Every day the to-do list gets bigger, the chores pile up, the errands seem endless. The stress piles up and deep down, we know we need to find ways to relax. But why does that always seem impossible and what can we do to change it?
For years as a single mom, I thought I had no chance of self-care. Once you have a kid to take care of, everything about yourself takes a back seat. But whether it’s kids or spouses or work… there are always going to be things that hold us back from taking care of ourselves. These 20 ways to practice self-care will become essential to your well-being!
It took me years to realize that in order to be a better mom, a better friend, and a better employee, I had to start taking care of myself. Just like on an airplane… put the mask on yourself before you strap in on to anyone else. It seems funny, but this theory is accurate in every part of our lives.
taking time for yourself
When I didn’t take care of myself, I had a really hard time finding the strength to take care of anyone else. But I had to get over the guilt of putting myself first and start to realize that by doing that, I could better take care of everything around me.
Self-care is not about being indulgent. It’s not about being selfish. It’s about giving ourselves relief from stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed which can lead to depression and anxiety. Healing our minds is just as important as healing our bodies. We need to get over the guilt of putting ourselves first and start learning self-care.
Self-care can be different for everyone. Going to the gym or going out for a run can be relaxing for some. For me, that just creates more stress at how out of shape I am! The key to self-care is finding what works for you and implementing those techniques.
I’ve put together a list of 20 different self-care practices that are easy to fit into your already crazy schedule. Most of these activities can be done in 10 minutes or can take longer if you need it to. The key is finding what makes you clear your mind and relax.
- Write in a journal. Expressive writing not only allows you to get your thoughts and feelings out of your mind, but some studies have shown that just 15 minutes of expressive writing before a big test or a stressful presentation can reduce anxiety and make you perform better.
- Go Outdoors. Fresh air can do wonders for the body and mind. Try to find a daily routine you already do and go outdoors instead. Have your morning coffee on the patio, or do your yoga in the backyard. Don’t like running? Me either. But don’t let that stop you from taking a 15-minute leisurely walk instead.
- Give yourself a facial mask. The application of the mask itself can be relaxing. Apply the mask and spend the 10 minutes its on just meditating or taking deep slow breaths.
- Practice scent therapy. Try using a roll on scent therapy like this one. Similar to aromatherapy, you just roll on a scent to your wrists and spend a few minutes in a quiet room breathing in the scent to relax.
- Take a nap. Yeah, I know! Every mom’s dream. But you can find the time to fit this in. A 20 minutes nap is all you need to reenergize. Even if you don’t fall asleep, just lay in a quiet room with your eyes closed for those 20 minutes.
- Read a book. This obviously only works if you are a book reader to begin with, but even if you are not, read a magazine or a newspaper instead.
- Research a Topic. Has there been a topic you’ve been interested in but never had time to learn more about it? Something you saw on the news, or some new trend you heard someone talking about. Spend 15 minutes researching it. You learn something new and just spent 15 minutes focusing on something other than your to-do list.
- Try on your clothes. I admit I do this. I try on old clothes or try to create new outfits out of what I already own. Doing this makes me feel good about the way I look and lets me be creative by trying new things.
- Color. Seriously. Haven’t you heard of all the adult coloring books out there? Graban intricate coloring book and a set of colored pencils and spend 20 minutes coloring like you did as a kid. You have no idea how relaxing it can be.
- Browse your local library. I love reading so there is something about the smell of old paper books that I will always like. But even if you’re not a big reader, try casually strolling through the library anyway. It’s quiet. They don’t allow anyone on their cell phones. The calming quietness of a library can relax anyone.
- Try a new hairstyle or makeup look. Just like trying on your clothes, spending some time crafting a new hairdo or makeup look can be a way for you to express your creativity. Go ahead and try something crazy you would never wear in public. It’s guaranteed to make you smile. Even if its just because you’re laughing at yourself!
- Take a bubble bath. I don’t need to be the one to tell you that a nice long soak in a tub will feel great. But with all the scents and aromatherapies they have nowadays, it’s easy to find something that can relax the senses as you soak.
- Listen to music. If you love music or even just slightly like it, take 20 minutes to put your headphones on, lay back with your eyes closed and ignore the world around you. Or dance to the music. Whichever you prefer!
- Have your favorite dessert. Almost every grocery store has a bakery that sells individual desserts. I often buy one or two each time I go shopping and hide them in my house until the moment where I can sit back and relax and enjoy my favorite dessert all by myself.
- Start a bullet journal. Bullet journalling in the newest craze if you like being organized and creative. A cross between a day planner and a doodling book, you can easily sneak away and spend time just drawing pictures.
- Watch your favorite show. Most people don’t see watching tv as a way to unwind but for some people it is. Especially when you have kids and watching a show uninterrupted is like winning the lottery. Record all your absolute favorite shows and find 30 minutes at a time to watch it in quiet. No kids, no phones.
- Start a hobby or revisit an old one. Want to be a photographer? Like painting? You don’t need to take a course and spend hundreds on all the best equipment. you can learn photography skills with most phones these days. There are many hobbies you can learn by just spending 20 minutes a day on.
- Learn a new language. There are apps for everything and more then I can name that will help you learn any language you want. Don’t plan on becoming fluent. Just start with the goal of learning some new expressions. Over time you might be surprised at how much you learn!
- Create a Vision board. Vision boards are a great way to focus on your goals and visualize yourself achieving them. But making them can be just as fun. Get out your magazines and scissors and get crafting.
- Start a blog. Even if no one ever sees it. Blogging can be a great way to get out your feelings, learn how to be a better writer, and let you be creative all at the same time.
Self-care can mean something different to everyone. If nothing on this list suits you, then try to find something that does. No matter what it is, find something that will heal your mind and allow you to relax. Just like if you got the flu, you would allow your body to heal. We all need to treat our minds the same way.
Learning how to take some time to myself and find little ways to alleviative the stress of day to day life turned around and made me a much better mom.