Self-care is critical to our well being. I think it’s especially important to moms who spend majority of their days taking care of others and often put themselves last on the list. I am a working mom of two young kids, ages 6 and 2. And I have always struggled with dedicating time to self-care thinking that it always requires significant amount of time, money or both.
But over the past couple of years, I have learned that I was overthinking the whole concept. The idea is that you set away some time just for yourself. Whether you have 1 hour or just 10 minutes – there are ways to relax and de-strees. Here are my favorite seven simple and free, or very inexpensive, self-care ideas that are working for me.
1. Read a book
I love to read and I look for small pockets of time throughout the day where I can do so. One of those the times when I always read (even if it’s just for a couple of minutes) is when I finally lay in bed at the end of the day. I have been doing that ever since I can remember. Honestly, I have a really hard time falling asleep if I don’t read. I also like to read a couple of pages when I eat my breakfast.
What kinds of books to I read? I have always been a huge fan of mysteries, so I’m always reading from that genre. The other types of books that I’m gravitating towards are personal development and self-help – topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship, organization, and motivation.
I’m a true believer that reading is therapeutic for your mind. So pick any genre you like and transform your mind into a different world for a few minutes each day.
2. Wake up early
I have started waking up early a few months ago to have some time to myself before my kids get up. I have found that it helps me start the day with a much more positive attitude if I had a few minutes to myself. I use that time mainly to workout out. My daughter is an early riser so workout is usually the only thing that I can do before she is up for the day. But there are some days when she decides to sleep 20 minutes longer and I used that time to eat breakfast, drink a cup of coffee, and read a book.
There is just something almost magical about starting the day with doing something for yourself. So even if you only have 10 to 15 minutes, I highly recommend it. You can use that time any way you want – just make sure it is your time.
3. Take a bath
I have made it a tradition to do take my baths on Sunday nights. It’s my relaxing way to end a weekend and re-charge for the week ahead. I started using Dr Teal’s Foaming Bath (Epsom Salt), Eucalyptus Spearmint in my baths as a way to help my muscles recover after a week of workouts – and it has been doing a wonderful job. But I also found it extremely soothing and relaxing for my mind.
And depending on what I’m in the mood for, I either grab a book, a glass of wine, snack or a phone to watch a show.
3. Store run
With two young kids I make sure that shopping is as efficient as possible. I have my method figured out and it works great (another blog will be coming on this topic). But sometimes I’m craving this stress free browsing through Target. To really take my time to look at the different options of coffee mugs without fear of little hands grabbing something off the shelf and destroying. it. Or go to TJ Maxx and take more than 30 seconds to try on some jeans to see if the actually fit me well. So I’m not talking about a shopping spree (although those are super fun) but simply getting things that you already have on your list to buy but choosing to go to the store by yourself.
So sometimes I will take solo shopping trips as a way to relax and enjoy some time with myself while my husband enjoys some quality time with the kids.
5. Go for a walk
Getting some fresh air always helps to clear my mind. And this is so easy to do. It’s best if you can do it by yourself or maybe with your dogs, so you can fully relax, but I have also done it a lot of times with my son when he was born. This was my way of fighting the baby blues that hit me hard with my first-born. I found it relaxing to get out of the house and change the scenery.
6. Pamper yourself
Whether it’s a manicure, pedicure, or putting a facial mask at the end of the day – find little ways to pamper yourself. There is just something about a fresh pedicure that makes me feel better 🙂 It definitely most relaxing to go get your nails done professionally. But you can easily pamper yourself at home. That is what I do about 99% of the time. It is a great way to pamper yourself on a budget and with the flexibility to do it whenever you want.
If you have a hobby, you should try fining a way to incorporate it into your busy schedule. It does not have to be hours per day or something you do every day. But finding some time to do it every once in a while will make you feel better. For me, I love to scrapbook. It is a time consuming hobby – just taking all the supplies out takes me a while. So I don’t do it often, but every once in a while I will make a page or two.
Another thing that I like to do is puzzles. I probably do one or two during winter time when the evenings are long . So again, not something I do consistently, but it really feeds my soul to be able to occasionally do the things I really enjoy.
That is it! Hope you find this helpful and start thinking about ways you can incorporate those ideas into your lives.