It’s hard to argue with the obvious benefits of improved health! But lately, if your Pinterest feed looks anything like mine, self care is feeling like one more thing to add to our already jam-packed schedules.
Read a self-improvement book! Meditate! Try some off-trail hiking through the woods!
Who has time for all of this?! And will being attacked by a bear improve my physical health? Or is that a mental benefit?
I’m (a) practical, (b) strapped for time, and (c) hate adding another thing to my schedule unless it’s something that I absolutely love. So I created my own list of self care ideas, one that meets all of my practical, busy mama criteria.
Self Care For Mental Health
- Do anything that’s only about you, by yourself. One of my favorites is shopping for clothes, accessories, or heck, even home decor, sans my child. I don’t even have to buy anything! Just getting out allows me to focus on myself and my own wants and needs, if only for an hour or two. Plus it provides a rare opportunity to shop without distractions, which means a much-needed mental break from multitasking.
- Exercise your creative side. I don’t know about you, but motherhood often feels repetitive and predictable to me. Writing during my daughter’s naps allows me to think outside of the box and explore ideas that don’t otherwise crop up in the middle of reheating chicken nuggets. You may enjoy drawing, crafting, or flexing your creative muscles with an adult coloring book. The key is to only do what you sincerely enjoy. If you’re not into it, or not a creatively-inclined person, it will just feel like another task to check off your list.
Self Care For Physical Health
- Take five minutes for a short nightly skincare routine. This not only makes my skin feel amazing, but it helps me to mentally prioritize myself at the end of the day.
- Pamper yourself. If you have the extra time and funds, sneak away for a pedicure, massage, or facial (Hello, Groupon!), or try your own at-home version. You’d be surprised at how cheaply you can purchase at-home face, hand, and foot masks that will make you feel pampered.
- Move your body. Moving your body for just 10-15 minutes through stretching, walking, or simple body weight exercises, can provide both physical and mental benefits that last the rest of the day.
- Find a workout you enjoy. If you want to take it to the next level, find a 30-minute workout video that you can follow from the comfort of your own home. I feel unreasonably amazing and confident after completing a 30-minute upper body workout. Somehow, lifting those 5 lb weights makes me feel like Gal Gadot training on Paradise Island. Suddenly, I’m feeling healthier, more comfortable in social settings, and overly confident in my a**-kicking skills.
Self Care For Social Well-Being
- Enjoy a girls night…or few hours. My city offers a monthly “ladies night out” that includes boutique shopping and complimentary wine. And when the stars (and husbands’ work schedules) align, I love attending with my sister-in-law. It’s not just a break from our regular parenting duties. It’s an opportunity to connect with another adult to share and laugh about our experiences.
- Sneak away for a few days if/when it makes sense. I felt even more refreshed after enjoying a girls weekend with one of my best friends. No, we didn’t plan an elaborate weekend getaway (although that sounds amazing). I had simply already planned on traveling several hours to her baby shower, and so decided to make better use of my gas and travel time by staying for the entire weekend. We literally only ate and ran errands together and it was divine. There’s just something refreshing about connecting with our friends.
Finding Time For Self Care
So when are you supposed to schedule in all of this fabulous self care? I tend to utilize my daughter’s naps and bedtime.
Sure, a lot of days I use that time to pick up around the house or zone out in front of a screen for a few hours. But I feel infinitely more refreshed and energized when I’m able to use that time for self care. I’d rather clean while she’s awake to free up nap times for something I can look forward to.
I also prefer to wake up earlier than the rest of my family to enjoy my shower in silence, and without interruptions, which I personally feel is another stab at self care. By waking up earlier, I can start my day on my own terms, rather than on the terms of my two-year-old.
Wrap It Up
Self care shouldn’t feel like another box to check off your list. The goal is to refresh you, not stress you, so keep it practical and enjoyable. You can practice self care for your mental, physical, or social well-being, fitting it in around your family’s schedule. A rested and refreshed mama benefits everyone in the family, so find or make time for yourself today!
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