When we spend so much time taking care of others, it can be easy to feel super wrapped up in all of our responsibilities and lose sight of our own wellbeing. As a mother, it can be even more difficult to find the time to be away from home or even enjoy some fresh air outside. One great alternative is enjoying the wellness benefits of gardening.
How lovely would it be to not only have an outdoor edible landscape, but also your own little peaceful escape from reality? Edible landscaping is all about adding on foods that make sense for both your garden and your dinner table. It means finding the right fruits and veggies that go well with any plants you may already have, along with adding on to the beauty of your front or backyard.
Wellness benefits of gardening
Not only is gardening considered a very soothing and mindful activity, but it is actually a form of ecotherapy, which is actually also shown to be quite beneficial for mothers. Gardening can be done as a way to quiet the mind from everyday to-dos, while instilling a sense of personal commitment to a more holistic way of living.
On a more scientific note, it can also invite in more fresh oxygen into your home, your mind and body. Allowing you and your family to breathe easier with each passing day, especially whenever you find yourself caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
So taking the time to invest in your own edible landscape is like developing a relationship with your own little natural and intimate sanctuary. Because the art of gardening truly comes with patience and dedication, it’s always nice to have a well thought-out plan of what you want in order to get started.
Read below for some pro-tips on how to get started.
Tips for starting your own garden
Familiarize yourself with the landscape
What type of climate do you live in? Is it predominantly sunny, humid, or dry? Get to know what types of plants grow well in your region, as this is the first step to ensuring that your garden not only grows well, but is also more eco-friendly and sustainable.
Another important factor is studying what areas of your yard receive the most sunlight. Many outdoor plants need around six hours of sunlight per day, so prioritize those well-lit areas for setting up your leafy friends.
For shaded areas, consider the following as good options that require less attention from the sun:
Regardless of whether you have loads of sunlight or cloudy shady weather, the important thing is to be mindful of your selection so that it feels appropriately matched with its surrounding habitat.
Switch out any toxic pesticides or fertilizer for organic bug repellant and compost
Most pesticides are not meant to be ingested by people. So keep you and your veggies safe by incorporating more organic and toxic-free solutions into any safe guarding methods used in your garden.
Delineate a walkway for better organization and accessibility.
One easy idea you can implement is setting aside a walking distance between your plants so that you can easily move around while tending to them. Some examples of how you might do this are by adding bark or stones to separate the walking versus planting zone.
In the end, it’s all about what calls out to you, your personal taste, and your family’s home space. With so much going on all around us all the time, having a quiet space to appreciate nature, cultivate our own home grown produce, and being able to bring more mindful practices into your everyday life is well worth the effort.
Rebeca Camacho is a content creator who focuses on weaving in insightful perspectives into various forms of communication. Her deep enthusiasm for digital marketing and crafting perceptive narratives has led her to write about various subjects from entrepreneurship to mindfulness.
Self-care isn’t just splurging on new gadgets and outfits for a quick boost of serotonin. A little retail therapy definitely has its benefits, but self-care can also be enjoyed on a small budget because it’s about managing your well-being by tending to your needs.
It’s important to take time each week to reconnect with the present moment and yourself. This allows you to acknowledge your emotions, mental health, and physical wellness while improving your overall well-being with a little pampering.
There are thousands of ways to do this, from a weekly yoga class to browsing new releases at your favorite book store. Of course, you can pamper yourself without spending a fortune. Schedule weekly “you” time with these self-care ideas for a happier, healthier you.
Enjoy a Walk
Walking is an underrated form of exercise. Regular walks can improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your bones, and reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes. All without expensive equipment or a gym membership. It’s a good way to relax by yourself or enjoy with your friends, family, or pet.
Take In The Scenery
Forest bathing is a growing trend that taps into the proven health benefits of plants. All you need is to take a walk through the woods to enjoy the sights, smells, and positive energy of nature. This is a great way to enjoy self-care on a budget since Mother Nature is free!
Time in nature is hugely beneficial to your mental well-being and can improve your mindfulness practices. Even if you can’t hit the trails, you can benefit from indoor plants, gardens, or even images of green spaces.
Dress to Impress
Wearing your favorite outfit, doing your hair, and trying a new makeup look can all help you look and feel your best. If you’re really looking for a mood boost, try incorporating some color theory into your wardrobe.
Yellow is sure to help you feel cheery, while red can give you the confidence you need to ace a job interview. It doesn’t cost a cent to dress up for yourself, though you can treat yourself to a new outfit or accessory every once in a while.
Jot In Your Journal
Journals are perfect tools for planning, processing, and creativity. Take time to journal each week and consider setting a writing goal for yourself.
You may want to improve your mindfulness, and gratitude journaling is a great way to do just that. If you’re trying to be more creative, choose a writing prompt each week or create interesting characters in your journal. No matter what you write, make sure it’s serving you and your needs.
Celebrate With a Spa Day
The classic self-care spa day lets you unwind and relax at home. Start with a soothing bath and enjoy some aromatherapy with essential oils, candles, or bath products. Then enjoy a rejuvenating facial, mani/pedi, or moment for meditation.
Whichever spa day activities you choose, schedule this time with your family so you can shut your phone off without stress. This is your time to enjoy a few hours to yourself without worrying about work, chores, and other distractions.
Regardless of your self-care budget, choose a day each week where you can dedicate a couple of hours to your needs. Building self-care into a schedule will help you prioritize your wellness so you can be the best and brightest version of yourself.
Enjoy these additional self-care ideas and pamper yourself without guilt.
Briana Marvell is a content creator from Austin with interests in personal finance and housing. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her hiking with her dog or enjoying a good book. Find her on LinkedIn & Twitter.
Moving to a new house is something that will take a lot of energy and can be stressful. You might feel overwhelmed, and at the very least, you will be emotional – such a big change will always cause these feelings, whether it’s positive or not. It’s crucial, therefore, that you don’t forget to practice plenty of self-care during a house move.
This is especially important if you have children to take care of; they will need you to be at your healthiest and happiest if they are to stay calm and de-stressed during this strange time. With all this in mind, here are some self-care tips you can enjoy during a house move which should make the process a smoother one.
Focus On Something That Excites You
Having an expert removal company such as North American Van Lines Canada to help you with your relocation is an excellent way to stay calm – they will take on a lot of the hard work and all the heavy lifting for you. However, there will still be other things that take up space in your mind, such as the cost of your new mortgage, new schools, finding new friends, and much more.
So instead of thinking of these things, why not think of something that excites you instead? What is it about the house you’re moving to that you love the most? Perhaps it’s a balcony where you can drink your morning coffee, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s close to the sea, or perhaps your commute will be cut in half. How are you planning to decorate it, will you have a dedicated self care space or well lit window for your houseplants? Think of the thing that excites you the most and focus on it. This will help to reduce your anxiety and give you a more positive feeling.
Don’t Forget To Eat
With so much packing to do in the days leading up to the house move, the move itself, and then the unpacking, not to mention trying to keep up with work or helping your family, and exploring your new neighborhood, it can be days before you eat properly once the process starts. Whether this is because you are too stressed, you don’t have the time, or you’ve packed your kitchen up (or not yet unpacked it at the other end), you’ll feel unwell if it goes on too long, and you will have mood swings and many other physical responses too.
No matter what, don’t forget to eat. Having takeout and microwave meals isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing, and ensure that you get your kitchen ready as soon as you can so you can start being healthy again in your new place. The longer you are out of your usual routine, the harder it will be to feel comfortable getting back into it again.
One of the best things you can do to make yourself feel better and enhance your wellbeing is to go outside. This form of self-care means that you not only breathe in the fresh air, but you also have to slow down and even stop what you’re doing, leave the house, and go out.
Even if you’re only in the fresh air for a few minutes, your mind will start to calm, your breathing will be deeper, and you’ll feel instantly more relaxed. If you can go for a walk, that’s even better. When you go back in, you’ll feel much more energized and ready to pack (or unpack) another box.
Mother’s Day might be behind us, but that doesn’t mean mom’s pampering stops! Self-care is so important regardless, but for moms, it’s vital for staying sane and continuing to juggle many responsibilities in the age of COVID-19.
For any self-care newbies, the concept might seem like a buzzword, but studies show its remarkable benefits for overall well-being and health. Self-care isn’t about slacking off or going to the spa, but the practice of taking action towards preserving one’s health.
This past year, moms have been forced to do the impossible– balance working from home, helping their kids with virtual learning, and keeping their homes running smoothly. Half of all moms have seen their workloads increase and to balance it all, put their own needs on the backburner.
If you’re a mom who deserves some time off or you know a mom who has been deprioritizing her own needs, the following 16 self-care ideas are for you. Let’s get started by listing different ideas for different kinds of moms!
Self-Care Ideas for Stay-At-Home Moms
Stay-at-home moms have not received the breaks they need as kids no longer have sporting programs, extracurricular activities, or school a part of their schedule. Here are a few ideas for incorporating self-care as a stay-at-home mom.
Indulge in “me-time”
Stay-at-home moms might feel like prioritizing time for themselves in a house full of kids is “selfish” however, self-care is about replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s. Creating a standard of wellness and personal development in your household will also encourage your kids to do the same!
Talk to someone who can relate
Discuss the highs and lows of motherhood with someone who can relate to you. Venting to another mom can grant you the perspective you need to feel like you have support when you need it.
Research shows that meditation can sharpen your mental awareness, prevent insomnia and even help you feel more present and attentive when caring for your kids.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms Who Work
While the “rest is for the wicked” mindset, might prove successful in the workplace, breaks and relaxation time is needed for moms to balance work and family. Try the following self-care ideas geared at working moms.
Listen to a thought-provoking podcast
For busy moms who only have free time in the car or on the run, try listening to an inspirational podcast. Follow podcasters like Brené Brown or Oprah who converse with leaders in society to feel courageous during a chaotic climate.
Unplugging from technological devices allows your body to naturally shut down and relax for restful sleep.
Put it in your schedule
TEDx speaker and holistic nutritionist Rebecca Cafiero recommends blocking off time on her calendar for self-care. She says “If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real.”
Self-Care Ideas for Essential Workers
Moms who are also essential workers have been called to perform at the same level while experiencing psychological pressures from the pandemic. Explore the following ideas for getting the rest you need.
Look to others for support
Many moms are not able to receive the support they need from friends and family due to social distancing guidelines. Instead, ask friends and families to help you in other ways like going grocery shopping for you, dropping off dinners or virtually teaching your kids.
Creating boundaries is not an overnight process—and some people or family members are unaware that they’re constantly crossing them. Use it as an opportunity to instruct your coworkers or family on how you best communicate, when it’s appropriate to disrupt you (if ever), and what they can realistically expect from you.
Medical director Dr. Ben Crocker recommends “Intentionally creating ‘shutdown’ time in your schedule.” He says “This can be a healthy time alone, for meditation and quietude.”
Check-in with colleagues
Finding meaning in helping others can build a support system and create normalcy in a chaotic time. Check-in with colleagues to let them know you’ve got their back.
Self-Care Ideas for Moms-To-Be
As an expecting mom, it’s easy to become fixated on preparing for your baby’s arrival, but cultivating your well-being is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Try some of the following ideas for moms-to-be!
Practice saying “no”
From friends offering unsolicited parenting advice to strangers asking to touch your belly, learning how to set boundaries can help you regain control of your pregnancy.
Get some exercise
As your pregnancy extends, there are many benefits to exercising for both mom and baby. Ask your doctor what a safe exercise session looks like for you based on your health.
Eat healthy foods
Food is medicine, and when expecting it’s important to make sure you are eating healthy and nutrient-rich food. Indulge in foods with protein, vitamins, and fiber such as salmon, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and whole grains.
Explore clean beauty
Many personal care products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to you and your baby’s health. Read up on clean beauty picks for pregnant women and indulge in pampering yourself with fun and safe products.
Mother’s Day may happen once a year, but self-care for moms should be practiced every day. Find little ways to incorporate these ideas into your routine to stay happy and healthy all year long.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.
As a stay-at-home mom, finding ways to take care of yourself isn’t always easy—the kids want to play, then eat, and then play some more. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. However, finding ways to take care of your needs is crucial to your well-being. Remember to reach out to loved ones and do something that relaxes you, whether it’s discovering a new hobby, going for a run, or taking a nap. By finding various self-care tips for stay-at-home moms, you’ll discover ways to feel rejuvenated.
A critical way to take care of yourself is to reach out to your inner-circle. Call friends and family for help, so you can get a break. Various ways you can recharge your energy range from going out to lunch or taking a hot soak in the bath while someone watches the kids. Communicating your struggle is important because people may not realize you need help if you stay quiet.
Talk To Your Inner Circle
Reaching out for help is of the most important self-care tips for stay-at-home moms because being a mom is a full-time job that requires around-the-clock care. Sometimes, it may feel like your hard work goes unnoticed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider joining a local support group where you can share your feelings with other stay-at-home moms while your spouse or other trusted individual watches the kids for a few hours.
Find time in your day to get in some exercise. It doesn’t have to be at a gym or going for a walk to clear your head. By finding ways to stay active with your baby, you allow yourself to decompress. Furthermore, your body releases endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones you get when you work out, so you’ll feel happier and more energized.
Utilize Outdoor Time
Additionally, exercising outside gives you a change of pace and scenery. If you have no one to watch the kids, consider working in a jog on the way to the park where the kids can then play with other children. As little as 15 minutes of exercise can ease your stress and leave you feeling refreshed.
Sometimes, you forget about the hobbies you once loved doing, and rediscovering them is easier said than done; however, doing so is important to refreshing yourself. Yoga, for example, helps you relax and discover ways to practice mindfulness. Whether it’s partaking in a new hobby or rediscovering an old one, your options are endless. Try out a few of the following:
If you’re an artist, find twenty minutes to draw or paint while the kids nap or watch television. Enjoying your hobbies on your own is crucial because it’s about giving yourself time, and everyone needs space to feel refreshed and ready to conquer the day!
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
It can be tough to find the motivation for self care in the winter.
It’s in our nature to want to hibernate under the covers all winter long and avoid leaving the house. But staying isolated and failing to take proper care of ourselves during the winter months can lead to bouts of seasonal depression. Self care is important year round, so despite the miserable weather, we should always try to make time for it.
Here are a few ideas for self care in the winter that are sure to keep you feeling warm and cozy.
1. Light a Fire in the Fireplace
There’s no better way to warm up in the winter than sitting by the fireplace. You can read, write, listen to music, watch your favorite movie or even just sit quietly and enjoy the crackling sound of the flames. Flickering light is said to have a meditative effect on the mind which helps to reduce stress. In some parts of the world, firelight is essential to the practice of hygge during the winter.
2. Relax by Candlelight
In the same way, dancing candlelight can help you relax as well. Stock up on candles over the winter and light them whenever you get the chance. Light a few in the kitchen while you’re cooking or dine by candlelight. Keep one on your bedside table while you relax in bed or beside the tub while you soak. Just remember not to fall asleep while they’re lit or leave them unattended, of course.
3. Curl Up With a Cozy Blanket
Self care in the winter is all about wrapping yourself in warm, cozy blankets. You may have several blankets in every room that you use, or maybe you have a favorite one that you practically live in. The soft touch of a blanket wrapped around us helps us to feel safe and secure. Being warm is also better for our blood circulation and improves our overall mood.
4. Take a Hot Bath or Shower
Soaking in a hot bath or standing under a hot shower is a great way to warm up in the winter. Try adding Epsom salts to the bath water for an added dose of magnesium. Or throw in a few shower steamers filled with essential oils. If you find that you prefer hot showers more frequently in the winter, make sure to use all natural products that will keep your hair and skin soft and moisturized without overloading on chemicals.
5. Visit a Thermal Spa
If you haven’t already, check out a thermal spa in your area. They are great places to visit in the colder months because you can access the full range of hot and cold. Natural, mineral hot springs have healing waters that not only warm you up, but can provide relief from muscle and joint pains.
6. Get a Hot Stone Massage
Obviously any kind of massage therapy is a great way to practice self care in the winter. But if you’re not a fan of deep tissue massage, try opting for a hot stone massage instead. The warm volcanic rocks strategically placed on your body can loosen up tight muscles and reduce inflammation, stress and tension. P.S. don’t forget to put SpaFinder gift cards on your wish list to use for this!
7. Warm Up Your Feet
You can warm up your entire body simply by starting with the feet. Warm feet will help you sleep better but if you’re not comfortable wearing socks to bed, try plugging in a heated mattress pad or blanket just at the foot of your bed. Invest in a pair of ultra cozy socks or slippers to wear in the winter. For added benefits, roll some essential oil blends onto the soles of your feet before slipping them into socks to absorb all the goodness.
8. Sip Some Herbal Tea
Don’t forget to keep warm from the inside too! Sipping on herbal tea is a great self care activity to do daily. There are many health benefits of drinking green tea or just plain hot water with lemon. But you can find herbal teas for almost any ailment these days. There’s a reason why it’s such an integral part of any ancient culture.
9. Visit a Steam Room
Many gyms or indoor pools give you access to a steam room so definitely take advantage of them in the winter. Steam is a great way to detoxify the body, clean out the pores and help boost our immune systems. It’s especially helpful to loosen things up when you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or chest congestion. Just make sure to have a good shower and don’t forget to exfoliate and moisturize afterwards to get rid of all the toxins you’ve just sweat out.
10. Go for a Run
Staying active is one of the most important self care practices in the winter. It’s all too easy to neglect our bodies when they’re always covered up. So bundle up and go for a run around the neighborhood. You might start off feeling cold, but the longer you go, the warmer you’ll get. Or run indoors on a treadmill. It’s important to get your heart rate up at least once a day, which will improve your blood circulation to keep you warm all over.
11. Do Some Yoga Stretches
Meditative yoga is another great form of self care in the winter. Despite it’s slow and concentrated movements, you will work up quite a sweat holding those positions. Stretching daily will help our bones and muscles from getting weak over the winter months, when we might not as be as active.
12. Spend Time in a Sauna
Similar to steam rooms, saunas can be found at most gyms, indoor pool areas or spas. The dry heat of a sauna focuses directly on helping you sweat out toxins in your body. You can even find places that offer hot yoga, which is a yoga class done entirely in a sauna for added benefits. Search SpaFinder to see locations near you that offer these specific type of services.
13. Bake Something Warm and Delicious
Baking is a great winter activity, especially around the holidays. But don’t do it out of necessity or you’ll just stress yourself out. Bake just for the fun of it. Having a warm oven on will heat up the whole house and the delicious smells coming from it are an entirely different form of aromatherapy. And then go ahead and indulge. Use the real chocolate and the full fat cream and don’t skimp on the sprinkles.
14. Make a Pot of Soup
Nothing warms you up faster in the winter than a delicious bowl of hot soup. Soup days are perfect and easy for those dreary days when you’re stuck in the house. Or have a pot ready to go for when you get in from being outside in the cold all day. Try making a bone broth from scratch or get the kids to help you make an easy veggie soup. Soup is a winter time staple but also light and healthy.
15. Knit a Scarf
The winter months are a great time to start a new project. With all the extra time spent indoors, you’ll need something to keep you occupied or you’ll end up with a bad case of cabin fever. Knitting a scarf, hat or mittens for yourself, your kids or a loved one is a great place to start. Or work on some other form of art therapy. Creating something will give you a sense of pride and boost your confidence. Depending on how good your skills are, you can even give some away as handmade Christmas presents.
16. Cuddle With Someone You Love
Finally, the best way to stay warm this winter is to spend lots of time cuddled up with the ones you love. Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness like postpartum depression or just a case of the winter blues, nothing heals better than a hug. You’ll stay warm simply by sharing body heat, and you’ll get a mood boost from spending time with others. So this winter, if you plan to hibernate indoors, make sure you’ve got someone to spend it with and find ways to take care of yourself while still keeping warm.
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. You can still socialize without having to leave the house if you need to.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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. If you want to lose weight or get fit, you can amp up the intensity of your rides to burn calories faster. Cycling interval training, which is essentially alternating between periods of low-intensity and high-intensity cycling, can provide the workout to help your shed off those extra pounds and get more fit. For interval training, using cycling tools, such as a power meter and a heart-rate monitor, can help ensure that you make every session count and that you accomplish your goals.
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.
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. Once traveling out of town becomes safer, you should definitely try camping outdoors. It will do wonders for your and your family’s mental health to be surrounded by nature after being cooped inside for months. For outdoor activities, a lightweight backpack for travelers is indispensable for all your camping essentials.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.