A little focus on yourself can go a long way towards feeling relaxed. Here are simple daily, weekly and monthly self-care tips you can start today!
Over the years as I’ve challenged myself to balance a multitude of activities, commitments and general to-dos, I’ve come to realize that one of the most important things I can do for myself is think about, well, me.
It seems obvious, of course, but most moms will tell you it’s harder than you think.
Getting sucked into the day-to-day grind of work, shuttling kids to activities, flinging dinner on the table, and collapsing into bed, is real life.
And it’s habit-forming.
While keeping up with the pace can be doable (and necessary), gosh it’s exhausting.
Simple Daily, Weekly and Monthly Self-Care Tips
The phrase “self-care” has become kind of a buzz word lately.
And, truth be told, I’m glad people are using the term more often. It’s hard for women to focus on themselves without guilt … to allow enjoyment of seemingly frivolous experiences simply because it’s good for them.
What a waste! There are so many other things I could be checking off the to-do list! I’m shirking responsibilities! I feel bad for leaving my kids!
The reality is, unless you take time for yourself, it’s easy to slip into a bitter routine of being a martyr.
No one likes a martyr, and being a martyr certainly doesn’t make you a more effective partner, parent, co-worker, or friend.
The good news is, it’s easy to arrange a plan of attack for yourself! Create easy-to-reference daily, weekly and monthly self-care tips and then make it a point to follow them.
Get your partner on board with this approach to self-care so that when you hedge or get wishy-washy, he or she can give you a push and encourage you to take time for yourself—without any guilt or complaints. Consider encouraging your partner to do the same, and be his or her enthusiastic champion!
We all know that the best way to follow through with goals is to write them down (more about S.M.A.R.T. goals here). It helps keep you accountable, and serves as a reminder of things you find important. I included a printable template at the bottom of the post. There are even resources for students to use and master the art of S.M.A.R.T. goals!
Here are some of the self-care tips I’ve put in place for myself over the years:
1. Wake an hour before everyone else.
It was after my oldest was a year old that I realized how important quiet mornings were to getting my day started off well. I’d spent the year prior waking up at five in the morning to pump before she woke up each morning. It was a necessity, then, as a breastfeeding working mom.
When she weaned, I suddenly found myself missing those early morning wake-ups, and decided that I’d still get up early, but use the time for myself. I enjoy a cup or two of coffee, spend time writing, or even read a little. When I kept a Bullet Journal, I’d use the time to expend a little creativity while also setting up my tasks for the day.
2. Enjoy a treat in the evening—everything from a glass of wine to milk and cookies.
Once my kids are in bed, it’s my time to relax that “always on” portion of my brain. Sure, now that my children are older and early bedtimes are a thing of the past, that kid-free evening time has waned a bit, but even if it’s just a savoring a glass of wine, noshing on a few cookies, or indulging in cinnamon rolls (the canned kind!), it’s worth it.
3. Watch an episode or two of a binge-worthy show.
With all the streaming abilities these days, it’s so easy to find a TV show that sucks you in—new shows, old series, or even productions made specifically for streaming platforms! Even if I have to fold laundry while watching, I make sure to catch at least an episode each evening.
4. Take a hot evening shower, even if there’s a plan to take a “regular” shower in the morning.
This seems silly, right? I promise it’s not.
Take ten minutes and stand under the hot water. Towards the end, lather up with your favorite body wash to help dry skin feel soothed and moisturized. Stand under the hot water for another few minutes, and then towel off, get into your pajamas, and slide into bed. SO. RELAXING. Especially in colder months.
5. Make the bed and clean the dirty dishes.
I take care of these things myself because it’s quick and I don’t mind, but consider outsourcing the tasks to your kids or partner if that works better. It’s amazing how much more relaxed I feel when just those two simple things are taken care of daily.
1. Do a manicure.
I’m a little bit of a nail polish hoarder, and so I enjoy doing my own at-home manicure once a week. Nothing fancy; just a favorite color and about thirty minutes is all it takes.
2. Take a relaxing bath.
Once a week it’s nice to soak in a warm bath for a half hour with the fan on, and my current TV binge playing on my phone (I used to read in the bathtub, but found that so relaxing I’d often fall asleep … and then the book hits the water … no good).
I lay there and zone out, but also use the time to do things like shave or use a fun face mask. Perfect for a regular weekly routine!
3. Find one place to go, alone, for a few hours (work doesn’t count).
It could be as simple as going the grocery store (two birds; one stone), and ideally involves something that brings you joy. When they were younger, I never brought my kids to the grocery store with me because that just seemed like a big headache.
Instead, I’d wait until they were in bed, and then I’d run up to the grocery store myself while my husband hung out at home. Because of this, I’ve never dreaded grocery shopping; it’s always felt like a bit of a break! Well, and the fact that I love food and cooking certainly doesn’t hurt…
Reading is SO important for me. I miss it when I’m not reading regularly. Being a part of a book club (see the MONTHLY section) helps keep me on track with reading something, but you don’t have to be part of a book club in order to find a book you love and get sucked in. Television and movies are certainly my jam, too, but they’ll never replace a great book.
5. Listen to an uplifting podcast.
My favorite podcasts are companions to my favorite TV shows, but there are a slew of other podcasts out there that range from self-help to “Did you know?” type topics. If you haven’t fallen down the rabbit hole of podcasts, now’s the time.
Find one and listen to it—most have new episodes on a weekly basis, and they’re great to listen to during a commute into work, while you’re doing yard work, or any other task that keeps you pegged into audio-only enjoyment.
1. Participate in a book club.
I’ve been in as many as two book clubs at one time (a bit much for me), but have, for the past five years, been in at least one. In my current book club, we choose all the books at the beginning of the year, and then each month we each take turns hosting the group at our houses to chat about the month’s selection.
Yes, we also drink wine and eat food, but we actually do talk about the book. It’s not super serious, and sometimes our conversations go awry, but it’s a fun way to experience novels with a group of women—and helps keep me on track doing something I love anyway (reading). Don’t know of a book club? Consider starting one!
2. Do a pedicure.
Similar to weekly manicures, I also like to spend a half hour each month painting my toenails. A few times a year, I’ll actually go for a pedicure, which—unlike a manicure—is totally worth the money because it’s SUPER relaxing and also lasts a long time.
3. Catch a movie.
Like, in the theater. I make no bones about catching flicks by myself, but it’s also fun to wrangle a few friends (or even go with my daughter now that she’s older) to see something. Movies are expensive when you’re trying to take the whole family, but if it’s just you once a month, suddenly it’s not so unaffordable.
4. Devote time to organizing.
Your closet, your desk, your kitchen. Spaces that tend to take on clutter make me feel all out of sorts when they’re in disarray. I don’t love cleaning, but I do like things to feel in order.
I served for years on the American Advertising Federation of Greater Frederick board of directors, and I’m part of other non-profit committees. It’s important to me to give back to the community, so each month I carve out time to do that. Luckily both my employer and my spouse are really supportive. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Self-Care Tips Template