Self-care is a trendy buzz word, but what does it really mean, especially if you’re a busy mom with no time? Today, along with my friend, author and life coach Jody Agard, I’m sharing my 10 favorite free ideas for how to take care of yourself when you have no alone time.
It’s a buzz word that usually makes me roll my eyes.
Maybe it’s because I’m a stay-at-home mom and taking a crap by myself feels like a luxury.
Maybe it’s because I have no family nearby so when I get the stomach bug, there’s no break.
I’m not sharing this to complain. I’m sharing this because you get it. We all have some version of this.
I get no time for me.
I’ve started trying to carve out time for myself each week, and it’s made a world of difference. I also started getting life coaching from my friend Jody, and this week, she released a new book called Mommy Reboot: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Self-Care.
This is not a sponsored post, and Jody isn’t paying me to talk about her book. I was reading it, and thinking how awesome these tips would be for you guys, so I asked her if I could write a post about it.
10 Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms With No Time
1. Take a deep breath.
Yes, I’m starting with this because it really is that simple and makes a huge difference. If you need to on those tough days, make sure the kids are safe and go into the bathroom, lock the door, and take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose, focus on sitting up straight and pulling your tummy in tight, and as you exhale, picture your breath blowing a piece of paper right out in front of your mouth. Better yet, make a hum noise as you do it. Your kids might think you’re crazy, but if they’re like mine, they already know you are. *wink*
2. Turn on some music.
You’re a mom. The fact is you can’t always leave the house to spend 4 hours at the day spa whenever you’re feeling stressed. But you can make your environment more peaceful and relaxing. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, or like the agitated after-school energy in my home is about to send me straight to Crazytown, I turn on my favorite Christian worship music. “Alexa, turn on Chris Tomlin station.” Your idea of a great music choice might be upbeat pop music that leads to a dance party in the kitchen. Whatever it is, go for it. This also helps me when I’m doing a task I don’t enjoy (like folding laundry) because it keeps my mind thankful and focused on the good. Try it and let me know if it works!
3. As life changes, change your expectations of yourself.
This isn’t “go have a night out with your girlfriends” or “go to the salon,” but this mind shift is absolutely an element of my self-care. One time I was telling Jody, “I don’t know why I can’t lose this baby weight. She’s my fourth baby. I’ve had 3 before and always lost the weight. What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing’s wrong with you,” she said. And then she explained that my life has changed. Instead of 1, 2 or 3 kids, I now had 4. Life is different. My husband’s career is busier now. We have a larger home to manage. My older kids are in elementary school. Many things have changed since the days I was able to spend 2 hours in the gym and kick the baby weight in the first year. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s a beautiful thing. It means my life is evolving and changing. And my expectations need to change with it.
4. Paint your nails.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that a weekly at-home manicure is part of how I keep my sanity in check. I know, it’s weird. But it works for me. Adapt this tip to investing time in whatever makes you feel put-together. Is it putting on makeup every morning? Is it making sure your favorite lotion or lip gloss is at the ready? Whatever it is, do it.
5. Bring peace to your environment.
No, I can’t control if my sons act like wild hyenas everyday when they get home from school. But I can counteract that by lighting my favorite vanilla candle from a high counter in the kitchen. Or, buying a $3 bouquet of flowers at Trader Joe’s and placing them in a vase on the coffee table. (I’m still in shock my phase has survived the afternoon antics of my 3 crazy boys all these years. *knocks on wood*)
6. Keep your car clean.
Another way I like to bring peace to my environment is by washing my car every 1 to 2 weeks. Considering we basically live in our car (as I’m sure many of you do as well), it brings me comfort and peace to know that my “office” is clean when I get into the driver’s seat on Monday morning! I go to the $4 drive-thru car wash and do the vacuuming myself. It’s cheaper, faster and I can keep busy toddlers buckled in (slash restrained) the entire time. Triple win!
7. Get used to saying “Mommy needs alone time.”
And don’t feel bad about it! My kids need alone time, and they get it. I need it too! For example, my kids know that when our au pair is watching them, and I go up to my room, it’s because I need alone time. So, I go upstairs, lock the door, and if they wander upstairs and start banging on the door, I don’t answer. I need my alone time just like they do, and I refuse to feel bad about it. “I’ve been with you all day. Now I need some quiet time to myself,” I tell them later. I have realized that if I don’t take time for myself, I will be more likely to yell at them because I’m so depleted. Ask your husband to put the kids to bed or see if a friend can do a kid swap, and do the same.
8. Put your cell phone away.
This is a huge one for me. I realize that I feel even more depleted when I use my down time to scroll social media and see all the perfect lives that I’m not living. LOL seriously though, social media is just a boring ol’ perfect highlight reel. Make a practice of not just putting down your phone, but putting it away, and playing with your kids, or even just watching them. At first, you’ll feel bored. But then, you’ll be able to mindfully reflect on the blessings of your life. It works! I try to do this every Sunday, and I love it.
9. Think about the now, not the whole day.
This is a big one for me! As moms, we’re always trying to plot out our day and think ahead to what’s next. Jody used a great example in the book. She was taking a shower early in the morning, and realized she was spending her precious alone time to worry about something that was happening later that day. Be mindful. In the example of the shower, when you step inside, be present and enjoy the feeling of the hot water on your skin and think about all your blessings and what you’re grateful for. What good does it do to stress about the whole day?
10. Accept where you are, rather than where you “should” be.
Honestly, where “should” you be anyway? Let go of using that terminology. Where you are today is beautiful and it’s part of a perfect plan that’s unfolding everyday. Embrace your life, today, instead of trying to escape from it.
I’m so glad that you were led to read this post today. I hope it’s helped you in some small way!
What are your favorite self-care strategies? Head to the She Just Glows Facebook page to share!
Here’s my Facebook Live, where Jody joined me to share all about how to start honoring yourself and believing that you’re deserving of grace.