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!
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!
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.
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!
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. There are even several health benefits of being outdoors. 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.
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!