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Let’s be honest – moms usually put self-care on the back burner. We put ourselves last not only because of stress and time constraints, but also guilt. We feel guilty taking time for ourselves, or buying things for ourselves instead of our kids.
I’m here today to give you permission to treat yo’ self.
It takes time to combat the mindset of constant sacrifice to allow yourself to indulge in occasional luxuries. But the more you practice, the more this can be a part of your routine. I truly believe that you’ll be a better mom because of it.
After giving birth, finding that balance of caring for myself and the baby was incredibly hard, as it is for all women. As my depression got worse and I started seeing a therapist, I realized how much I needed to show myself love and appreciation.
I’m proud to say that, though the perfect balance is always elusive, I’m not as torn as I used to be. I’ve gotten better about taking off my mom hat on occasion to have “me” time, and my husband understands and supports me when I need to skip a load of laundry or order take-out.
This is a simple list.
I did not include major items like therapy, prayer, or medication, which are all necessary for my mental health. These items will not fight depression. But, these items could make your day a little brighter, helping you feel a little more human, even while bogged down under the weight of motherhood.
If this is a real emergency, please dial 911. If you think you’re struggling with depression, but you’re not sure how to where to get help, grab my free ebook, How to Talk to Your Doctor About Your Mental Health.
Here are 15 Super Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care:
I used to buy the cheapest shampoo I could find. Now I splurge on nicer, salon brand shampoos that not only improve my hair, but they smell like a spa. It’s a small way to make my morning shower more relaxing, which can help me get motivated for the day ahead. I personally like BIOLAGE.
HAIRCUT AND COLOR
Yup, another hair item! I know this is not the cheapest indulgence, and I try to stretch the time between cuts as long as possible, but keeping my hair manageable makes a huge difference to me. My hair looks best when it’s short, and the longer it gets, the more time it takes to style.
Freshly cut hair reduces the time I spend getting ready every day. Color or highlights can be a great way to feel more beautiful and confident, though you’ll need to consider if you can keep them maintained. My hair texture changes when colored, and it has more body, cutting down on my styling time.
I enjoy using essential oils to aid in happiness and relaxation. I recommend them to anyone over the age of 2, though they should always be used safely.
If you’re interested in learning more about oils from someone who doesn’t sell them, stay tuned for a future blog post where I’ll cover my experiences with using oils. If you want to try out some high quality, affordable oils, the brand that I trust in my home is Rocky Mountain Oils.
ENJOY A PODCAST
When I’m doing dishes or folding laundry, I need to watch or listen to something. Podcasts are awesome because there is so much variety and I can listen on my phone. Sometimes I listen to fiction or parenting podcasts, but I’m currently really digging podcasts that improve my writing and business skills. Awesome blogger Holly Peck has a great list of podcasts for bloggers and entrepreneurs that’s introduced me to some of my personal favorites.
I also listen to a podcast every night to help me fall asleep. The Sleep with Me podcast is my favorite, but I also listen to guided meditations on nights when I’m struggling to calm my brain.
We all know that reading can be a great way to relax, but we often under-prioritize it. I’ve returned more than a few library books unread. Rather than playing on my phone right before I go to bed, I try to read or at least listen to a chapter of a book each night. It’s a great way to mentally wind down after the day.
And if the thought of trying to read an entire book stresses you out, start with some funny and honest stories from 15 Mom Bloggers Who Are Keepin’ It Real.
I’m personally a HUGE fan of Kindle Unlimited. For just a few bucks a month, you get access to a giant library with no late fees. I love it for the free audiobooks – I listen with my Bluetooth headphones while I do laundry or wash dishes. #momhack
SLEEP IN A COMFY BED
Your bed should be comfortable! When you get in bed at night, you should let out a sigh of relief and snuggle into your favorite sheets with a smile. I have some shoulder problems and getting a memory foam mattress topper completely changed my sleep.
Make sure you’re using pillows with enough support; if you can’t remember the last time you replaced your pillow, it’s been too long.
GET A MASSAGE
I’m embarrassed that it took me 25 years to get a massage. The idea of a stranger touching me freaked me out, and I often balked at the cost.
I received a gift certificate after my baby was born (take note: this is a great gift for new moms, and it’s even better if you watch the baby for them when they’re out getting the massage!), so I made an appointment and went, just happy to be out of the house alone for an hour.
Y’all, that massage was kind of life-changing. That was the most relaxed I’d ever felt. Since that massage, I’ve daydreamed about the next time I can go! If this isn’t something you can afford regularly, consider going even once every 3 or 4 months.
GO TO THE CHIROPRACTOR
As I mentioned, I have some shoulder problems, so originally I sought out a chiropractor to aid with that. Over time, I’ve been amazed at how much better getting adjusted helps me feel overall.
Now when I don’t go for long periods of time, I can definitely tell a difference, especially in the tension that I carry in my neck and shoulders.
I also saw my chiropractor throughout my entire pregnancy, and though I had my fair share of awful pregnancy issues, I never experienced many common pain issues such as backaches or muscle problems, and I didn’t suffer from pain-related sleep issues.
Have I mentioned I’m a cheap-skate? I do not like buying makeup. It always feels indulgent and unnecessary. But after years of buying cheap makeup that didn’t last long, and trying a variety of products to find what worked best for me, I finally have a makeup bag full of items I love. I worked hard to find a balance of affordable and durable items so that I don’t have to buy makeup but a few times a year.
Putting on makeup, even if only a few times a week, will allow you to quickly feel more put together and confident. You deserve to feel beautiful, and if makeup helps you with that, that’s okay!
Give yourself permission to replace your old, clumpy mascara with something new. And if you struggle with knowing what brands you like, or you want to try something new, check out subscription boxes like Ipsy or Birchbox. For $10 a month you’ll receive a box of beauty products that will help you find new favorites!
Trader Joe’s always has gorgeous and cheap bouquets of flowers, so every time I’m there I grab one for my kitchen table. Fresh, beautiful flowers always add a bit of sunshine to my day, and even though they may only last a week, it’s one of my favorite splurges to combat the winter blues. And it’s better for me than chocolate.
I’m terrible at multitasking, and I often find myself doing many tasks at once, but not giving any of the tasks enough attention. Watching a movie, cooking dinner, and trying to budget at the same time not only produces sub-par work, but I often feel mentally exhausted. I try to notice this, take breaks, and give myself to one thing at a time.
Coloring is so relaxing and simple and can be done anywhere. And even if you can’t give yourself 100% to just coloring, it’s still a relaxing activity to do while watching a movie or listening to podcasts. You can find tons of coloring books on Amazon, and these colored pencils are great.
PRACTICE INTENTIONAL MINDFULNESS
Not sure what that means? No worries – there’s a post that explains it! Intentional mindfulness helps you focus on living in the moment, and it’s a great self-care tool when you’re overwhelmed or stressed. If you already know what it is, but you’re not sure how to use it in daily life, check out How to Use Your 5 Senses to Practice Intentional Mindfulness.
USE YOUR HANDS
I love to create. There are so many ways to use your hands and engage your senses in activities you love. You could scrapbook, embroider a pillow, crochet, do a puzzle, plant a garden, try pottery, paint, organize the pantry, or build a birdhouse!
There’s something powerful about the human ability to use our skills and see results. And thanks to YouTube, you can learn a new skill this afternoon.
FEEL THE EARTH
I struggle with this, especially when I’m depressed and don’t feel like leaving my home. But as often as possible I try to go outside and stand barefoot in the grass.
Much like intentional mindfulness, it’s important to actively engage with the earth and reconnect to nature, especially as humans spend more and more time indoors on hard flooring and surrounded by technology. You can read more about the theory of earthing/grounding on Wellness Mama.
I’m not sure if I buy into the idea or not, but it’s worth considering. And at the very least, standing outside for a few minutes a day can’t hurt.
I’ve been journaling for 20 years, and it never ceases to amaze me all the ways it can impact my life. If I have a problem that I can’t find a solution for, I journal. When I keep thinking about something from my past and I wonder why I can’t let it go, I journal. When I need to forgive someone or move on from a toxic relationship, I journal. There’s nowhere else that you can be quite so real and vulnerable.
If you’re not journaling yet, I’d encourage you to start small with a bullet journal (read why I’m obsessed with my Rocketbook) or a line a day journal. There are also tons of great apps you can download that will even remind you daily to journal digitally.
And if you’re a snarky mama who wants to journal, check out my review of the mom journal, I Brushed My Hair Today: A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms.
That’s my list! This is in no way comprehensive; these are just some of the things I can practice some quick self-care. Sometimes one or a few of these items can be enough to fight a bad day.
How do you practice self-care? Tell me below!
Girl I love these ideas and they really are just simple, almost no-brainer things! Fresh flowers was one I hadn’t thought of!
Ashley McKeown says
Thank you! Sometimes I think we get so caught up in finding big solutions and we miss out on simple answers. And bringing some fresh flowers into your home, especially in the winter, can really remind you that life can be beautiful and vibrant.
Rachael Erway says
Great list! For me, using pheromone-based bath and beauty products really lifts my mood and helps me feel confident. I am definitely going to grab some fresh flowers the next time I’m at the store
Ashley McKeown says
Ah, that’s an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing. ❤️