7 Days of Self Care: How to Feel Better in a Week

It can be simple to incorporate self care each day of the week, as long as you have a plan.

As a parent, the days are long and filled with taking care of the needs of everyone else but ourselves.  We hear all this talk about self care but it sounds overwhelming, time consuming and impossible.  It’s easy to start but hard to keep it up.  

So try to set a simple self care goal each day of the week.  Here’s a sample plan for self care that will help you take care of your body’s physical and mental needs, without requiring a lot of commitment.

Try these 7 days of self care this week, plus download a printable tracker so that you can keep up with it!
7 Days of Self Care
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
7 Days of Self Care

Monday: Move Your Body

No one likes Mondays.  The weekend is over, everyone is groggy and the boring, mundane tasks begin all over again.  You’re going to need to pump up your energy levels in order to make it through the rest of the week.  Coffee can only do so much.

So today, make an effort to move your body in some way.

Clear a spot on the living room floor and do some simple stretches or yoga positions.  Dance to at least one entire song.  Plank for 30 seconds.  Do some crunches or lunges or jumping jacks.  Go for a walk around the block or ride your bike.  

It doesn’t have to be a full workout, just move your body!  Exercise is a great form of self care and will boost your mood for the rest of the day, if not the week.  

Tuesday: Take an Epic Shower

You’ll probably need to shower several times throughout the week and if you’re a busy mom like me then they’re probably really quick and you’re listening for a kid the entire time.  But hey, that’s motherhood, what can you do?

Reserve some time today to take one, epic, glorious shower.

Pick a time when someone else is watching the kids (TV shows and iPads count) even if it means you need to get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later.  Crank up the hot water and USE ALL THE PRODUCTS!  Mask your face, deep condition your hair, exfoliate, moisturize and shave your entire leg and not just the bottom 1/4 that shows when you’re not wearing socks.

The rest of the week may go by in a blur and you won’t have this chance again, so make it count.  A hot shower and some pampering can do wonders for your mood, mental health and skin! 

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Wednesday: Clean out ONE closet

…or drawer, or cupboard or room.  But be careful not to get carried away with this one.  I don’t know about you but I have several closets and drawers filled with all kinds of junk.  And I know that moving junk from one closet means I’ll throw it into another closet full of junk and then feel obligated to clean that one out too.

You only get to do ONE.

Next week, you can tackle on another one.  Start small, like that junk drawer in the kitchen or the cupboard underneath your bathroom sink.  You can make a list of all the areas you want to tackle and scratch one off each week.

You might not think of this one as self care but I promise you will find mental clarity and a sense of peace once it’s done.  These areas are always at the back of our minds, and the longer we procrastinate them, the more unproductive and lazy we feel.  This sense of unaccomplishment can affect our self image and confidence.  It’s amazing how proud we can feel just by cleaning out ONE closet.  

Thursday: Get Creative

Tapping into your inner creativity is a great way to boost your mood and help keep your mind sharp.  If you don’t think of yourself as a creative person, then maybe you just haven’t found your strength yet.  Creativity comes in so many different forms.

Today, use your skills to create something.

You can do some type of craft, paint, color or draw a picture.  Try starting a longer term project like a paint by numbers kit. Make something out of salt-dough or paper.  Knit, sew, crochet or string some beads into jewelry.  Bake something delicious or try a new recipe. 

Kids love to be involved in these kinds of activities, but moms are often busy cleaning up spills and helping with supplies.  This time, make sure that you sit down, embrace the mess and get your hands dirty.  Week after week, you’ll find that your skills will improve, and your mind will be beaming with possibilities.

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Friday: Socialize

Fridays aren’t the same as they used to be before kids.  Friday nights were something to look forward to, and we’d be checking in with all our friends to find out where the party was at.  They’re not nearly as exciting anymore but that doesn’t mean we have to stop socializing.

Make it a point to socialize with a friend in some way today.

Get dressed up, do your hair and makeup and head out for a girl’s night, or date night.  Invite a fellow mom over for a play date, or have a sweat pants and taco night in with your bestie.  If that all sounds too exhausting then just call up a friend and chat.  

Our social connection needs to be expanded beyond Facebook and Instagram.  Our mental health suffers when we keep ourselves locked away from the outside world.  We need to see other people and have real, human connections.  It’s good for our mood to hear another person’s voice and feel their touch.  Laughing with friends is like group self-care! 

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Saturday: Go Outdoors

Finally the weekend is here!  What better day than a Saturday afternoon to spend some time outdoors?  Weekends tend to be busy for young families, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit in some fresh air time.

At some point today, do an outdoor activity.

This could be as simple as sipping your morning coffee on the patio.  Or you could plan this day in advance and head out on a camping trip or hike.  Be spontaneous and take the kids for a picnic at the park.  Yard work and gardening are great ways to be productive outdoors.  Even if the weather is cold, bundle yourself up and spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outdoors in the fresh air.  

Being outdoors is considered ecotherapy and it has amazing mood boosting benefits for everyone.  You should try to spend some time outside every single day.  And we’re talking about self care, so relax while you’re out there.  Don’t feel obligated to do something strenuous or physical.  Napping outdoors is amazing, just make sure you’re in the shade. 

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Sunday: Sleep

At the end of a long and busy week (or beginning of one, depending on how you look at it) there is one thing that is essential to mental health and self care.  You need to get some proper sleep.  Sleep deprivation is one of the most dangerous factors when it comes to mental health, so don’t ever underestimate it.

Make sure to get in some extra sleep today.

You can sleep in, take an afternoon nap or go to bed early.  Try your best to work your sleep schedule around whatever else you have going on today, but make it a priority.  If you’re struggling with insomnia, there are things you can do to help you sleep better.  Use a weighted blanket or try diffusing some essential oils while you sleep.

You’re going to need to keep your strength up to get through another week of motherhood and if you’re running on fumes, you won’t do any good.  Sleep is so incredibly important for maintaining our mental health, especially for moms suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety.  Sleeping in is not a luxury or reserved only for Mother’s Day – it’s a necessity!

Self Care Tracker
Click here to download a free printable PDF version of this self care tracker!

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms

Ecotherapy is the act of using the healing benefits of nature to improve our mental health.

Sometimes referred to “nature therapy” or “green therapy,” ecotherapy has several amazing benefits for moms.  In our modern, industrialized world, we spend so much more time indoors than we do outside in nature, and it’s starting to have a tangible effect on our mental health.

Ecotherapy is a broad term used to describe all kinds of outdoor activities that have health benefits.  These can include everything from the simple act of sitting outdoors in the sunshine to hiking and mountain climbing.  With benefits for the entire family, it’s a great way for moms to spend time with the kids as well as take care of themselves.

Here are some ways that moms can benefit from some of the various forms of ecotherapy.
16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms

1. Fresh Air

The obvious benefit of getting outdoors is simply to enjoy the fresh air. Inhaling fresh air, as opposed to the circulated, stale indoor air, is a great way to clear our minds and bodies.  A little bit of fresh air everyday can help ward off headaches and congestion, and is great for our overall health.  For those who live in crowded, busy cities, it’s worth it to get out to the country side every once in a while for a decent dose of fresh air.  It’s something that far too many of us take for granted.  

2. Sunshine

Warm sunshine is another building block of ecotherapy.  Exposure to sun can top off our vitamin D levels, which is super important for maintaining our serotonin levels and avoiding seasonal affective disorder.  Vitamin D is also important in calcium absorption, can lower your blood pressure and even help you lose weight!  But make sure to protect your skin while outside, the sun’s power is both great and dangerous.

3. Physical Activity

Ecotherapy works because being outdoors has a way of inspiring us to explore, run and play.  When it’s a beautiful day out, we don’t want to waste it by staying inside watching television.  Just walking outdoors for an hour each day is enough to boost our moods and help us to live healthier lives.  Often, the elements of nature can encourage us to take up more extreme forms of physical activity, such as hiking, biking, swimming or mountain climbing.  The opportunities to get our heart pumping and work up a sweat while out in nature are endless. 

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4. Stimulates The Senses

It’s rare to find a form of therapy that can stimulate all of our senses at once.  But ecotherapy does just that.  When we’re out in nature, we feel the sun’s warmth, the delicate tickle of green grass on our toes or a light breeze against our skin.  We smell the fresh air, flowers, earth and the wood of the trees.  We hear birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind and the gentle trickling of water.  We see flowers and landscapes in all different colors and shapes.  We taste sweet berries or fruit freshly picked from the trees.  Simply being outdoors is a feast for the senses.

5. Spending Time With Animals

Ecotherapy also includes spending time with animals and experiencing the benefits of some of nature’s greatest gifts.  Spending time with animals can help to reduce our stress levels and boost our moods.  You don’t need to have your own pet in order to get the benefits of pet therapy.  A visit to a farm, petting zoo, animal shelter or even just some simple bird watching is like an instant mood booster without all the responsibility of raising your own pet.  

6. Talking in Nature 

Talking about feelings can be difficult for a lot of people.  Especially so for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder such as postpartum depression.  Many people find it comforting to talk while going for a walk outdoors.  The distraction of the sights and sounds can ease tension or awkward silence.  The physical act of walking while talking can actually encourage the mind to open up even more, because it’s now being asked to multitask and thus feels less inhibited.  So the next time you have something important to discuss with someone – try inviting them on a stroll through the park.

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7. Digging in the Dirt

Contrary to popular belief, dirt is not dirty.  Pure, rich soil from the earth is actually really good for you!  By digging your bare hands (or feet) into the dirt, you can absorb the good bacteria known as Mycobacterium vaccae which is a natural antidepressant and can improve your overall health and immune system.  Ecotherapy is all about ditching the gardening gloves and flip flops and becoming one with the dirt!

8. Gardening

Since you’re already barefoot and ankle deep in dirt, you might as well plant a garden while you’re at it.  There are so many health benefits of gardening that it’s the most popular form of ecotherapy.  In addition the health benefits you get directly from the soil, caring for a garden is a great way to nurture your motherly instincts.  Planting seeds and watching them grow into full grown plants will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.

9. Eat a Healthier Diet

We would all love to eat farm fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, but it’s a sad fact that healthier food often tends to cost more at the local grocery store.  Instead, grow healthy fruit and vegetables in your own garden.  Not only will it be organic, but it will be free!  A healthy diet is especially important for moms battling a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, as well as for children of all ages.  Everyone in the family will be much more inclined to eat food that they’ve grown themselves.  

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10. Cultivate Healing Herbs

In addition to healthy fruit and vegetables, you can also grow certain herbs that offer medicinal benefits. Lavender, Chamomile and Valerian are  popular ones, especially to help with sleep and reduce stress.  Peppermint, rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil are great for cooking but their oils have several healing benefits as well. St. John’s Wort, known for it’s natural antidepressant properties, can easily be grown in any herb garden.  There are so many different herbs available that you can grow easily and always have on hand when you need them.

11. Boosts Confidence

Growing your own plants from seedlings is a real confidence booster.  In a world where parenting is so complicated and full of different opinions and methods – gardening takes you back to the beginning.  Plants don’t need complicated methods – they need soil, water and sunlight to thrive.  Being able to produce fruit or flowers from a tiny seed can give you a sense of pride and confidence in yourself. 

12. Sleep Better

When you combine all of the fresh air, sunshine and physical activity, it adds up to one thing – a better night’s sleep!  This holds true for both moms and babies.  Ecotherapy is an excellent course of treatment for those with insomnia as it reduces the common culprits: stress, anxiety and depression.  Try taking a nap outdoors, in a hammock or on a blanket in the grass.  Between the warm sun, light breeze and bird songs you’re sure to feel relaxed.  Who needs a white noise machine with “nature sounds” when you can get the live version in your own backyard?

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13. Community

Spending time alone in nature is incredibly peaceful, but ecotherapy can also be done as a community.  Community gardens, stroller walking groups at the park or even yoga on the beach are all great forms of ecotherapy that can help to encourage social skills.  Once you find an activity that you enjoy doing outdoors, reach out to see if others want to join you or if there is already a group of like-minded people who gather regularly.  Being outdoors increases the probability that you will encounter and socialize with others in your community, which is great for your mental health.

14. An Outlet for Anger

Ecotherapy can also help with anger management issues Try bushwhacking some hedges when you’re feeling frustrated and full of rage.  Kick some rocks or punch a tree – I promise, they can handle it.  Sitting alone in nature is also a great place to find peace.  Meditate, even speak out loud to the plants, insects, animals and trees.  They make great listeners and they won’t judge you or tell your secrets.  It might sound silly, but saying something out loud, regardless of who is listening or not, is a lot different than simply thinking about it.

15. Reduces Anxiety

A major cause of anxiety for many people is the thought of death, illness or harm.  Spending time observing nature can give us a better appreciation of the life cycle and realize that everything happens for a reason.  The old leaves fall off the trees to make way for new growth.  Plants sprout from a single seed, produce their fruit, get old and wither.  Their fruit grows several new plants and the cycle continues again.  We see some plants lost to neighborhood rabbits, others to nature’s elements.  And we realize that all life has a meaning and purpose.

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16. Find Hope for the Future

Taking care of the earth, whether it’s in the form of gardening, raising animals or simply observing nature around you, is one way to remain hopeful.  A mother suffering from postpartum depression, for example, may have trouble seeing the future beyond all of the darkness.  Ecotherapy reminds us all that life, like nature, continues despite bad weather, cold, darkness and drought.  Even when things seem at their worst, the sun will come out again and all will be well.