Self-care for women is more like a survival guide than an occasional spa day. As a mom, I’ve particularly learned that when things are getting tough at home, I need to up my self-care even more. Over the years, I’ve slowly developed the habits that help me feel good and want to get out of bed each day. I’m breaking down that routine into my mental health self-care, spiritual self-care, physical self-care, and self-care for bad days. Each of these small things keeps me going no matter what life…or my baby throws at me (teething, anyone?). I hope my practical routine will help inspire you to add any small actions you need to feel better on a daily basis.
Before you begin: I want to note that the title says ‘a real mom’s routine’ because that’s what this is. It isn’t a too-long list of things you should do but don’t have time for. It’s simply what I actually do as a mom to keep going day after day. That is what I want for you too. A routine that helps you take care of yourself in the simplest and most effective way possible.
Mental Health Self-Care
Daily: I recently started a practice of journaling out all my thoughts before I go to bed and it has been making a big difference. I have spent many, many nights trying to go to sleep but being bombarded by thought after thought. Sometimes an hour or two will slip away and I won’t even realize it because I’m just thinking thoughts. So, to deal with any anxiety and get those thoughts out, I turn to journaling. I first reflect on my day and bullet point what I did. Then, I’ll write down anything I want to do the next day, plus any other thoughts lurking around in my head. Those things seem to be what I think about when I can’t sleep. This practice works so well, my husband noticed I was a lot quieter when we went to bed. Turns out I don’t have much to say after I’ve written all my thoughts down! Now that’s a self-care practice that works.
Have you ever spent all day in your PJs or whatever clothes you threw on in the morning just because you didn’t feel like you had the time or energy to change? I’ve discovered with my baby that I have to make getting ready myself a priority or it just won’t happen. Because I like to get all the sleep and energy I can, I’ll sleep until 7 am and get my baby up for breakfast. Then, after changing her diaper we’ll both go to my bedroom and I’ll wash my face, brush my teeth and get my allergy medicine before getting dressed. It’s crazy how easy it is to skip this simple self-care practice, but it is such essential self-care for women at every age.
Bi-weekly: As an introvert, I need my alone time. Or as my husband and I say to each other, “Do you need to chill?” I have created my perfect place to chill in our closet. I always dreamed of a book nook, so this closet cave is my closest alternative. It’s a space about the size of a kid’s bed made comfy with foam pads, a big comforter and several pillows. It may not sound like much but it’s heavenly for a mama who’s ready to chill. I’ll often go here when the baby’s asleep or my husbands giving me a little break. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a different place for a bit and relax.
Daily: I make sure to eat when my baby eats because I know I might not have time otherwise. This means we give her toast for breakfast because she can feed herself while I eat. Your nutrition is just as important as anyone else’s! You need that energy, mama.
Bi-weekly: I’ve been a member at F45 and loved the chance to get stronger. I think it’s helped me with all the baby lifting. 🙂 But I also really want to get back into pilates and maybe even running. Science shows exercise really does make you happier (even happier than making more money) and I’ll take all the good endorphins I can get.
Monthly: I’m a member at a local massage place where I get credit for a monthly massage. It’s amazing to me how affordable this actually was–and I bet if you think massage would really help you, you could find some reasonably priced locations near you. Having a baby has caused a lot of pain in my body, so I live for these sessions. I tried out several people before I found a massage therapist that really helped ease the pain in my back and hips. At times I’ll think about cutting this from our budget but I know I really do need it for my self-care.
Daily: I pray and read my scriptures every day. It’s nice to be able to ponder something of greater consequence than my to-do list for the day. I need this practice in order to have a better perspective when things get tough during the day. I’ll also listen to conference talks from church leaders occasionally. All these small practices help remind me that God is right here with me even when it’s hard.
At night, my family and I say a prayer with our baby before she goes to sleep and a prayer as a couple before we go to sleep. I hope that our baby will grow up feeling even more loved as she hears us pray for her and talk about how much we care for her. I know during prayers with my husband it’s always touching to notice what he’s thankful for about me and how he’s asking God to help me. That was something I never expected when we got married! This is a simple way we create more love in our family every day.
Self-Care for Bad Days
In the depths of teething nightmares, I finally experienced what it felt like to really not want to get out of bed and do the day. Luckily, I have a great husband who helps cheer me up and helps me figure out what I need to get through these bad days. Right now my bad day formula is this: A breakfast worth looking forward to (toast with dutch sprinkles), a really good book to read, sleeping in if possible, a fun passion project to work on (try finding your ikigai), and a break sometime in the near future.
After going through this really difficult time with my baby, I feel like I’ve finally been able to accept that bad days are temporary and it’s ok to feel the pain and process it. I used to think thoughts like, “I can’t do this,” or “How am I going to do this again with another baby?!” Now, I remember this is all temporary and it’s good to cry it out sometimes. Then, I make sure to get my self-care for bad days formula in.
This week, I could feel a hard day coming on so I decided to go out to breakfast and get hot chocolate. That’s what made me excited to get up in the morning. It’s good to change things up and add in more things you love when the going gets tough. However, a good book and sprinkle toast might not be what you need. Think about what you look forward to, the small things you really enjoy about life and add that into your routine.
Customizing Self-Care for Women
Remember that self-care is not one-size-fits-all. You need to try different things on and figure out what helps you. Think of very small and simple ways you can take care of your mental health, physical health, and spirituality. Plus, you can prepare for those bad days by thinking about what extra things you’ll do then. Self-care for women is as simple as taking care of yourself so you feel good getting out of bed each day.
Your self-care may look like:
- Creative activities like drawing, knitting or painting
- Getting your fill of adult conversation and going out
- Writing a gratitude list or sending letters to loved ones
- Changing your eating or exercise habits to better fuel your body
- Adding in 15 minutes of spiritual study
- Creating a space to relax outdoors or inside
- Or simply wasting some time and not feeling bad about it
Do you have any go-to self-care routines? Share your ideas with us mamas below!