How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a SAHM

Fitting in a self-care routine for stay-at-home moms may sound easy to do with all the time spent at home…

But trying to find the time and space to do it in is where the challenge lies.  Stay at home moms very rarely have any time throughout the day where their kids are not following them around or in need of something.  Even nap time presents moms with the decision of either getting caught up on work or taking time for themselves.

Developing a self-care routine is so important for stay at home moms.  It’s a way to stay positive and energized throughout the day.  Taking care of ourselves should be as much of a priority as taking care of the children, the household, or the finances.  It may take some time to figure out how to create a self-care routine that works for you.

Here are some tips on building the essential self-care routine for stay at home moms.

(Plus – download a free workbook to help you put these tips into action!)

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom *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.


Eliminate the Guilt

Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself is normal for stay at home moms.  We are inclined to put others first and take care of their needs, pushing our own to the bottom of the list.  We keep thinking that we’ll start our self-care routine once everyone and everything else is taken care of.  But no matter how much we do in a day, there is always something else that needs to be done.  We need to make ourselves a priority.  It can be hard to feel worthy enough, especially for moms battling postpartum depression.

The best way to avoid feeling guilty about time for yourself is to think of it as something that we are also doing for our loved ones. 

Following a daily self-care routine means that we will be happier and healthier. 

We will be more pleasant to be around, more present in the moment and less inclined to be frustrated and moody at the end of the day. 

We are setting excellent examples for our children by taking care of and respecting ourselves.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
.

In order to eliminate the guilt associated with self-care, you need to answer Why, Who and What:

WHY do you need a regular self-care routine?  Are your mood swings out of control? Do you feel exhausted and overwhelmed all the time?  Is there a health concern you want to focus on?

WHO you are doing this for?  In addition to yourself, what else is important in your life?  Do you want to set a good example for your children?  Do you want to be a better partner in your relationship?  Is your work or family life suffering?

WHAT is your ultimate goal?  Do you want to be happier?  Healthier?  Have more energy?  Are you struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety?  Are you trying to wean off of medications that you’re taking?


Timing is Everything

Finding the time to fit in a self-care routine is probably the biggest obstacle for a stay at home mom.  Usually we are surrounded by children from the time we get up in the morning until they go to bed, at which time we are too exhausted to do anything else.  There are a few moments throughout the day when a stay at home mom could choose to fit in her self-care.

The first step is identifying the changes in your mood throughout the day.  Try keeping track of your moods on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to see how and when they fluctuate.  To make it easier, you can download a printable mood tracker from Shine Sheets.

.
Early in the morning

If you’re a morning person, this could work for you.  Getting up early before everyone else is up and taking a nice, hot shower in peace sounds amazing.  Drinking an entire cup of coffee and eating a warm breakfast while watching the sun comes up is a great way to start the day.

Not so early in the morning

But if you’re not a morning person, then the idea of sacrificing those last few moments of sleep are a crime against humanity.  There’s nothing wrong with fitting in that shower and coffee when you get up in the morning, it just means that your children will probably also be awake and ready to start their day at the same time.  Try holding them off by offering them a small snack, a sippy cup of milk and a half-hour show to buy you some time.

Everyone will have a much better day if mom can get in coffee and a shower before all the action begins.

Lunchtime

Make it a point to eat lunch together.  Don’t feed the kids and expect to grab something later because later may never come.  Eat when the kids eat and make yourself something healthy, don’t just pick at their leftovers.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
.
Nap time

If this is still a thing at your house, then congratulations!  It hasn’t existed at my house in 2 years and I miss it so much.  Nap time is the perfect time for fitting in a self-care routine.  Don’t do the dishes or laundry or mop the floors.

REST

Binge watch Netflix or read a few chapters in that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand. Don’t think of it as “being lazy.” Escaping into an imaginary world, whether it’s through the pages of a book or the television, is a way to relax your brain for a little while.  You need to shut that thing off sometimes otherwise it overheats and doesn’t work as well.

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.

Another easy way to relax is by changing your scenery.  Rather than plopping down on the couch or crawling into bed – try lounging in an inflatable couch (whether outdoors or in) or relaxing in the backyard in a hammock.  Resting somewhere other than your bed can feel like a mini vacation!

Whatever you decide to do while your children nap – make it something just for you and don’t feel guilty about it.  Nap time only lasts so long, so enjoy it while you can.

.
When your shift is over

If your day has been an overly exhausting one, there’s no harm in asking for help.  Calling in reinforcements just so you can have some time to yourself is not being selfish.  It’s something that is essential to your well being and mental health.  If there is a time when your spouse is home to watch the kids, of if you have family or a friend who can watch the kids for an hour – then take it!

Mothers are not expected to be able to handle everything all at once.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or inability.

After bedtime

Once the kids are in bed, if you’re like me, you have no energy left for self-care.  (Is sleep training stressing you out?  Check out this post. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit it in.  A hot shower before bed will help you sleep better.  Turning on an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom as you go to sleep will help to calm your mind and relax you after a long day.  A few simple yoga stretches or some guided meditation are perfect to incorporate in your self-care routine at bedtime.

As much as you might want to just collapse on the couch at the end of a long day, try to fit in at least ONE thing to help you relax before getting some much needed sleep.


Figure Out What Works

Your self-care routine should consist of things that specifically work for you.  Sure, yoga is great but if it’s not your thing, then forcing yourself to do it isn’t going to help you relax.  Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all self-care routine, so this is something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself.

.
Start by categorizing the things you enjoy doing, so that you can get a better idea of when to fit them into your day.

Things that make you feel energized should be scheduled for the beginning of your day.  Maybe it’s going for a walk or a run, listening to your favorite music or podcast, or taking a refreshing shower.

Save the things that make you feel relaxed for your evening self-care routine.  Maybe you prefer a hot shower or bath before bed. Or having a warm cup of tea and watching the sunset.  Guided meditation is another great way to calm the mind before bed.

List off all the things that make you feel happy and try to include them throughout your day.  These could be things such as cooking or baking, gardening, crafting, chatting with a friend or anything else that you love to do.

Consider things you do for yourself all year round.  Do you need a monthly trip to the salon?  Or a spa day each year on your birthday?  If summer is around the corner, schedule yourself a pedicure.  Don’t put off these important tasks, schedule them today!

Make a Bucket List

Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be tedious and boring.  While it’s good to have a regular routine in place, there are sure to be things that you could only dream of doing.

Make a list of things that you would love to be able to do for yourself SOMEDAY.  And dream big…  It could be something like taking a vacation somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, meeting a celebrity you idolize or attending the concert of your favorite artist.  Or perhaps you always wanted to learn how to snowboard or ride in a helicopter.

It’s alright if some things on your self-care bucket list are unrealistic, but having them written down will keep you motivated and inspired to live your best life.

.

Schedule It

Thinking about a self-care routine is a great first step.  But writing it down and scheduling it makes it real and harder to avoid.  Schedule in your self-care on the calendar or set a reminder in your phone.  Your self-care appointments should be handled with just as much importance as medical appointments, meetings or sports practices.  Adding it to the family calendar lets everyone else know that you plan to make yourself a priority too.

If for some reason, you didn’t get a chance to fit in your self-care, don’t ignore it.  Re-schedule it for another time.  If you are strict about keeping up with your self-care routine, then the rest of your family will follow suit.

Try signing up for a monthly self-care subscription box.

Having a box delivered to your door is like a regular reminder to take care of yourself.  Plus, the anticipation of getting a box full of goodies is something to look forward to each month and can get you excited about self-care.

Blume

meetblume.com

Blume is the self-care box designed specifically for “that time of the month.”  You get a choice of organic pads and tampons plus add in some extras such as acne treatments, chocolaty treats or essential oils to help soothe cramps and PMS.

Pampered Mommy Box

pamperedmommybox.com

The Pampered Mommy Box is exactly what it sounds like.  It was created FOR moms, BY moms so you can expect a monthly box full of self-care items with an excellent value.  Unlike regular subscription boxes, this one can be purchased on a one time only basis, so it’s a great gift idea for your wish list. (You also get a discount when you sign up for their e-mail list!)


Once you’ve incorporated a regular self-care routine into your life, you should be able to see the difference it makes.  Over time, taking a few minutes each day to do something just for you won’t seem so foreign, both to yourself and to your children.  They will learn that mom’s going to take that shower and then she will feel happier.

Mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety should especially focus on maintaining a proper self-care routine.  It’s a great way to keep symptoms under control, regardless of what other form of treatment we are seeking.  While it might seem impossible to make lists of things that bring joy, mothers with postpartum depression can focus on small things and work their way up.

To help you create a working self-care routine, download this FREE Self-Care Workbook!

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
download the workbook

Download a Free Self Care Workbook

How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom

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.

In the aftermath of postpartum depression, the key to keeping symptoms under control is to stay one step ahead of them, otherwise it’s very easy to drown in the shuffle of everyday motherhood.

Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression

Self Care Tips for Battling 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.


What is self-care?

It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU.  Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially SAHMs.  Because 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 parent is always to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the priority 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.

www.peaceofmom.com

If you need some additional help trying to figure out how to fit self-care into your already busy life, you can join this FREE Self-Care Challenge or enroll in the Love Your Life Self-Care e-course from Peace of Mom.

 


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.
How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a Stay-At-Home Mom
.

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.

.

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.

.

Start with the basics

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.

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

If it means putting on a show for them, or letting them use the tablet while they sit on the bathroom floor – then do it.  If all else fails – take them in with you!

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!!!

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep
.

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.

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.

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. 


Add in some extras

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 D – get 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)

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
.

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.

.

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]

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
.

  • 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. 

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

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download
Self Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression