Moms wear themselves thin on the regular. But are there self care activities for moms that will actually make a difference in the long term? That’s a resounding YES.
We hear it all the time- “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” But whoever said that? Yeah, they must have never met a mother. Because we pour from an empty cup ALL THE TIME.
But just because we CAN, doesn’t mean that we should. The demands on mothers are perhaps higher than they’ve ever been. Whether you go to work each day, work from home, or are a stay at home mom, your days are jam packed with things to do, missions to accomplish, and a mental load that would bring any regular person to their knees.
Even super moms need a little respite every once in a while.
As a recent viral article pointed out though, pretending that bubble baths are enough to make it all better is not doing anyone any favors. Instead, we need a systematic approach to caring for ourselves. Just as we make sure that our kids’ physical, mental, social, and emotional needs are met, we also need to make sure that we’re addressing our own needs to.
We’re not saying that wellness will come overnight, or that these tasks will take away the heavy burdens that mothers often feel. But will focusing on yourself sometimes help? That’s a resounding YES.
So whatever your budget, we’ve got ideas for self care activities that won’t break the bank (and that may just actually set you up for success, too).
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Self Care Activities Under $50
- Book a Massage (depending on where you go)- Personally, I’m not one of those people that finds a massage restorative. My mind races the whole time, and I start tensing up again as soon as I leave the spa. But I also think I’m in the minority on that. If massages make you feel better, and you can afford it, book yourself regular appointments. If it’s investing in your health and sanity? It’s worth it.
- Gym Membership– Moving your body on a regular basis will help you release endorphins, triggering a natural feeling of energy and wellness (in theory anyways). So whether it’s a spin studio, a low-rent gym, or our personal favorite, the YMCA, get a gym membership (and then actually use it).
Activities Under $25
- Pedicure with a Friend– Our favorite nail salon offers a spa pedicure for just $20 (and they have happy hour, too!). Is a pedicure strictly NECESSARY? No. But the feeling that you’re caring for yourself? Priceless.
- Dye Your Hair– For me, one of the keys to feeling good is to feel like I’m looking good. But I just can’t justify the expense- both financial and time wise- of heading to the salon every six weeks. Instead, I use eSalon to have custom color delivered to my door. When that beautiful pink box arrives on my doorstep, my husband knows that it also means I’ll need an hour to myself to dye my hair in peace.
- Invest in Childcare– Everyone needs a break sometimes. Don’t feel guilty about finding a safe place for your kids to play while you invest in yourself, or getting a trustworthy friend or sitter to come to you for a couple hours. Even if you think you can’t afford it, there are lots of creative childcare solutions to help you get some time to yourself.
- See a Movie – Sneak away after bedtime with a friend to a movie (preferably one with a bar inside). Use our money-saving movie hacks to keep it affordable!
Related Post: The Importance of Mom Friends
Self Care for Moms- Under $10
- New Makeup – Why does browsing for a new lipstick make SUCH a big difference? Christine likes to hit up Kmart (using her free cash, obviously, but you do you) while the kids are in school, and spend time picking out the perfect shade. something about a fresh, pretty lipstick just helps to turn her day around completely.
- Browse at Michael’s (with a budget!)– This one could get expensive, so come armed with your coupons and a strict budget. But prior to kids, I was a big fan of crafting. That itch hasn’t gone away just because little people live with me now. So every so often, I’ll set a $10 budget, head to Michaels, and find something that I can craft that week. It’s amazing, but when I have the supplies on hand, I’m much more likely to scratch the creative itch on a regular basis.
- Set Up a Command Center– Sometimes taking care of yourself means setting yourself up for success. With our working mom command center, you can do just that. With a few office supplies and a little time, you can finally get organized in a way that will stick. It’s not traditional “self care,” but it is a fantastic way to actually take care of yourself in a meanigful way.
Related Post: Survive (And THRIVE) with these Working Mom Life Hacks
How to Treat YoSelf for Under $5
- Cocktails at Applebee’s– This is our FAVORITE low rent way to get together with our girlfriends. Did you know that Applebees offers a $1 cocktail every month? And that many Applebee’s have All-Day Happy Hour? That means that Christine and I can sneak away after bedtime once a month for a cocktail and some mozzarella sticks for under $5 each. It’s a fantastic way to make time to get together with your girlfriends or your spouse, without paying an arm and a leg in the process.
- Coffee at a New Place– $5 will get you a coffee at Starbucks, sure, but it can also get you a coffee in a sweet little coffee shop somewhere too. A new coffee shop opened around the corner from me with $5 lattes, served in honest-to-goodness glass mugs and topped with latte art. Something about the experience feels really special, so even if I’m catching up on to-dos or just reading a book, it feels like a beautiful way to put aside my stress for an hour and just BE.
- Redbox Rental (with the GOOD popcorn) – Look, going to the movies as a parent is freaking expensive. Even with our money saving tricks, you’ve got tickets to get, concessions to buy, and a babysitter to pay. Too often, we miss out on movies we were dying to see. Set up your Redbox account in advance to notify you when that must-see blockbuster becomes available at a grocery store near you. When it does, scoop it up, make yourself some air-popped popcorn (it really is just BETTER) and relish in a movie experience at home.
- Paper Face Masks – Are they the most effective things on the planet? I mean, no. Probably not. But there’s something about a paper face mask that just screams self care. And it makes for pretty fun selfies, too.
- Bullet Journal– Depending on the journal you choose, you might find that this activity costs WAY more than $5. We personally love bullet journaling in a passion planner, but since you can get it done just as easily in a $1 composition book, we’re going to include this planner-journal-goal tracker here. It’s another one of those concrete ways you can take care of you- and actually make a difference in your day to day organization and habits- without taking up a ton of time or energy.
Related Post: Starting a Bullet Journal
Free Self Care Activities
- Hot Tub at the Gym – Consider changing up your gym routine and taking advantage of any amenities they offer. We’ll make arrangements to meet a friend at the hot tub or sauna at our gym while our kids are in the childcare there. It’s a good way to relax, refresh, and get some time to yourself.
- Detox Bath – We’d be doing you all a disservice if we didn’t include a bath in this list, especially since it really can work wonders. We like to add a little luxury by adding 1 c. of epsom salt, 1/2 c. of baking soda, and 10 drops of essential oil to the tub for a detox effect. (And if you don’t have this little gadget that let’s you fill a tub a little higher, you need it. See how it works here.)
- DIY Pedicure– No time or cash for a nail spa experience? Make your own at home. A fresh coat of paint really does wonders to turn my mood around when I’m in a funk. (I like to add these decorative nail stickers to make my pedicures look a little more salon-quality).
- Read a Book Outside- Spending time outside is a scientifically proven mood-booster. Pair that with another favorite, reading a book? That’s a winning combination. If you’re looking for lasting impact, consider reading self-help books such as You Are a Badass, Girl, Stop Apologizing, or (our favorite for work from home mamas), One Beautiful Dream.
- Take a Bike Ride– Something about the wind in your hair and coasting along at a high speed evokes childhood for us, and brings back a little carefree fun to our day. And the best part? This is one form of self care that you can do with your kids in tow (either alongside you or in this cool little bike seat).
- Make a Latte at Home– We love our Ninja Coffee Bar (worth every penny, in our humble opinion), but you can make a delicious latte at home even without an espresso machine. Find the details here!
- Go for a Run– Even if you don’t have a gym membership, you can break a sweat and kill some stress by taking a run. Pop your kids in a double stroller, or leave them with your partner for an hour or two (or if you’re like me, until you’re breathless or after twenty mintues, whichever comes first).
- Listen to a Podcast– This is my favorite way to turn something mundane (like washing dishes or commuting to work) a little more fun. Find something to help you (many of our friends swear by Rachel Hollis’ Rise Podcast) or something to make you laugh (we’re partial to Ask Me Another from NPR). Either way, it’ll help recover some of those hours you lose to things that are, frankly, a little boring.
- Get Up Early– Okay, if you’re a sleeper, this sounds like the exact OPPOSITE of self care. But once you get over the tiredness of it, you can really do a lot to take care of yourself in that first hour of the day. Click here to find out how to make a Miracle Morning happen at your house.
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Your self care activities don’t have to be elaborate to make a BIG difference in your day to day life.
It’s not about a pedicure, or a good book, or a workout. It’s about making as much time for things you want to do as you do for things you don’t want to do. You won’t find balance every day, and a single bath can’t take away the stress you experience on the daily. It takes practicing self care activities consistently to make a difference.
What would YOU love to make time for this week? We’d love to hear about your self care activities in the comments!
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