Squeeze in Some Self Care (in Less Than 5 Minutes!)

You know you need to practice some self care, but as a busy mom, where the heck are you going to find the time? It doesn’t all have to be hour long baths and days away from home. Here are some practical ways to squeeze in some self care in less than five minutes.

You’ll hear it from everyone- “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” “Put on your own oxygen mask.” “The best gift you can give your kids is a happy mom.”

But most of the time, all you get from those tropes is a little more guilt. Add “neglecting myself,” to the list of things that keep me up at night, I guess.

We think of self care activities as things that take up large blocks of time, and extravagant ways to take care of ourselves. But let’s face it, as busy moms, we’re not going to be getting those big blocks of time anytime soon.

So we’ve had to get creative. There are lots of quick ways to practice self care. Instead of focusing on getting self care “out of the way,” try to take care of yourself in little (fast!) ways throughout the day instead.

To that end, we’ve compiled this list of ways to fit in self care in less than five minutes. And we’re going to bet there is room in your day to take five little minutes to yourself. (And you might be surprised by what a difference it makes!)

a lavender field with text overlay that says "9 self care ideas in less than 5 minutes"

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Wear Your Mantra on Your Sleeve

Sometimes, we need to be our own cheerleader. When I need some encouragement, I have a few shirts that I wear to keep my spirits up. My friends know them as my “grumpy” shirts.

If I’m wearing my lemon print shirt, it means I’m reminding myself to make lemonade.

If I’ve got my “When You Can’t Find the Sunshine” tee, it means I need a reminder to stay positive.

And if I’ve got my “Actually, I Can” shirt on? It means I’ve got something to do today that I DO NOT want to do, and I need some encouragement to kick its ass.

It takes me zero extra minutes each day, but wearing an encouraging shirt helps to keep me positive and on track, no matter how busy or stressed I might be.

Brew a Cup of Tea

We once read a blog post about using a cup of tea to mark the different parts of the day. As work at home moms, we find this advice particularly useful. (Check out Awepothecary teas on Etsy; she’s got different teas to suit lots of different moods!)

a cup of tea in a cup that says "live the story you want to tell," in front of a bag of loose tea called heartlight

When it’s time to start my afternoon class, for example, I brew a cup of tea. It’s the signal I use to tell my brain that it’s time to collect myself and focus on my teaching.

a planner and a cup of tea in a mug that says "hustle juice"

And when work is done for the day, a cup of chamomile signals my brain that it’s time to relax.

It takes less than one minute to prepare a cup of tea, and then you can let it steep while you do something else. When you’re ready to transition to the next part of the day, your tea will be waiting to help see you through to the next task.

Bonus points if it’s in a great cup, like this sweary one about getting sh*t done, or this pretty one that reminds you to just keep going.

Multitask with a Podcast

Look, there are a lot of boring chores that come along with being a busy mom. But who’s to say you practice self care as a busy mom WHILE you work?

Make the mundane a little more fun by listening to a podcast while you fold laundry, do dishes, or sweep the floors. I like to listen to podcasts with all the bad words. If you’re the same, pop in some headphones so your kids will be none the wiser. Believe it or not, listening to a podcast has almost made me look forward to my evening dishes.

Keyword: almost.

Looking for a podcast to listen to? We love Watch What Happens Live for its Pop Culture updates, Ear Hustle for it’s compelling stories, and Office Ladies for it’s easy listenability (and how it fuels our Office obsession).

Related Post: Self Care Activities for Every Budget

Put on a Face Mask

Look it, I have no idea how effective these things actually are. But nothing screams “SELF CARE” quite like a face mask.

a mom and a daughter with mud masks on their faces

Slap on some mud or apply one of those paper masks before you start your evening routine of tooth brushing and lockign up, or fit it in while supervising your kids’ bedtime routine. Whenever you sneak it in, it’s a signal that you’re taking care of yourself for at least these few minutes of the day.

Epsom Salt Foot Soak (And Fast Pedicure)

Chained to your desk? Take a minute to set up an epsom salt foot soak, and drop your tootsies in as you type.

a mom soaking her feet in a bowl of water

When you’re done with your work, you can reward yourself with a super fast polish change if you’ve got the time. Happy toes make people happy. They just do.

Plug in a Diffuser

I’m obsessed with my essential oils difuser, and not in an “you’ve GOT to try essential oils” kind of way. Honestly, I just like the smell.

an essential oil diffuser and a bottle of white grapefruit essential oil I recently bought an electric diffuser and a set of scents, and it’s amazing what a difference the smells can make in my mood. I use White Grapefruit when I need an energy boost, and pop in something from my clean scents pack when I’m cleaning. (Next time, I’m getting this “Freshly Baked” scent pack.)

essential oils in various scents

Changing up the smell of the house is an easy, zero time commitment way to make yourself a little happier.

Related Post: MicroLuxury Monday: Find YOU

Listen to Your Favorite Jams

I use songs like a meditation. Sad? I’ll embrace it for the length of one “I’m okay” by Christina Aguilera, then brace myself and move on. Unsure of myself? Blast “Me, Too” by Megan Trainor or “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled.

Even if you don’t have time to focus on the song, playing music that suits your mood, cheers you up, or motivates you is a self care activity with zero effort and a BIG impact on your day.

List Three Things You’re Grateful For

Sometimes we can get in a funk that’s hard to get out of. It seems like everything is going wrong, and the world is out to get us.

When that mood hits us, we try to take a minute to make a quick list of things we’re grateful for. According to Pyschology Today, an attitude of gratitude has scientifically proven benefits to our moods and mental health.

You can grab a gratitude journal on Amazon, jot them down in your planner or on a scrap of paper, or just make a list in your head. It’s a great way to focus on the positive and turn your day around.

Related Post: Bullet Journaling in a Passion Planner

Tidy Up Where You Are

I don’t know about you, but physical clutter in my house leads to mental clutter in my head. I don’t always have time to keep the house as tidy as I’d like (freaking kids, man), but sitting in a mess does nothing good for my mental health.

an image of type-blocks spelling "clear your space" with balled up, colorful paper around it.

Sometimes, I’ll set a quick five minute (or even 1 minute) timer and tidy up only the area that I can see. If I’m working at my kitchen table, I can usually get it cleared in about a minute. Before I cook, I’ll take a couple minutes to remove mess from the counters.

Don’t get bogged down in cleaning everything. Just clean up what you can see, and you’ll still get a big boost.


Self care activities for moms don’t have to feel like another item on your to do list. You can fit in self care in less than five minutes, without adding yourself to the list of people you need to take care of. Find small ways to sneak in things that make you feel better, and sprinkle them generously throughout your day.

What are your favorite quick self care activities? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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