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.  Yoga is an excellent way to move your body, and there are so many different benefits of yoga! 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. 

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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!

Self-Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression

Taking time for themselves is something that all moms need to do but practicing a self-care routine is essential to treating postpartum depression.

Self-care doesn’t always need to consist of spa days or alone time.  While different things appeal to different women and personalities – there are some simple, basic, everyday tasks that can make a huge difference to one’s mood and patience level.

Keeping postpartum depression symptoms under control means having to stay one step ahead of them, otherwise it’s very easy to drown in the shuffle of everyday motherhood.

Here are some self care tips for mothers battling postpartum depression.
Self Care Tips for Moms With Postpartum Depression
*This post contains affiliate 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.
Self Care Tips for Moms With Postpartum Depression

What is self-care?

It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU.  It’s not being selfish and only focusing on yourself.  It’s adding your needs to the list, at the same priority level as everything else.

Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially stay at home moms.  And the biggest question it raises is how the heck are you supposed to take care of yourself AND the tiny humans who demand so much of your attention?

The nature of a mother is to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the to-do list.  I’m quite guilty of it myself and sometimes life gets SO busy that I don’t even realize how long it’s been since I showered or blow-dried my hair.


When to do self-care

Trying to fit a self-care routine into an already packed day is impossible, I know.  There are never, nor will there ever be, enough minutes in the day to get everything accomplished.

This means you’re going to have to sacrifice something.  It could be sleep (sleep? what’s that?), it could be that extra time with your kids before bed, it could be the gourmet dinner you cook every night.

Or perhaps there is a way to work your self-care routine into your existing routine with the kids.  There’s no rule that says self-care must equal alone time so feel free to involve your kids or partner.

Whatever you need to do, do it and make time for you.
Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Why to do self-care

During my own battle with postpartum depression – I could never look at myself in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of the pile of muck I had become.

I had a ghastly image of myself in my head and I feared that if I looked at myself in the mirror I would realize it had come true.  The few times I did make eye contact with myself, I immediately broke into tears because I absolutely hated myself and standing in front of the mirror meant coming face to face with my worst enemy.

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But I wasn’t afraid to look at myself when I had a little makeup on.  When I was showered and my hair was done and I was in decent clothes – for a moment, I forgot about that pile of muck.  This was someone else I was looking at, talking to, admiring in the mirror.  That pile of muck was still there but I didn’t have to look at her.  I didn’t have to face her and all the sadness she brought with her.

So while some might consider self-care a type of vanity, I felt that it was the only way for me to escape the rut I was in.

Developing a good self-care routine is extremely important both during your battle with postpartum depression after you’ve started treatments to reduce the chance of a relapse.

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How to Do Self Care

Begin with the bare minimum.  It’s sad that we have to remind ourselves to do these things each day, but over time they become less and less of a priority.  For a new mom, it’s hard to figure out how to take care of two people instead of one.  Or for a mom with a mental illness, these are some things that don’t seem worth the trouble.  But they are worth it – and it is possible to do them, every single day.

Brush your teeth

So simple right?  Not when you’re awoken by the loud screams of children at 6 am.  You rush out of bed to see what’s happening and deal with whatever new fiasco they’ve created.  And then coffee is the first thought on your mind.  You’ll brush after coffee – that makes sense, right?  Then you won’t have coffee breath!  Smart woman!

Except you never, ever, finish that cup of coffee… 

It sits there getting cold.  Maybe you walk by once or twice and stick it in the microwave to heat it up and then forget about it there.  Before you know it the hubby is home from work and for some reason he’s not going in for that smooch…

Take the shower!

There are so many days when this feels like an impossible feat.  It takes more than a few minutes and we all know what kind of trouble kids can get into in that time.  If it means letting them have some extra screen time while you shower, then it’s worth it.  If all else fails – take them in with you!

But putting it off means you’re putting yourself off, and self-care is all about putting yourself FIRST!  So take the shower!

A nice, hot shower before bed is a great way to help you sleep at night, so if you can’t fit one in during the day – try to squeeze it in after the kids are down for the night.  If the thought of taking a shower feels like the last thing you want to do after an extremely long day, then it’s what you need most.  Trust me and just TAKE THE SHOWER!!!

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Change your clothes

Changing from flannel pajama pants into black leggings counts.  Don’t stay in your pajamas all day even if they’re the comfiest thing on earth and you’re not going anywhere anyway.  I’ve gone so far as to use the excuse that I don’t want to make more laundry for myself.  But even if you wear the same “daytime” clothes for a week – change out of your pajamas. 

The act of changing your clothes – even if they are from one pair of sweatpants to another, is enough to trick your brain into thinking you’ve done something productive.

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Do your hair & makeup

This one is more important to some than others.  I’ve never been a “full face makeup” type of person, but some women absolutely love the process of experimenting with makeup.  I got a chance to try the Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer and Mascara for free and it was like putting on false lashes without the fuss! Join Influenster and you can start getting free products to try, too!

If you have a particular problem area that makes you self-conscious then take care of that so you can feel confident enough to face the world.  It might sound superficial or vain, but it’s amazing how much more confident you feel when you know that you look good.  And keep in mind that the only person you’re trying to impress… is yourself. 

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Give yourself a pep talk

Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, a little “you can do this” under my breath reminds me that I need to stay positive.  It is SO easy to lose that motivation when you are battling postpartum depression because you are in a constant state of darkness.  Find some way to remind yourself to stay in the light.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

Take your vitamins

Sufferers of postpartum depression are infamous for their terrible eating habits – either not enough or too much.  And because of that, we often end up with all kinds of vitamin deficiencies which can have a huge effect on our mental health.  So if you’re not able to eat as healthy as you should, you should be taking supplements in order to get your levels back up to where they should be.

  • Magnesium is what worked wonders for me.  Magnesium deficiencies are known to cause symptoms of depression, so make sure that you take a regular magnesium supplement to keep symptoms at bay.
  • Vitamin Dget outside in the sun!  Not only does 20 minutes in the sunshine top up your Vitamin D levels but the fresh air does wonders for your soul.
  • Vitamin B Complex to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition despite your messed up appetite.

Here’s an article on www.livestrong.com that has more details on the best herbal and vitamin supplements to treat postpartum depression.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy and essential oils have huge mood-boosting benefits. An easy way to fit aromatherapy into your postpartum depression self care routine is by using an essential oil diffuser.  Have your favorite, calming, essential oils and blends fill your entire home all day long to make sure that you’re surrounded by positive energy.  (Not sure where to start? Check out the mood collection by Rocky Mountain Oils)

Try Yoga and Meditation

Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that can help to get rid of some of the physical aches and pains associated with postpartum depression.  You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment, so it’s very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.  It also helps you to clear your mind of distractions and intrusive thoughts, which is important if you want to try to remain positive on a daily basis.  Deep breathing can help greatly to reduce stress and it’s something that you can do anytime throughout the day.

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Find ONE thing

And it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing.  A spa day is great but so is binge watching Netflix.  A beach vacation may not be in the budget, but relaxing outside in a hammock or inflatable couch is. [I like the ones from Pouch Couch]

Focus on ONE extra activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed and ONE thing only.  As moms we spend most of our days multi-tasking, and there is so much pressure to become a mom who can bake and sew and do crafts and plan parties (thanks a lot, Pinterest) and it becomes overwhelming and exhausting.

Your self-care routine should consist of something that makes you feel happy and relaxed afterwards.  It doesn’t have to be productive and you don’t need to justify it.  You just need to do it.

It can be difficult to fit in time for self-care, especially as a busy mom.  Check out my post How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a SAHM for more tips plus download a free workbook to help you create a schedule that works!

Write about it

Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be hugely therapeutic for postpartum depression survivors in many different ways.  Not only is the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings a way to release them, but it also helps you keep track of whether they are getting better or worse.

[If you need more reasons, check out this post from Happy Mom Brain: Why You Need to Write About Mental Health]

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Whatever self-care routine you end up carving out for yourself, make sure that you stick to it in order to prevent relapses.  Communicate with your partner about how important these things are for your mental health so that they can support you.  And don’t ever feel guilty about putting yourself first because if mom is happy, then the entire household is happy. 

Click here to download a FREE Self Care Workbook to help you create a routine that works for your busy schedule!

Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression