Looking for some things to do for yourself? It can be hard to find realistic ways practice self care as a mom. Which is why I wanted to compile this list of simple self care ideas for moms.
Look, most moms do not have a lot of time on their hands to care for themselves. And when they do have time, they often are too tired, or get sucked into scrolling mindlessly through social media. #guilty
Most of us understand the importance of self care. However, it can be really hard to actually put it into practice once we have kids. After all, those little people we’re responsible for require a lot of time and attention.
If you’re struggling to find time for self care, or just to find ways to care for yourself as a new mom, you’re in the right place. This week, try to implement just a few of these realistic self care ideas for moms.
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Self Care For New Moms
I think part of the reason we moms struggle so much with self care is because our sense of duty to our family.
I know it took me a long while to figure out the balance between self care and sacrificing my time and energy for my family.
We tend to be very committed to our families (a good thing), and often feel guilty anytime we say no to something in order to say yes to self care (a bad thing).
Girl, you don’t need to feel guilty about setting time aside for self care. Despite what our inner mom guilt would have us believe, self care is not selfish. It’s necessary.
There is nothing selfish about taking the time to refill your cup. After all, if your cup is not full, than you won’t have anything to pour out into your family.
Stop thinking about all the reasons you shouldn’t do something for yourself, and start thinking of all the reasons you should.
Does motherhood require you to give of yourself? Yes. Will it stretch you in ways you never knew possible? Absolutely.
But that does not mean you should destroy yourself by refusing to care for your own body and soul.
Intentional Self Care
Most of the time, our failure to practice self care comes down to a lack of time. Or, when we do have the time, we end up so exhausted that we just scroll mindlessly on our phones.
It’s time we stop letting the chips fall where they may. We need to stop letting self care just “happen” upon us, and start creating opportunities to practice it.
It’s time we start being intentional about self care.
One of the things I’ve found that has really helped me is to look at self care differently. While we like to ignore this fact, the reality is that self care is going to look different once you become a mom.
It’s not going to be all spa days and expensive shopping trips and hanging out with our friends all day. Some days may look like that, but for the most part our sense of self care will need to adjust to fit our new role.
When I started intentionally looking for ways to incorporate self care into my day, I realized there were more opportunities than I had thought. I just wasn’t giving those moments the credit they deserved.
And I think that’s the case for a lot of us. A lot of us simply don’t recognize the small, daily moments that we are able to do things for ourselves. And because we don’t recognize it, we miss out on those opportunities to breathe life into ourselves.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying there’s a whole lot of daily opportunities for us to fill ourselves with life, if only we’ll look for them.
Self Care Ideas For The Newborn Stage
Ah, the newborn stage. For sure, this stage of motherhood is one of the hardest to find the time and energy for self care.
Often, new moms just need some ideas for what self care can look like at this time.
Don’t feel like every self care act has to be huge. Sometimes (a lot of times), the ways we practice self care are more simple.
Drink lots of water
One of the best things you can do for yourself in the newborn stage is to drink a lot of water. Especially if you are breastfeeding!
There were definitely times I felt like I was drowning a bit from all the water I was drinking. However, it also helped me feel way better—and I could tell when I hadn’t had enough to drink.
Make time to eat
As a new mom, I was a bit surprised at how hard it was at times to find the time to just eat. It seemed I was always nursing my baby, or trying to catch a nap while I could.
However, eating sufficiently plays a bit role in your postpartum recovery. Your body needs sufficient nutritious food in order to heal your body. And if you’re breastfeeding, it needs nutrients to produce breast milk as well.
Get sleep and rest
I know, this is easier said than done. Especially if you have a baby that is not a fan of sleeping.
Just do the best that you can. Try to get as much rest in as you can, even if you aren’t able to fall asleep. Ask for help. Try coming up with a system with your spouse so that you are able to get some more sleep.
If you’re struggling with this because your baby won’t sleep, I highly recommend taking a newborn sleep course. Once you understand how newborns sleep, and can address their needs accordingly, everything gets way simpler.
Let someone else hold the baby
Okay, I know this isn’t on most people’s top list of self care ideas for moms. And it may not even be self care for you—or, it might be just what you need.
A lot of new moms feel like they should be holding their baby constantly. And that feeling is only aggravated by some well meaning but generally unhelpful advice to “love/savor every minute of it!”
I’m not saying to not enjoy your baby. I’m saying it’s okay to put them down sometimes, or to let someone else hold them. It’s okay to take a break in order to attend to your own needs.
Take a quick shower
I won’t fill you with false hope by saying to take a long, luxurious shower. Unfortunately, most us don’t have that kind of time or energy in the newborn stage.
However, I do highly recommend squeezing in a quick shower. Even if it’s just five minutes, showers have the magical ability to make us feel like a new person.
And if you’re still healing from your labor and delivery, water has wonderful healing properties. Taking a regular shower, even a quick one, can help you feel better and heal better.
Help yourself heal
Whether it’s putting together and using a postpartum care kit, getting more sleep, or going to counseling, anything you can do to help yourself heal is self care. And that includes your mental health!
Most of us are aware of the obvious need to help our bodies heal. But many moms also face postpartum depression and anxiety as well. Unfortunately, mental health is one area that is often neglected when it comes to healing.
How you need to heal may look different than someone else. Take the time to recognize what needs to heal, and then actively look for ways to help yourself do so.
Self Care Ideas For Survival Mode
The newborn stage and survival mode often exist at the same time. However, it’s good to be aware that survival mode can also show up at any point in motherhood.
Survival mode is when you’re doing just that—surviving.
Whatever the reason, survival mode can make self care seem like a far off dream. However, I think there are at least a few ideas that moms can do to practice self care even in survival mode.
Fuel and hydrate your body
Just like the newborn stage, survival mode can throw you for a huge loop when it comes to fueling your body. Make a special effort to adequately feed yourself, and on a regular basis.
Don’t forget that drinking sufficient water and staying hydrated is crucial part of this!
Take five minutes to sit in a quiet room by yourself
In survival mode, it’s easy to get frustrated quickly. Take just five minutes and sit by yourself in a quiet room.
I know it may seem impossible at times, but do what you can to make it work. Have someone else hold the baby, or set him down in a bouncer. Or ask someone else to hold him.
Go into a room by yourself and shut the door. Take these five minutes to calm your mind and body. Focus on relaxing the tension from your body. Breathe deeply.
Of all the self care ideas on this list, this may be one of the easiest for moms in all stages of motherhood. And it will make a huge difference!
Keep meals simple
For many moms, one of the most overwhelming parts of survival mode is making meals. Many moms struggle to meal plan in the first place, and in survival mode, it can feel impossible.
If you find yourself in survival mode, cut yourself some slack. Keep meals simple and easy to make and clean up. It’s okay to not be June Beaver during this phase.
And that’s the key—it’s a phase. It will pass. It’s okay to do what you need to do to get through it.
Brush your teeth and comb your hair
Look, when you’re living in survival mode, just about anything counts as self care. Small as it may be, try to keep up with your personal hygiene.
Even this small effort will make you feel better. So every day, find a few minutes to brush your teeth and comb through your hair.
Get dressed every day
If you’re a stay-at-home mom or currently work at home, it’s super easy to get lazy and stay in pajamas all day. However, making a point to get dressed every day is a small act of self care that can have a big impact on your day.
Even if it’s just a clean pair of leggings and t-shirt, putting on fresh clothes can help you feel much better. I’m willing to bet you’ll also feel more motivated to get things done as well.
Self Care For Moms
Regardless of whether you’re in the newborn stage, survival mode, or just everyday motherhood, taking the time the care for yourself is just as important as anything else you do.
Of course, sometimes even the most resourceful moms need a few ideas for their self care routines! The following are some simple ideas that can make a big difference.
Develop a morning routine
Often, the easiest way to practice self care is to simple develop a good morning routine. How you start your day often influences how the rest of it will go. So why not make it a good start?
I’ve found that when I follow my usual routine in the morning, my day usually goes far better. Having a routine helps your morning go smoother. You’ll probably even find that you get more done, too.
Go to bed a little earlier
We’ve already talked a bit about the importance of sleep in the newborn section of this post. But even if you’re not in those early weeks of motherhood, sleep is still critically important to your well being.
After all, a tired mom is not a patient one. Or a happy one, for that matter. Make a point to go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can get enough sleep to feel well the next day.
Make your bed everyday
Even if an unmade bed doesn’t bother you, making the effort to make it every day will help you feel much better. Even if you don’t get anything else done that day, you can at least feel good about accomplishing this one small task.
And if you’re like me, you’ll probably love climbing into a made bed. Even better if you make the extra effort to put fresh sheets on!
Clean one small area every day
One of the biggest stressors for moms is a dirty house. It’s just plain hard to keep your house clean once you have kids.
I’m not saying to be a perfectionist about it—not at all. We all have to lower our standards just a little with little ones running about.
However, making a point to clean just one small area every day can be an excellent form of self care for yourself. You may also find that your house stays cleaner in general. Cleaning isn’t nearly as big a project when you tackle it a little at a time.
Have a place for everything — and put it there
Speaking of keeping the house clean, make a point to have a place for everything. And then make the effort to put it there!
Too many of us live with too much stuff and not enough space to put it. Even if we have space for it, we often fail to actually have a designated spot for everything.
Make that change, and find a place for everything. It’s simple to keep your house picked up when you actually know where everything goes.
Declutter your home
Have you caught a theme in the last few ideas? Keeping up with your house can definitely be a form of self care, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
While you don’t have to be a minimalist, keeping your space clear of clutter can greatly improve how you feel. Avoid holding on to things that don’t have a purpose and space in your home.
Practice 5 minute mindfulness or meditation
Do you feel like you’re constantly frustrated or on edge? It’s easy to fall into this pattern as a mom. And that’s part of why practicing self care ideas is so important for moms.
Even if you’re a superstar mom in the patience department, it’s good to slow down and practice regular mindfulness.
I recently read through the book Breathe, Mama, Breathe and found it to be very helpful for this. In this book, Shonda walks you through various scenarios where you can practice mindfulness, or the art of being fully present.
Regularly taking time to practice being present in your life is an amazing way to practice self care. I think you’ll also find that it benefits your family as well!
Read for 10 minutes every day
Some of us love to read, and some of us don’t. But even if you fall into the camp of not liking to read, I encourage you to read just for ten minutes every day.
For most of us, ten minutes is not that long. It’s doable whether you don’t like to or are just too busy to read as much as you’d like. And reading can have a big impact on how we live our lives.
This is too big a topic to go into depth here, but I really think every mom should read a little every day, even if it’s just five or ten minutes. It’s how you’ll continue to learn, and grow as an individual—and as a mother.
Use a planner
Okay, I know not everyone is into planners, but I’d encourage you to give it a try. Whether it’s a paper planner in front of you, or a Trello board, or just a simple to do list, find something to keep you organized and on track.
Staying organized is a great way to help yourself to be more productive. And, it allows you to have more headspace that isn’t full of all the things you need to remember.
For me, having a physical planner as well as a Trello board has helped me feel so much more relaxed. I write down everything, from small things to the big things we can’t forget.
Everything goes into these two planners. And as a result I’m far more clear headed and relaxed. So as silly or insignificant as it may seem, this simple act is a form of self care.
Exercise for 15 minutes every day
Exercise is a well known form of self care, and for good reason! Moving your body is one of the best ways to keep yourself feeling good and staying healthy.
My personal favorite way to exercise right now is to do Pilates with The Balanced Life. I love that the workouts are just 15 minutes a day, which makes it a great option for busy moms.
And it makes you feel so much better! I always feel way more energized and relaxed. It also helps you gain more mobility and flexibility, and build muscle. Click here to get $20 off your membership!
Do your makeup and hair
Okay, I’ll admit I’m not really a makeup person. On a typical week, I’ll do my makeup once and call it good. While it certainly helps me feel more together, I don’t often take advantage of this form of self care.
However, if that’s something that really brings you joy and helps you feel more like yourself, than by all means do it! Don’t feel like it has to be a huge project that takes hours. Just spend 5-15 minutes putting yourself together a bit.
Ask for help
This one is huge! So many moms struggle to simply ask for help, even though it’s truly one of the best ideas for self care.
Look, we all tend to get overwhelmed by life and motherhood. But half the time, we do it to ourselves by not simply asking for help. Start working on that now!
Use a face mask
Girl, I love me a good face mask! It’s honestly one of my favorite ways to treat myself. I try to make it a habit to use one at least every few weeks, and I love how it feels afterwards.
Even if you only have ten minutes to yourself, a face mask is a great way to treat yourself. Currently my favorite is the Freeman Anti-Stress clay mask with Dead Sea minerals. It always leaves my face feeling so smooth and clean!
Use a sugar/body scrub
Another of my favorite ways to treat myself is to use a sugar scrub (or any exfoliated scrub, really). There’s really nothing better than that flawless feel your skin gets after using one.
Right now I’m loving the True Moringa Rejuvenating Body Polish. It’s full of clean ingredients, and does an amazing job on your skin.
Buy something for yourself
Are you guilty of going out shopping, only to return with something for everyone but yourself? I know I’ve done that before.
Caring for your family is a good thing. But too often we skip out on treating ourselves as well. It’s okay to buy something for yourself every now and then! You deserve it, too.
Sign up for a subscription box
Okay, this may sound like a weird self care ideas, but I think it’s perfect for moms. So many of us get busy with life that we forget to do anything for ourselves.
Why not sign up for a subscription box that delivers goodies right to your door? My hubby got me a subscription to Causebox this past Christmas, and I’m in love with it!
Filled with ethically made, sustainable, and clean products, it’s the perfect treat for moms (even if you’re not into that kind of thing).
I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten in my boxes so far. And it’s such a fun treat to have it delivered every few months!
Spend less time on your phone
Screen time is something we all struggle with, I think. It’s so easy to get wrapped in it, and before you know it hours of your day are gone. And half the time we’re just mindlessly scrolling!
Recently, I found a function on my phone that would lock apps after I’d used it for a certain time each day. For example, I gave myself a max of 30 minutes on Instagram.
And it was so good for me! Just by spending less time on my phone, I felt more relaxed and present. And I was spending my time far more profitably!
Do a detox
Our bodies take in so many chemicals and harmful toxins on a day to day basis. Even if you use a lot of clean products, you’re likely to still accumulate toxins over time.
And all of that can make you feel pretty crappy. Every now and then, try doing a detox. I’m betting you’ll feel a lot better afterwards!
Eat nutritious meals
Speaking of what goes into your body, do you make a point to eat nutritious meals on a regular basis? What we consume greatly affects how we feel.
I’m not saying you can’t have treats. I’m just saying it’s a good form of self care to regularly make a point to feed yourself healthy, nutrient dense meals and snacks.
Go to the bathroom by yourself
Some of you may be confused, but I think most moms will know exactly what I mean. Especially if you have a toddler!
Once you become a mom, it can become difficult to find some alone time in the restroom. Even if you manage to get in there and lock the door, chances are you have a little one banging on the door.
Do yourself a favor and make a point to always use the bathroom by yourself. Teach your little ones that the restroom is a private place, and that it is your time alone.
Not only will it be good for you, it also sets the groundwork for teaching kids about privacy.
Develop a bedtime routine
While morning routines help you start your day well, evening/bedtime routines help you end it well. Even a very hectic day can be calmed by a relaxing routine at bedtime.
I’ll be honest, I’m not particularly good at keeping to a bedtime routine. But when I am consistent, I usually wind down and relax far easier. Which ultimately leads to better sleep.
Surround yourself with people who build you up
This may seem like a strange form of self care, but I think it is. It’s too common for moms to compare themselves to others. And it’s all too easy to fall into a spot of always trying to be “enough.”
Girl, you are enough. More than enough. Choose to believe it, and then surround yourself with others who believe it as well. Learn to surround yourself with people who build you up for the amazing woman that you are.
Get outside every day
Speaking of surrounding yourself, how about surrounding yourself with sunshine and fresh air? Try to get outside for at least a few minutes every day.
Fresh air and sunshine have a wonderful ability to boost our moods, as well as our immune systems. A healthy person is one who regularly gets out in nature, even if that just means your backyard.
Find a new hobby
Motherhood has a way of demanding all our time and energy. It’s really no wonder that moms often have little time to invest for their previous hobbies and interests.
But in a way, the demand is also kind of beautiful, if you allow it to be. It offers you the chance to reinvent yourself even as motherhood changes you. It opens new doors to new interests, things you never would have thought to try if not for it.
Even as frustrating as it can be to not be able to go back to old hobbies, try to give yourself the grace and patience to try something new.
Have regular, scheduled time for yourself
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to schedule in regular time for yourself. Because let’s be honest, if we leave it up to chance it probably isn’t going to happen.
Sometimes (most of the time) it’s necessary to actually put it on the calendar. Time block it into your planner. Make it an appointment with yourself, one which cannot be missed or rescheduled.
It doesn’t have to be a ton of time. Maybe it’s just fifteen minutes a day to start. Enough to shower, or read a few pages of a book, or step outside by yourself and just breathe deeply. The bottom line: regular time, even in small amounts, is far better than less frequent times.
Have a space just for you
As a mother, it’s easy to feel like the entire house has been overtaken by little ones. It feels like every surface is filled with baby items, or toddler toys, or a mix of both.
I challenge you to create a space for just you, even a small one. This is one of the easiest self care ideas that moms can practice right at home. Maybe it’s a corner of a room, or the top of a bookshelf or table.
Just find somewhere you can fill with the things that breathe life into you. Fill it with the things that make you happy, that make you breathe easier just looking at them. Then make a point to spend a few minutes there every day, recharging and bringing small moments of joy into your day.
Buy fresh flowers
Maybe you’re not a flower person, but I am. And if you’re like me, they probably bring a bit of joy into your home every time you see a vase of fresh blooms waiting for you.
Make a point to buy yourself some fresh flowers every so often. You can often find inexpensive flowers at grocery stores, so don’t feel like it’s an astronomical expense. Spend the $5 here and there and give yourself something to make you pause, breathe deeper, and relax throughout your day.
It’s one of the simplest and easier self care ideas that most moms enjoy, but also forget to practice regularly.
Learn to say “no”
Not all self care ideas are physical things or even experiences, especially not for moms. Sometimes the greatest form of self care is simply learning to say “no.”
We live in a culture that values busyness. Not necessarily productivity, but just being busy. Too many of us live with a calendar filled with activities and responsibilities.
We spend our days hurrying from one thing to the next, with barely a minute to just pause and breathe. And this only gets worse when we bring kids into the picture.
It’s okay to not be busy all the time. It’s okay to say “no” to things. You don’t even need a reason, and you don’t need to explain yourself. It is perfectly okay to say “no” to something solely to bring a bit of space and breath and room into your schedule.
Drink your coffee hot
Girl, drink your coffee hot. I know it is all too common for moms to drink cold coffee, reheat it half a dozen times, or never finish it at all.
But mama, you aren’t a martyr. Stop acting like one. If you’re struggling to drink your coffee hot, refer to the previous section of this post (“learn to say ‘no'”).
Coffee, or whatever your chosen drink is, doesn’t take long to cool down. And it doesn’t take that long to drink. It’s okay to say no to everything else, including your kids, to give yourself ten minutes to drink your coffee while it’s still hot.
Choose grace over guilt
Robin from The Balanced Life, who I take Pilates with, has this motto that I love: grace over guilt. As moms, we need that so much!
It’s so easy for us to fall into a pattern of guilt. It’s so easy to let unnecessary mom guilt plague us and determine our every move. But mama, you don’t need that guilt.
Choose to give yourself grace instead of allowing guilt to linger. Just as your children are learning and growing, so are you. Your child wasn’t the only one born on their birthday; a mother was born as well, and that mother is you. Give yourself the grace to learn through your mistakes and shortcomings.
Speak positively to yourself
Speaking of choosing to give yourself grace, choose to speak positively to yourself. Truly, we are our own worst enemies. We are hardest on ourselves, and our own biggest critics.
It takes some learning, but this trend can change. Every time you feel a negative thought invading your mind, stop and change it to a positive one. Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing everything that’s wrong with you, choose to see everything that’s right.
Start a gratitude journal
Here’s a simple but powerful self care idea for you: make a point to practice gratitude. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way, and it makes a big difference. Simply noticing the things that you have been blessed with and are grateful for can have a huge impact on your mindset.
Grab a gratitude journal and spend a few minutes every day writing in it. Make a list of the things you are grateful for that day. Maybe it’s something big that happened, or perhaps its the smaller things you’ve been taking for granted.
Buy yourself some nice skincare—and use it!
A year or two ago, I realized that while I love nice body care products, I have the tendency to hoard them instead of actually using them. Growing up, I didn’t have money to buy much of these things. So when I had them, I always saved them for “special occasions.”
Ironically, these special occasions rarely ever happened, and as a result I was perpetually saving things for later use. While having things like nice skin care was relatively rare for me as a child, that’s not the case anymore. Unfortunately, however, that tendency to hoard and never use carried into my adult years until I finally realized what was happening.
While your circumstances may be different than mine, I think a lot of us fall into a similar situation. We struggle to spend money on ourselves, and then when we do, we fail to actually put what we bought into good use.
Make a point to buy yourself some nice skincare. Maybe for you that means toxic free, or maybe it just smells really good (or both!). And then make the effort to use it on a daily basis. Find skincare products you love, and use them regularly.
Your skin will thank you. And you’ll probably feel better, too.
Did you know that most of us do not fully fill our lungs when we breathe? Yep, most of us breathe in more shallow breaths. And with the quarantine stress building up, it’s easy to fall into the class of shallow breathers.
Do yourself a favor and take a minute to breathe deeply. Fully fill your lungs, feel your ribs expand, and slowly let it out. Take at least six of these deep breathes. Six deep breathes is the number needed to reset your nervous system, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
As you go through your day, make a point to stop every few hours and intentionally take six deep breathes. I think you’ll find it does you a world of good!
Hire some help
We talked earlier about asking for help. And if you can get free help, great! But if you find you need to hire some help, don’t be afraid to take that step.
I know, money is tight for a lot of families right now. So if this isn’t something you can realistically swing right now, that’s okay. But if you can, go for it.
Hire a babysitter for a few hours, even if it’s just to free up your hands for a bit. Get someone to come clean your house for you, or help you with whatever projects need done. It’s okay if you need help, and it’s okay to spend a little money on it if you have it.
Do an at-home manicure
I know getting out to a salon can be hard nowadays, but there are plenty of other inexpensive and easy ways to treat yourself. Why not give an at-home manicure a try?
There are a several popular ways to give yourself a manicure from the comforts of home. One way I recently learned about is Red Aspen Nail Dashes. While I haven’t tried them myself yet, I’m looking to in the near future!
Nail dashes are an easy way to treat yourself to a manicure, without leaving the house or paying a lot. The dashes are easily popped on and off your nails and can be switched out often. And they’re reusable!
Text/call a friend
Honestly, most of us just need a friend to lean on. An adult to talk to and express our concerns, frustrations, and joys to. Someone to walk alongside us in this thing called motherhood.
Take the time to regularly reach out to another mom you know. Even if you’re not friends yet, you may find you become friends just by being there. Be the friend you want to have. It will do you both a world of good.
Make it a priority to refill your cup
It’s no secret that self care is something we all struggle with as moms. It’s hard to find the time and energy to invest in ourselves, but it is so, so necessary.
I hope these self care ideas will help you and other moms you know find small slices of your day to invest in yourself. Self care doesn’t have to be an all day, expensive thing. Sometimes the best self care ideas are the ones that allow moms to just slow down and breathe.
Take some time for yourself today. Start with just five minutes, and work up from there. I’ll bet you’d be surprised how many five minute breaks you can find throughout your day to recharge and refill your cup!