Self care. It’s something that gets thrown around a lot these days. Especially towards moms. Traditionally moms have been expected to prioritize everyone else first, while multitasking seamlessly everything that is on their plates. We know that is not a sustainable or healthy way to live, but it’s hard sometimes to break that mold. And in these uncertain times, self care is even more important. I don’t know about you, but we have serious quarantine fatigue over here. It’s been 8 weeks and the monotony of having everything in our lives happen in one place is beyond exhausting. So it’s a good time to review some simple self care activities for moms and make sure we are fitting those in to our routines.
These are important junctures, for me at least. Because if I am being worn down to my last thread or ounce of energy- nobody in my house is going to benefit from that. Instead of focusing on how difficult and scary this phase of life is, we could also use it as a time to pause and think about how we better take care of ourselves. It’s most important now. Especially in the most stressful moments when it seems we have even less time. When you think about everything you have to do, maybe something has to go to fit in yourself.
Unfortunately, we get pushed down to the bottom of the priorities. School has to happen, work has to get done, the house needs to be clean for us to live here, we need clean clothes to wear, everyone needs to eat 3+ times a day. And the list goes on. But there has to be a way to find time for ourselves. Even if it’s 5-20 minutes a day, and fitting in longer stretches 3 times a week.
I wanted to create a resource of real ideas that work for people. So I asked my friends and moms on social media for their favorite self care activities to compile this list. There were some common themes and also very individualized ways people make time for themselves.
Self care does not have to take up a lot of time, nor cost a lot of money (even though a spa day would be amazing). Taking care of ourselves daily is found in simple moments that refuel us. Fill your cup so you can continue being the badass mom you are.
I’m planning on sustaining what I have started and picking 2-3 more activities to integrate into my life. You don’t have to do it all at once! Take baby steps and incorporate as you can.
The majority of the moms and women I spoke to mentioned exercise, so it has to be mentioned first. Rightfully so, as movement gives your body bursts of serotonin. If you’re groaning right now. Don’t! It can be as simple or as involved as you want- just moving your body more. Many mentioned their favorites- walking, taking bike rides, and virtual classes like dance, weight lifting, yoga and HIIT.
This is one activity that I have been able to maintain during our quarantine days for at least 2-3 times a week. And it has helped tremendously in my mood and patience for homeschooling. 🙂 My FAVORITE way to exercise has always been dance classes.10 years ago (!!!), I specifically searched for a place in Chicago that offered dance fitness and strength training classes. I have been going to Mazi Dance Fitness ever since. So crazy, because it feels like a different life-I hadn’t even met my husband yet!
When the shelter in place went into effect, they launched their Mazi On Demand. Thank goodness! Because it’s my happy place and I needed that outlet. But the best thing is that anyone can try it out now, not just those that live in Chicago. I have a code for any of my readers that want to give it a try. It is also run by two amazing sisters that are also moms, so they get it.
There is a 14 day free trial, and you can use the promo code “URBANMOM” to get 25% off the monthly membership ($14.99/month) when that is done. Or use the code “URBANMOMYEAR” to get 25% of the yearly membership of $99/year. Whichever you choose- you’d get 25% off of as a one-time discount. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think about it. It’s exciting to be able to “dance” with more women, even if it’s virtually.
This is one I’m adding for myself. I’m so tired when my kids go to sleep, but then I get a second wind with all the alone time and stay up too late. Sometimes I’m productive, other times I scroll mindlessly on the gram. No bueno. When you repeat this pattern too many times, it does not end well. From my personal experience. So this is on my list, go to bed earlier. Simple.
Learn a New Skill or Practice an Old Hobby.
Learning something new sparks a different side of us that unfortunately lays dormant most of the time. If you are not sure what to do, think of things you did as a child that made you happy. That is one of the reasons I looked up dance fitness as an adult, because it was something I did all the time with my sisters. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start knitting, gardening, or calligraphy. It could be anything!
I’m not great at this one either. And I’m not planning on going full makeup or real clothes, while I’m stuck at home. But it is one that I am focusing on. When I make a little more effort in the mornings, I feel better. Usually it’s taking 5 minutes to do a face mask, or putting on my nicer leggings (ha!). (Real pants are overrated when you are simultaneously working from home and taking care of three kids.) That is what works for me, if putting on a dress makes you happy- please do it!
Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Exfoliate, deep condition, put on a relaxing face mask or take a bubble bath. You don’t have to fit in a full spa day to get a little therapeutic tlc. Light some aromatherapy candles and put on relaxing music. All those things together will make you feel like you are in a real spa.
Get some Fresh Air.
Take a walk or just read a book outside. Play with your kids or just sit on a blanket while your kids play. There are tons of proven benefits of Vitamin D and being outside.
Connect with Friends.
If you’re like me and you can get lost in your daily grind, this is an important one. Especially now when we can’t physically see our people, staying connected is even more important. Schedule some zoom or facetime calls to make sure you have time to connect with loved ones. Having zoom calls with friends and other moms has filled my cup many times. Even if I feel exhausted when I am getting on.
Organize and Make To Do Lists.
This can be self care! Especially if being organized brings you peace. Just make sure you write down some activities for yourself when you are getting your life organized. Actually integrating these into your daily schedule will make them more likely to become good habits. If organizing brings you peace, organizing projects around your home will probably bring you lots of joy.
Sometimes if I am especially stressed and I have a full day ahead of me still, I just sit down and think. Sometimes I jot them down. Just being grateful and listing what you love. It’s not easy to get off the stress train, when you are on it. An easy self care activity happens with a mindset shift. Think of all the things you are grateful for, you can jot them in a journal or onto a post it note to hang up in your home. Our thoughts are a powerful thing.
Take Out Activities.
It’s not always about adding something new, but eliminating something that makes you feel worse. If you find yourself spending time on things that aren’t necessary to your life or bring you sadness- it may be one of your best self care activities to eliminate it from your life. For some people, this is browsing social media- either late at night or for long stretches of time.
Solo or with your significant other! Sometimes a silly movie on my own is what I need and other nights a chance to connect with my partner without our children helps us refuel from our long days.
Do Something you Love.
Read a good book. Get lost in a long puzzle. Make a tiktok dance challenge video. Go on a hike. Watch a new show. Eat poptarts alone in your room (one of my friends shared this with me on Instagram and I cracked up. I like the idea of having my own favorite snack stash that won’t be devoured in one day by my kids!)
I love reading and have recently tried Kindle Unlimited. (aff) I was skeptical at first if I would find anything I like but I have been pleasantly surprised. My favorite feature is the majority of the time you get the audio and e-book to easily switch back and forth. I like to listen when I am doing household jobs, but I rather read when I am in bed or taking some time for myself.
Listen to Something Inspiring.
I love a good playlist or audio book when I’m doing dishes or folding laundry. Many people also love podcasts. I’ve added a few recommendations to my podcast collection. Saving a story or song you love can add something special to otherwise mundane household tasks. Or just as a background to relaxing on a rainy Sunday.
Fresh Flowers or Plants.
If keeping plants alive brings you stress, this may not be a good self care tip for you. 🙂 I love adding touches to a space that add life and freshness and nothing does that like a plant or nice flowers. It is still something I am learning about, but there are many plants out there that are easy to take care of. Definitely start with those if this is a new venture for you. Candles or aromatherapy diffusers can also brighten up a space, or make it more relaxing.
Why are moms always having to do stuff?? I wrote a Don’t Do List recently, because I was kind of over this supermom culture where we are expected to do it all. Maybe your best self care is to do nothing. But not with your phone. Just sit and chill. Maybe take a nap, you deserve it.
If you have any more self care ideas that have worked for you or other thoughts you want to share- feel free to add them in the comments!