Love it or hate it, the phrase “self-care” gets tossed around a lot as something important for mothers to make time for. It often conjures up images of toned soft-skinned women soaking in a deep porcelain tub with artisanal cotton fluffy towels behind their heads, a chilled glass of white, and Enya playing on a hidden sound system.
Ha. Hahaha. (says every mom everywhere)
OK, yes...maybe that specific image isn’t always attainable...or even desirable, for some people (I have a friend who totally hates baths, go figure). BUT even if you scoff at the words “self-care,” the reality is that finding activities or actions that nourish and feed your soul are sooooo important for balance and emotional well-being. It doesn’t have to look like a spa day, but filling your cup is ultimately gonna make you a better partner, a better mama, and a way happier person.
We say this with love: make the time.
Stuck for ideas? Check out our list below for inspo...and remember, it doesn’t have to be everything as long as you do something!
Mama Pro Tip → Haven’t had your babe yet? Start your self-care practice now so it becomes routine...once you’re caring for a tiny human it will be harder (not impossible, but harder) to get in the groove with your self-love time.
- Make your bed every morning → such a simple thing, takes maybe 5 minutes, but is surprisingly satisfying. As a little bonus, commit to swapping out clean sheets on a weekly basis...maybe even treat yourself to a more luxurious linen set.
- Take a bath → ok yeah, we know what we said...but this is still a classic self-care activity. Doesn’t have to be long, but connecting with water does wonders for the spirit. Even a foot soak with some bath salts is detoxifying and de stressing.
- Journal → if you find the mental load of motherhood is weighing on you, journaling can be a great way to unpack some of the heaviness of your day. One of our favorite exercises is called Morning Pages, which is a daily practice you do upon waking, but even just jotting down thoughts throughout the day or setting aside 5 minutes before bed to put pen to paper can feel calming.
- Give thanks → gratitude is a proven way to feel happier and more fulfilled. Make it part of your daily routine; once in the morning and once in the evening write down three things you are grateful for. You’ll be surprised how drastically it shifts your outlook!
- Go for a walk alone → walking is great pregnancy exercise...but beyond that, taking a solo stroll lets you be with your own thoughts and connect with yourself in a more intimate way.
- Move your body → do yoga, stretch, jog...doesn’t have to break a sweat, but giving yourself an endorphin boost and keeping your body limber does wonders for well-being!
- Nourish yourself → yes, food is fuel, but you can still find self-care in the act of eating. Take time to prepare your meals if you enjoy being in the kitchen (just leave the dishes for someone else!), give yourself foods that nourish you, indulge without guilt in your favorite dishes. If you have a complicated relationship with food (as many of us do), now is a beautiful time to begin healing that rift.
- Hydrate → again, water is essential to life, but it’s kind of crazy how easy it is to forget to drink enough. Especially if you’re a new mom (especially especially a breastfeeding one), you need to drink to thirst to stay healthy. Plain water can get boring, so play around with infusing different flavors to elevate this simple act to something more special
- Grounding → this might be our #1 favorite self-care act: it’s free, it’s easy, it’s incredibly restorative and detoxifying, and you can literally do it anywhere. If you are able to remove your shoes and stand on the bare earth, definitely do that...but you can just as easily ground by placing the palms of your hands against the grass or a tree trunk, or even sitting with your back supported and allowing the sun and breeze to bathe your face.
- Put the phone away → aside from cutting down on your exposure to EMF, occasionally ditching the device improves your mood and lets you focus on other things...like any of the other self-care options on this list!
- Loving touch → whether it’s a foot or neck massage from a partner, or showing some extra love to your perineum with yoni oil to prepare the tissue for birth, gentle and loving touch is hugely beneficial for your physical and emotional health.
- Sleep. Sleep. Sleepity sleep sleep → if you ignore literally everything else on this list, don’t ignore this. It’s also one of the hardest things to do, especially if you’re trying to tidy or work or have time with your partner in your spare moments. But without rest, your body cannot prep for and heal from childbirth, and you will be a Mom-bie instead of being fully present for yourself and your fam. Just sleep. Please.
- Laugh → find the humor in as many things as you can, and let yourself be silly and play! Laughter...it’s the best medicine, don’tcha know.
- Breathe → close your eyes, drop your shoulders, and take 5 deep breaths. Breathwork is right up there with grounding as a fave way to unwind and re-energize your body.
- Find a hobby → sometimes the best self-care comes from engaging in an activity that brings you joy. That could be baking, or spending time in a garden (bonus: also counts as grounding!), or counted cross stitch. Whatever floats your boat!
- Throw some stuff out → if mess causes you stress, declutter! You might as well capitalize on those nesting instincts while you got ‘em, and once babe arrives it will feel that much better to have an organized home surrounded only by the things you love, want, and need.
- Connect with a friend → we get it, mom life is busy...but community and support are important! Do FaceTime or Zoom if your mama tribe lives far away or if you wanna get multiple friends in on the love.
- Meditate → extra points for this one if you do it during pregnancy cuz it can also benefit your lil’ bebe and help you mentally prep for labor! If you’re not sure how to begin a meditation practice, we’ve got you covered.
- Ask. For. Help. → want a foot rub? Your favorite meal? Chocolate cake from that one awesome bakery? Cool. Ask for it. As moms, we tend to suck at delegating or admitting we could use an assist, but our loved ones aren’t mind readers either. And guess what? We bet they would absolutely love to make you feel adored and cared for
Mama Pro Tip → ritual is a powerful thing...even something as simple as your afternoon cup of tea can become a self-care routine if you put it in a gorgeous mug and sip it slowly while sitting in a pool of sunlight in your favorite chair (even just typing that sentence made me feel more relaxed!)
It's HARD to make the space for self-care. We get it. To start, pick one day a week and set an intention to do something from this list every week on that day. It can be for 5 minutes or 5 hours, but stick to the intention.
From Our AMMA IG Community: What are your fave self-care rituals?
@jen.klocke → Rubbing on CBD coconut oil after my shower, while daddy gets our little one ready for bed.
@where_is_my_bookmark → Taking a long shower, lighting a candle, getting a cup of tea and then reading some poetry!
@h.knowlton → Warm bath! Eating something sweet at night. Asking hubby for head scratches.
@strawberry.carly → A hot bath. A walk. Time in the garden. A good chat with a dear friend.
@christine_jj → Going for a walk to take in the fall air, while drinking from a giant cup of hot coffee...heaven!!!
@adriana_foxley → Dates! :)