busy mum

11 totally doable ways to fit self care into your day

When you are run off your feet with the endless challenges that spring up throughout parenthood, self-care is the last thing on your mind. Let’s face it – it’s an absolute miracle that you managed to get dressed this morning without accidentally putting your knickers on over the top of your leggings.

It might feel impossible to look after your kids and look after yourself- but we wanted to give you a few helpful ways you might be able to squeeze a bit of self-care into that very busy schedule of yours. And give you permission to do so. Because it REALLY matters!

Oh – and when you really can’t find time just for you – sometimes, just sometimes – self-care for a parent can be self-care for your children too!

1. Have a designated ‘quiet time’

The chaos of a busy household can feel endless. It’s incredible that so much noise can come out of such tiny humans! If it feels like your house is never quiet, take time to try and reduce it by having a regular designated ‘quiet time’, for you and for everyone each day. Help your children pick out a quiet activity for them to participate in (like reading, drawing, puzzles, quiet sensory toys) and make it so everyone participates in their chosen activities for 15-30 minutes.

Once you start to set this up as a daily activity, your children will come to expect it and it can soon become a little oasis of calm in your day.

Not only does it encourage a little bit of quiet, but it also encourages independent play. Enjoy the peace and quiet for just a little bit!

2. Connect with the outdoors

Ahh, nothing quite beats the feeling of breathing in the fresh air after being cooped up all day. Not only is taking a walk through the park going to help drain some energy in a very active and somehow-endlessly-fuelled toddler, but it helps clear your own head too.

Even if your baby or toddler is crying, cries never sound as loud in the great outdoors. And pushing them in their buggy feels freer than rocking them within your own four walls.

When the mothering/fathering gets tough – head for the great outdoors!

While you’re out make a mental note to really notice what you see and hear and smell! Be present and soak in the moment.

3. Call a friend while you’re doing chores

The easiest way to make your chores go by a little quicker and to look after yourself at the same time can be as simple as calling a friend while you complete them. Got a big bundle of washing or a bit of post-play tidying up to do? Phone a friend at the same time!

Your friends and family are just a click away. Just try not to drop your phone into any sinks filled with washing up in the process…

Mother talking on the phone whilst carrying her baby

4. Do a calm activity at the same time as your children

Adult colouring books have really taken off in recent years, and they can help create a well-needed tranquil activity for both you and your kids. Don’t ever get time to colour in yourself? Make it a joint activity. One colouring book for them, and one for you.

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You might be surprised at just how much you will appreciate having a moment of calm for both of you!

5. Really low on time for self care? Practice mindfulness in the shower

It can be absolutely dire some days trying to find a point in the day where you can have 10 minutes just to be with yourself and practice some mindfulness. In those situations, if you truly feel like your brain is going to explode, make those mundane tasks that usually take little thought the point of the day when you are being a little more mindful.

Practice naming 5 things you’re grateful for in your life while standing in the shower. Pick out 6 different items in the room that you like while doing some laundry.

And give yourself a chance to breathe wherever possible.

6. Stop the scroll

There’s no need to feel guilty about this one- we’re all known for doing it!

It’s so difficult to disconnect from the world when it’s so easy to reconnect the moment we open our eyes. If you can, try to avoid immediately running through all your notifications the moment you wake up. The world can wait for you a little bit longer.

Most phones will allow you to schedule your “do not disturb” settings, meaning you can stop notifications coming through until a certain time of the day. Set it up for an hour before bed and an hour after you usually wake up, and you’ll be able to avoid the temptation to scroll through every little notification you received during the night.

7. Plan a designated ‘me time’ activity

Is there a regular time in the day when you know that you’ll be allowed a bit of peace and quiet? Maybe it’s when your little one has a regular nap time, or when a family member takes them out for a walk. Whenever it is, plan and tell yourself in advance that you are going to do an activity for yourself.

It might feel like you don’t have time, and you might have other chores on the to-do list. But, take that period, however brief, to enjoy something for yourself. It will help you clear your head and relieve some stress. Do something to make yourself feel a little brighter in that time.

If you make a plan to grab and use that little slice of me-time when it comes, you’re more likely to spend it wisely (instead of just staring into space until your child wakes up/needs you again!)

8. Have a family spa day

This one might sound like it could be a little bit of a faff to prepare, but it could lead to a really fun activity for your whole family.

Play some generic relaxing music from a YouTube playlist, and make your kids feel extra fancy (if they’re old enough to have the motor-skills to do so) by nabbing some cheap plastic champagne flutes and filling them with lemonade. Kids love to feel a little bit more grown up, and so will get an absolute thrill out of doing this! You could give them a chance to soak their feet, grabbing a tub from the laundry cupboard and filling it halfway with warm water and their usual bubble bath. There’s also plenty of ideas out there for food-based face masks too, which have been written especially so they won’t be bad for your children’s skin. The Koala Mom has a few recipe ideas here!

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Spa & self-care day between a mother and a daughter

If all else fails, use it as an excuse to get you and your children spending the day in your dressing gowns with your feet fully propped up and your slippers close by!

9. Listen to music while you’re doing slow and dull chores

Music has the power to relieve your mood and lower your blood pressure. Something about turning up the music and having a little boogie while you empty the dishwasher can really make life feel a bit easier. This is a teeny tiny change you can make to your day, but it will really help! Here’s to throwing some shapes while you put the potato waffles under the grill! Dance like nobody’s watching, mamas!

10. Find activities for play dates

We’ve already said that escaping the four walls can have a massive impact on your mental wellbeing. Ways to fit this into your busy schedule might involve finding time to hang out with your friends (or soon to be new friends) at any baby and toddler classes you’ve joined.

Or, if you haven’t found any parent friends already, you can start to by finding the next class that appeals to you and your family!

Going to a baby or toddler class breaks up long days and gives you company. And often, even the chance at the end of the class to drink (gasp!) a hot cup of tea and chat to other parents. Gold dust!

11. Don’t beat yourself up for having a do-nothing evening

One of the best steps in the right direction for trying to practice self-care is to practice taking time to rest without feeling bad about it afterwards. It’s a kicker that when your body tells you to rest, your brain makes you feel like you’re wasting time ten minutes later. But a brilliant (if somewhat difficult) big step to take is to teach your brain that you need to relax when you can, and you should feel guilt-free about it afterwards.

In fact, after that long read, grab a cup of tea and take a breather. You deserve it mammas and papas!

Important reminder – Daily chores are NOT self care!

Just a reminder that daily chores and all the things we need to do as human beings (like taking a shower, pausing to drink a cuppa and doing the food shop) are NOT self care. They’re just the basic things we all need to do. Yes – any time we get to do ANYTHING alone can feel a bit like a break. But – be honest! You’d never have defined me-time or self care as going to Tesco’s before you became a parent – would you?

When it comes to self care it’s taking time to do little things that revive you, recharge you and that are just for you.

Yes – we KNOW – it might be impossible to get a weekend away at a spa right now (or any time soon) but that doesn’t mean you can’t find little bits of time in your busy day to just breathe and be you.

And it’s really important that you do.

So you’re recharged to give your family the best of you and not the rest of you.

Really struggling? Ask for help.

Chances are friends and family will rush to give you time to recharge your batteries – if only you ask.

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Interested in being a guest blogger?

Leanne Warren

Leanne Warren

Happity's Marketing Magician. From blog-writing, to social media and organising the newsletters: she's all about content. When she's not working, Leanne is usually flip-flopping through a series of different creative hobbies, daydreaming about her next meal, and making an endless supply of coffee to keep her fueled throughout the day. That, or she'll be found mindlessly watching her two turtles, Bill and Ted, have Excellent Adventures together.