I get it; it’s a pandemic, which means moms have even less free time than we did before the apocalypse. Self-care is probably the first thing to get slashed from the never ending to-do-list that comes with being safer at home, right?
What if there were some simple, low-cost things you could do for yourself while you do all the other seventy million things you do to keep your family afloat? Well, here are some incremental self-care steps I have been taking that remind me I am a person, too:
- DIY a spa pedicure: I don’t have time to do this all at once, so I break it down in tiny steps. Every day when I put on socks before I exercise, I rub my feet with coconut oil, so my workout is also a mini, cheapo spa treatment. Every night in the shower, I use exfoliator and a foot file. Then, when I am ready to paint my nails, my feet look great. I never have time for a careful pedicure, though, so I slap the polish on any which way and soak my feet in Epsom salts when my nails are dry. This is the spa part. Some hot water, a cozy fall candle, an old lady magazine or two, a cup of tea. After a good soak, it’s easy to use an orange stick to get the polish off my cuticles and voila! A perfect pedicure that takes no time at all since I can do it incrementally. (Also, I have not tried these drug store foot masks, but they sound perfect, and garner raves from friends).
- Pound the pavement: I go outside every single day rain or shine and walk for at least 20 minutes. Usually, I log a glorious hour all alone with the baby strapped to me and a podcast playing, but sometimes I can only find a little bit of time and am trailed by a pack of kids. Either way—vitamin D and endorphins for the win! If you have big enough kids to leave them behind, a walk with your spouse is lovely as well, especially if you want to talk about things you don’t want the kids to hear.
- Nourish you body: Now is the time to drink all of the water. Seriously, hydration can help me feel so much calmer and less anxious, especially if I feel my stress rising and focus on taking a water break—like by myself somewhere for a hot second. Now is also a great time to fill your body with healthy foods. Use meal times to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you healthy, and think of eating clean as a way to thank your body for all it does for you. I love to eat a rainbow at every meal, focusing on serving myself and my family as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I can.
- But also, eat the dang cupcake: IT’S A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Who cares if your skinny pants are snug? Joggers are in style right now, so HAVE AN ECLAIIR once in a while if it makes you feel good. BAKING the dang cupcake is fun, too, and a great way to bond with your kids. One friend had the great idea to eat a brownie in a mug. Not only is it a single serving so you can’t overdo it, but it is a treat that is just for you—no sharing expected. What’s more decadent than that?
- Watch something just for grown-ups. I am SO OVER kid TV, especially because our TV babysitter is logging extra hours these days. I cannot wait to put everyone to bed and plop down on the couch with a coconut popsicle and good TV. Current pandemic faves: Pen15, The Great, Workin’ Moms, and, of course, Schitt’s Creek.
- Read a book: Feel like you never have time to read? Try this genius hack: After you read your kid(s) a bedtime story, institute silent reading time while snuggling in their bed. They read their books, and you read yours (and it’s OK if your kid can’t read—they can look at a picture book). Here are a few titles I have loved lately: The Jetsetters, Transcendent Kingdom, Followers, and Friends and Strangers.
- YouTube a workout. What kind of exercise do you like to do? Well, I bet you can find a few free workouts on YouTube. I do Sarah Beth Yoga whenever I can squeeze it in, but my friends love Beach Body workouts, kick boxing, or simple cardio. Even if you need to get up before the kids to squeeze this in, tiring yourself out is another excellent way to keep anxiety at bay.
- Get 8 hours of sleep. No, for serious. Decide when you have to get up and count 8 hours backwards, That’s when you need to go to bed. I even set an alarm for bedtime, so I know when I need to put down the remote control and the popsicle and head to bed.
I know this list is not perfect, and even some seemingly simple self-care steps can have hidden costs and take a certain amount of privilege to pull off. But try to take time every day to do something for yourself, moms, because you are a person, too. Tell me in the comments what you do to take care of yourself—I’d love to hear some more ideas.