As busy mom’s we get up in the morning and start work. We do our jobs and take care of other people until the moment we stumble into bed. We are always so busy with daily life, taking care of our families, work, cleaning, doing what moms do. During that time, we forget to take care of ourselves or deny ourselves the right to make time for ourselves. We call it selfish when we want time to ourselves, then guilt ourselves when we do get that time.
We are tugged all over the place by the demands of our jobs, homes, and families. It is no wonder why we end up overwhelmed, sick, and burned out. We open ourselves up to stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and depression.
It is okay to be busy, but it is not okay to neglect ourselves. If it helps you to take a moment to breathe; remind yourself that you can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t healthy, physically or mentally.
I have created a list of 21 things that will help you take care of yourself. You can’t use the excuse that “these things cost too much” with this list. This list is “no money required” or things you already have on hand self-care habits you can start right now.
21 Self-Care Habits You Can Start Right Now. No Money Required.
Take the time to think about things in your life. What you reflect on can be a variety of situations. You could reflect on the time you were the happiest or saddest in life, review your week, the month, or year. Did you start a new hobby you enjoy? Did you stop doing something you enjoyed for X reason?
Reflection is about personal growth. When you reflect on situations in your life, you gain clarity, and with clarity comes learning from mistakes or wins; you gain the ability to notice bad habits and begin to create better ones.
2. Forgive yourself
Nobody is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. As humans, we can forgive other people for the things they do; but it is so easy to beat ourselves up, belittle ourselves, and be utterly self-loathing when we make a mistake. We need to be as compassionate to ourselves as we are to everyone else. Self-compassion is a thing, learn it, embrace it, and use it. You deserve it.
3. Give yourself permission
Permission to love, permission to take care of yourself, permission to… Your life is yours, give yourself permission to live it.
4. Read something
Fiction, nonfiction, self-help, your favorite magazine, grab it, read it, recharge your brain, nurture your creativity and learn something.
5. Focus on the here and now
In a nutshell, this is the art of “Being Present.” Don’t procrastinate on tasks you have to do today, but don’t forget that one of your tasks is to take care of yourself too. Allow yourself to enjoy the “little things in life.” Yes, I mean really do stop and smell the roses. Allow yourself to enjoy just being.
6. Spend time outdoors and enjoy nature.
“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high”
— John Denver
We all know the song, country fan or not. Sunshine is the only natural source of vitamin D that helps your body process calcium, but studies show that people who spend time outdoors are happier, have less stress, anxiety, and other health risks.
So go outside, run, don’t walk, do it right now!
7. Color or draw
There is nothing more relaxing than art therapy in my not so humble opinion. If you don’t already have coloring books or feel you can’t draw, you can download and print free coloring pages. Here are a few links to my favorite coloring page sites to get you started.
Journaling is one of the best self-care habits you can develop. You can write your reflections in your journal, track your tasks and schedule, use a journal to develop healthy habits such as monitoring your water intake per day, or how long you slept the night before. You can use your journal to vent in silence, and just get your feelings out.
Your journal can also be your tie to this world after you are gone from it, your legacy that tells future generations you were here. When I journal, my personality is apparent on the pages of the words I write. Someday, my great-great grandchildren will be able to read my words and know something about me after I am gone.
I use a bullet journal to journal with as I love to journal analog style, but you can use anything you want to use. Scrap paper stuck in a notebook, digital writing in a program like Word; it’s your words, you put them wherever you feel comfortable.
9. Learn the phrase, “Shit happens.”
Don’t sweat things that happened that were out of your control. You can’t go back, change or fix it. See Point #2, learn from it and move on. Focus on what you can control instead.
10. Take a nap
Sleep is good for you. Sleep improves learning, helps you pay attention, sparks creativity, and helps you make decisions. Emotional wellbeing is tied to whether you are getting enough sleep or not, so is your physical health. According to Sleep.org, 20 minutes is all you need for a nap to wake up feeling refreshed.
11. Embrace coping skills
Coping skills such as deep breathing, meditation, and muscle relaxation (PMR) can offer immediate relief from stress and anxiety; you can do these anywhere. If one skill doesn’t work, try another, or try all three. Allow yourself to fail while you learn these skills. You might not get it right the first time, but try and try again.
12. Yoga and exercise
Yes, Yoga can be free. I will direct you to Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She has videos for Yoga beginners, experienced Yogis, people with low mobility, and for busy people. All of her videos are free. You only have to load up her channel, pick a video, and do the work.
13. Love yourself and revel in your “imperfections”
I know I mentioned this same topic in my post “New Year, New You. 11 Tips For A New You,” but I cannot stress this point enough. I hear young women around me struggle with this, and I often struggle with my imperfections. Writing it here again for me is a reminder not only to you but to myself.
There is no such thing as a perfect person. Everyone has some kind of flaw, and something they hate about themselves. We shouldn’t try to live up to a society set standard of perfect human beings; we should instead embrace the uniqueness that makes us who we are.
14. Just say “No”
Prioritize your time. If something doesn’t fit into your time, just say “No.” You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. You are allowed to set your own limits and boundaries and make your time a priority. If you don’t do these things for yourself, no one else will.“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” - Warren Buffett Click To Tweet
15. Stop over thinking
You coulda, you shoulda, but you didn’t. This point goes hand in hand with “Shit Happens.” You can’t go back and change it, stop beating yourself up and dwelling on it. Move on.
16. Reward yourself with something of value, not with food.
While you can reward yourself with something that costs money, you can reward yourself with something you already have and enjoy. It could be your favorite show on Netflix, time for your favorite video game; the reward is up to you.
Try not to make your reward food-related; food is sustenance, not a reward. If you are an emotional eater like I used to be, you are only adding more fuel to that fire. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
17. Find ways to laugh every day.
If your kids aren’t providing you with this, there are always cat videos on YouTube.
18. Turn up the music and dance like no one is watching
No explanation needed.
19. Soak in the tub
Soaking in the tub can be a fantastic stress reliever, and because warm water relaxes your body, it can help induce sleep. A bath also has many physical benefits; helping to ease aches is only one of them. While you are enjoying your soak, why don’t you try out some of these DIY bath soak recipes?
20. Technology blackout
Remove blue light from your brain, especially before bed. Turn off your cell phone, your TV, and computer. Do something like reading, journaling, or start writing that novel you have always dreamed of getting out of you. Stay off social media, your messages, and feeds will be there tomorrow. You might also find you sleep better at night when you unplug from technology before bed.
21. Reconnect with an old friend.
I am sure you already know how to do this. Pick up your phone, call or text, write a snail mail letter (yes, people still do that). If your friend is local, schedule a coffee date.
A little self-care goes a long way for your wellbeing and sanity. Which one of these self-care habits will you try first? Let me know in the comments below.