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.

Art Therapy
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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. 

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
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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!

25 Easy Self Care Ideas That Will Get You Outdoors

Self care can be easier than you think…

Being outdoors has several incredible benefits for moms, but it’s not always easy to do.  Trying to juggle kids, plus housework – it’s not uncommon for a stay at home mom’s outdoor exposure to be limited to an open window.  And when we do get outside, it’s usually to chase after the kids or do more work outdoors.  Some of these self care ideas can help moms get outdoors with the sole intention of rest and relaxation.

Try one of these outdoor self care ideas this summer!
25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
*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.
25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas

1. Go for a walk or run around the block

One of the easiest outdoor self care ideas is to go for a walk or jog around your own neighborhood.  It doesn’t cost anything, require any scheduling or take up much time.  Whether you’re in the mood for a marathon run or just a leisurely stroll – your own neighborhood is the best place to start! 

2. Pump your legs on a playground swing

Moms always seem to get the boring jobs at playgrounds.  We stand at the bottom of slides, push our kids on the swings and hold their legs as they attempt to make their way across the monkey bars.  Instead of being a playground servant – free your inner child and go for a swing or a slide!

3. Visit an outdoor spa

Outdoor spas are becoming more and more popular these days.  The benefits of fresh air and nature are unmatched by anything else.  Check out a Scandinavian-style spa, a hot spring, or soak in an outdoor hot tub.

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4. Take a hike or follow a forest trail

Hiking can be intimidating to anyone, especially a mother fresh off of postpartum recovery or who has to take little ones along with her.  Strolling down a well maintained path through the forest still has a lot of benefits.  For the more adventurous mom, make a bucket list of trails that you’d like to conquer and check one off as often as possible.

5. Relax in a hammock

Nothing says relaxation quite like napping in a hammock on a hot summer day.  The gentle swaying motion is sure to lull you into a relaxed state, just like a baby in a cradle.  Plus, the light summer breeze and sunshine on your face provides the perfect atmosphere.

6. Spend some time gardening

Another excellent self care idea is to start a backyard garden.  Digging your bare hands or feet into the soil is actually good for your mental health, as soil contains a special bacteria that works like a natural antidepressant.  Caring for a garden is sure to get you outdoors all summer long and at the end of the season, you’ll have a healthy batch of crops to show for it!

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7. Go for a bike ride

Park the minivan and go for a bike ride instead.  It’s not a practical form of transportation for everyday life, but going for a bike ride regularly has it’s benefits.  Biking improves your physical health and can be an enjoyable form of self care, either alone or with the whole family.

8. Enjoy a picnic in the park

Another simple activity to get you outdoors is to eat one of your meals picnic-style.  You can go to a park or eat in your own backyard.  Spread a picnic blanket or gather around an outdoor table.  Go out on your own, with your spouse or as an entire family… the kids will love it just as much as you will.

Malibu Picnic Set
Zulily.com

9. Shop a local farmers market

Local farmers markets sell much more than just fruit and vegetables these days.  You can find all kinds of organic, locally made things like health and beauty products, jewelry, clothing and so much more!  Not only is it wonderful to support local businesses, but you’ll get your hands on food and products that are so much better for your health.

10. Camp out for a night or two

Camping is not for everyone.  In fact, most mothers with small children will swear that it’s more work than anything else.  Even glamping has it’s pitfalls.  But if it’s something you’re open to – definitely give it a try!  Or just set up a tent in your backyard and listen to the relaxing night sounds as you sleep.

11. Pick some wildflowers

Fresh flowers have a way of brightening up anyone’s home.  One of the simplest self care ideas is to pick some yourself.  Obviously, don’t invade your neighbor’s prize tulips, but anyone with a lilac bush will surely be glad to let you help trim it back.  Fields and parks are usually full of all kinds of wildflowers.  Or sprinkle some wildflower seeds in your yard this spring and have an abundant supply all summer long.

12. Go for a boat ride

Being on the water in a middle of a lake is a wonderful way to help clear your mind.  You can literally get away from it all.  Choose a hot day because there’s nothing quite like the breeze off the water.  But beware, the rocking motion of a boat can be soothing for some – not so much for others.

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13. Volunteer to walk a dog from a pet shelter

If you don’t have your own furry friend to take along with you on walks, then check out if your local pet shelter needs volunteers.  The dogs there are always in need of some extra love and you can both benefit from spending some time together.  

14. Paint your nails

What’s the most annoying thing about painting your nails?  Waiting for them to dry.  Use that as an excuse to get outside and stay outside.  Paint your nails and then relax in a lounge chair without any need to get up.   You can even try a face mask, soak your feet or exfoliate your skin outdoors.  Take the pampering outdoors, I promise you wont regret it.

15. Swim or float in a lake or outdoor pool

Swimming is a great low-impact exercise and perfect for hot summer days.  If you’re looking for something more relaxing, then blow up an inflatable tube and float around on the water without a care.

Intex Canopy Island Pool Float
Amazon.com

16. Build a bird house, bat house or bee hive

Sometimes stress and frustration can build up and come out in undesirable ways.  Finding a creative outlet for all those pent up emotions is a great form of self care.  Try building your own bird house or bat house for your yard.  Not only will you be doing nature a favor, but you can help control the pesky mosquito population.  If you have a garden, making your own bee hive can increase your crop production! 

17. Spend a night star gazing

If it’s a clear night outside, lay down a blanket and watch the stars.  Head outside the city and away from the street lights for a better view.  Star gazing is a great form of stress and anxiety relief and can remind you of just how small your problems are in this giant world. 

18. Sit on the beach

A beach day is one of my favorite self care ideas.  Get out your lounge chair or blanket, a beach umbrella and some sunglasses and relax in the sand.  Dig your feet into the wet sand to exfoliate and massage them.  Cool yourself off in the water.  Listen to the sounds of the waves, the seagulls and the children playing.  

19. Visit a greenhouse or garden center

Greenhouses are fantastic places to look for inspiration for your own backyard.  From plants and flowers to water features and deck ideas, you can create your own back yard self care sanctuary.  Focusing on an outdoor project can help keep your mind sharp and distracted in a good way.

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20. Have a bonfire

Sitting around a bonfire is an excellent stress reliever.  The smell of the wood, and crackling of the flames is a feast for the senses.  Roast marshmallows or hot dogs if you want to.  It’s a nice treat anytime of the day, not just for nights at the cabin.

21.  Visit a farm

Spending time with animals is great for our mental health and considered a form of ecotherapy.  There are usually lots of local farms that open up to visitors.  You can pet animals, ride horses, climb up hay bales, milk a cow or collect eggs from the hen house.

22. Watch the sunrise

While I would never deliberately encourage a mom to lose out on sleep – getting up early to watch the sunrise can be totally worth it.  The way the sunlight moves slowly over everything is breathtaking.  You can meditate, do yoga or just sip some hot coffee.  It’s an amazing way to start the day.

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23. Do some fruit picking

Spend the day at an orchard or strawberry farm.  Not only will you get to experience the beauty of it all, but you’ll get to go home with some fresh, organic fruit as a result.

24. Take nature pictures

Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a selfie queen, nature provides an endless supply of photo ops.  Try taking pictures of the birds, the trees or a sunset.  If you get a really good shot, have it printed and framed and you’ve just created a free piece of art for your walls.

25. Dance in the rain

Getting outdoors isn’t reserved just for the hot summer days.  Even rain storms can be beautiful.  The next time it rains, don’t run and hide.  Ditch the umbrella, kick off your shoes and dance in the rain.  Embrace it and let all your cares wash away.


12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
*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.

January

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

Download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource LibraryClick here to subscribe for instant access!

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year, Download a Free Calendar!
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February

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge(pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

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March

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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April

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

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May

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

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June

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

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July

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

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September

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.  Get as much information as you can about mental illness because knowledge is power.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

Depression Infographic
The Recovery Village

November

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

The most expensive part of the year is upon us.  Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like.  Check out her website for more information.

December

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.


Free Mental Health Calendar
Get this FREE printable 12 Month Mental Health Calendar in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health