditate and reflect on the day ahead.

“Do it for you,” she said.