120 Realistic Self-Care Ideas for Moms (Busy Moms!)

120 self-care ideas for momsBeing a mom is hard!

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, the challenges you face daily are as unique as you and your family. 

And while it may be difficult to find the time, taking just a few minutes for yourself can be enough to make you feel like a better parent and/or spouse.

This post offers self-care tips for moms as well as 120 things stay at home and working moms can do to take care of themselves – from 5 minutes long to an entire day of bliss, solo or with others.

We’ll cover self-care ideas for moms at home and away from the nest – some are free and others are a a little more indulgent! 

Because you earned it, mama. 

There is nothing wrong with feeling as though your identity as a mother comes first – I feel this way too – but I’ve found that nurturing the little part of you who existed before motherhood is the perfect way to create balance in your life and relationships. 

If you want to spend your self-care day with your family, there’s also nothing wrong with that – we went for sushi as a family after having a day at the park just last week! And honestly, it was exactly the kind of recharge I needed.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission if you make a purchase using one. This comes at no additional cost to you and all recommendations are based on my experience.

How to Practice Self-Care

self care ideas for moms - easy ideas for busy womenSo, how do you practice self-care? 

Self-care isn’t a one-size fits all concept and in reality, your own self-care needs could even change from time to time. 

This could be the result of anything from a career change to a growing family or even moving to a new home. 

The answer to this question might be a little bit different for all of us, but I think learning how to practice self-care effectively comes down to a couple of common themes: 

  • be intentional 
  • make time
  • balance
  • don’t let your tank run empty

Wellness, which is at the core of self-care, is a multi-dimensional concept and can be categorized into five main areas:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • intellectual
  • social
  • spiritual

Thus, some days, you might need to focus on spiritual self-care and others, your body could crave physical activity. Try your best to fulfill all of your self-care needs for optimal wellness.

beautiful serene bedroom - self care ideas for parents - reading

What are the Benefits of Self-Care?

Self-care can help keep a busy parent grounded – it’s certainly helped me!

But research also suggests that self-care can: 

Stay at home mom depression and working mom depression are both very real which is why self-care is important for moms.

Mom guilt is incredible complex – you feel bad for wanting a break and then you feel even more guilty for taking one!

Heck, I used to feel bad taking a shower while my little one napped – I figured I should be doing food prep or cleaning up the house so I could focus 100% of my attention on M while she was awake.

But I’m here to tell you, mama, the mess will still be there when you’re squeaky clean – and at around 2 years old, you’ll even be able to involve your little one in household tasks.

At least that’s when M and I created the solid laundry routine we have now 🙂

When you make time to feel good, accomplishing the mundane feels so much more manageable. 

You would never drive a car with an empty tank, so make sure that you take care of yourself and refuel as often as need be!

Let’s get started with some basic ideas for self-care first.

woman running a bath - self care ideas for moms

120 Self-Care Ideas for Moms: Be Your Best Mom!

Take five minutes or an entire day to revitalize your sense of well-being with these ideas for self-care. 

1. Take a shower

So simple, yet such a luxury for busy moms!

2. Wash your face

I’m hooked on this cleansing milk by Juice Beauty- it’s so soothing and really gentle on the eyes for those days where you forget to take your makeup off!

3. Exfoliate

Take five minutes to exfoliate, even if it’s just once a week. There’s no greater sensation than feeling your skin breathe!

My skin is on the dry side so, I have to be careful about the products I use on my face – this chia omega + C radiant skin polish by Andalou Naturals has been great though.

4. Apply a face mask

Such a luxury, right? 

This rose stem cell mask is really soothing for dry skin – I put it in the refrigerator to make application that much more enjoyable. 

But here’s the best part – it’s a gel you can leave on overnight. 

5. Put on makeup

Don’t worry about getting fancy unless you want to! 

You also don’t need to have to go somewhere special to wear makeup.

These days my routine is just filling in my eyebrows and putting on a bit of mascara. 

It gives me the boost of confidence I need in case I run into someone I know at grocery store 😛 

6. Style your hair

How long have you been wearing a top knot, mama? I wore one exclusively for about a year and a half – yikes!

Styling my bangs feels great on those days when I have extra time or we have a family event.

Want to try something new without spending a lot of time styling your hair? mix it up with a cute headband like this knotted headband or a boho wrap.

7. Have a cup of coffee

Getting an espresso machine changed our lives – we bought this one at Costco! 

I love being able to make an almond milk cappuccino with one click and even better than that is the fact that we quit wasting money on Starbucks. The coffee at home is just way too good.

8. Spin

I LOVE my Peloton – with my husband working 15+ hour days five times a week, we just don’t have time to go to the gym – getting ready, driving, showering afterwards, oh, and finding childcare? Yeah right!

I have all the fitness classes I want at home – my personal favourites are spin, yoga, and strength training. 

I’ve also lost 25 pounds since I combined Peloton with a Keto diet! I started working out to clear my head but the physical benefits have been incredible.

Thinking about buying a Peloton yourself?

You can use my Peloton referral code MXUWCA to get $125 CA worth of bonus accessories with your purchase.  

woman doing a spin cycling workout like peloton - self care ideas for moms

9. Yoga

Practicing yoga is a great way to reduce stress and increase creativity.

I love Aditi’s yoga classes on Peloton – I love starting my morning with a yoga flow and finishing the evening off with restorative yoga – it’s a great way to unwind after you’ve put the kids to bed!

10. Dance

Search your favourite artist on YouTube, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite tunes and have a dance party. 

Wear earbuds at the grocery store, sync your phone to your car and jam on the way to work, or include your kids in the party while you conquer some chores together.

11. Start a new show on Netflix

Sometimes lounging is nice – so, make yourself a healthy snack and turn on a show that interests you!

My hubby and I try and watch and episode of Riverdale once a week – he worked on Season 2 🙂

12. Listen to a song you haven’t heard in ages

I confess – I’m a 90’s child that still secretly loves 90’s music!

Turn on your favourite boy band, Britney, or anyone else that makes you feel nostalgic.

13. Put on your favourite playlist on Spotify

And make it LOUD! 

Even if you’re just bopping your head while you work on the computer or unload the dishwasher, a playlist that energizes you can feed your soul for the rest of the day.

This is my favourite Balkan mix and I’m constantly updating it – I can’t get enough trap and hip hop from the motherland, haha. 

14. Listen to a podcast

This is my hubby’s absolute favourite way to unwind – he loves listening to sports podcasts and I actually really enjoy listening to The Herd with him. 

Colin is a really bright and interesting guy – heck, one of his podcasts was so inspirational I actually wrote this post on successful business owners based on one of his segments.

15. Journal

As much as I love getting out of my head, sometimes facing the things you’re struggling with has that much more of an impact. 

Often times, it might also be easier to express yourself in writing than talking it out. 

This gorgeous Moleskin notebook is a luxury to write in.

woman journalling - self care ideas for busy moms - start a journal

16. Read a book

Reading just feels good – whether you’re learning or just want a bit of entertainment. 

I finished The Little Book of Hygge recently and really enjoyed the tips for happiness it has to offer!

17. Get a massage

Getting a professional massage is wonderful!

I treated my hubby to a couple’s massage for his birthday and we both felt like new people afterwards. 

With our crazy schedules, it’s hard to make it a habit though so, we got an at home foot massager – I like to use it when I’m reading or writing!

18. Get a manicure

My sister swears by this and always has stunning nails!

19. Take a nap

Sometimes you can’t argue with the body – you just need to rest.

I took a nap at the same time as my toddler on day one of potty training – I swear, it was also essential in helping me get it done in three days!

You feel more patient, are less easily agitated, and make better decisions when you’ve had enough sleep. 

20. Go to bed early

And then there are days where the little one don’t nap – eep! 

Hit the hay early to get the recharge you need.

21. Clean your home

There is nothing like having a clean home!

Being able to control your environment feels good when external factors have got you down.

22. Organize your closet

Level 100 mom hack courtesy of my mom: place all of your empty hangers in in a designated spot in your closet – bonus points for putting a new hanger there as soon as you remove an item from it!

Now enjoy your new life where hangers are always available when you’re putting away laundry.

We ditched dressers for a more minimal bedroom and hang 99% of our clothes with velvet hangers – they’re slim and clothing doesn’t fall off when you’re putting new clothes away. 

More space and less time wasted is always a win in my books!

We put underwear, socks, and pj’s in our under the bed drawers but if you don’t have drawers under your bed,  plastic bins like these are great for organizing miscellaneous accessories – I use mine for scarves, hats, gloves, etc.

23. Tackle a chore you’ve been dreading

It could be something as simple as folding laundry or as complex as downsizing your kids’ wardrobes. 

24. Light a candle

Candles are so relaxing!

And the best part is you can double down on self-care by reading a book or working by candlelight in the evening. Pure bliss!

25. Go for a drive

Sometimes it feels good just going somewhere without a final stop in mind.

26. Go shopping – with a budget!

Treat yourself to something you’ve wanted (or needed!) for a long time. 

I live in cropped pants all year long but needed to go down a size – these Lululemon crops are a staple of my work at home mom wardrobe!

27. Learn something new

Browse Pinterest for articles and watch a Youtube video that teaches you something. 

I love to try and learn something new every day – intellectual wellness is a must!

28. Write a to do list for the week or month ahead

Ah, there is something about having a plan that feels SO good!

I try to group my days in three’s meaning so there are just three major things I need to accomplish everything I set out to that day. 

For me, this could be: 

  • creating three new Pinterest pins
  • working out for 30 minutes
  • three household chores – i.e. unloading/reloading the dishwasher, completing one load of laundry, pre-chopping fruits and veggies for the week

Yep, there are a lot three’s here but for me, it just works. 

Find a number that feels manageable for you and makes you feel good about your days accomplishments!

29. Write a list of goals for the year ahead

Be as modest or dream as big as you like, mama!

Plan crafts, renovations, or career moves – the skies the limit.

hand holding a pen writing to do list - self care ideas for moms

30. Create a vision board

This is such an amazing way to get out of your head while creating dreams that feel attainable. 

Start a vision board on Pinterest or clip magazines for images that reflect the life you want!

31. Start a blog

This is one that’s close to my heart because it changed my life. 

I make money with blogging and social media full-time as a result of starting a blog while I was on bedrest during my first pregnancy! 

Blogging is what you make it – if you want to make money, go for it. If you simply want to journal, write your heart out, mama.

Your blog can be about whatever you want and the purpose it serves is entirely up to you! 

There is no wrong way to blog and it makes for really amazing self-care – I love what I do and consider work self-care, isn’t that wild?

You can click this link for a special Siteground discount and start your own blog for $3.95 a month – that’s 70% off! 

I love a good deal, how about you?!

RelatedHow to Start a Blog that Makes Money: Beginners Guide

32. Cook a meal you love

This could be something that your family loves too! 

In our household, that’s sviečková, a traditional Slovak dish from my husband’s heritage – cooking this is a two day event, so it’s definitely an indulgence. 

33. Bake a sweet treat

Cheesecake is a personal favourite for us! How about you?

34. Go for a walk

Connecting with nature is a wonderful thing. 

35. Declutter

Get rid of the physical things that are weighing on your mind.

36. Turn off your phone

It’s nice to take a time out from the digital world. 

37. Monitor your screen time + set limits

Turn on Screen Time for your iPhone and Mac to see how long you’re actually spending with your devices! 

Set limits for yourself and control the urge “just to check”.

38. Dress up

Step out of the ordinary and wear something that makes you feel good today!

39. Search for new music on Spotify

I love adding new songs to my playlist – it’s always fun when these new tunes surprise you later on.

40. Make plans with a friend

With or without the kids, hanging out with another adult is a great means of social self-care. 

41. Make a date with your spouse

Sometimes we get so busy with our kids that we forget our partners. Make time for yours, even if it’s just a special dessert together after the kids go to bed.

42. Create a new Pinterest board

I love finding inspiration on Pinterest!

Whether it’s to grow my business or plan projects around the house, visuals make it all feel so real.

43. Plan your Instagram feed

Love taking photos and using IG? 

Plan your IG feed using the Preview app to make yours even more beautiful. 

Related: Best Companion Apps for Instagram

44. See a movie 

Sonic the Hedgehog hits theatres February 14th 🙂 my hubs was on this!

45. Take a bath

Soaking in the tub is a wonderful way to relax at the end of a long day or week!

I love Saje’s entire bath salts lineupUnwind is the perfect product to try if you’ve never used Saje before.

variety of bath products in a wooden tray - self care ideas for moms

46. Get your hair done

I have the most wonderful friend who does my hair at home! 

It’s such a nice way to have mommy chat time while making myself feel good.

47. Go to the gym

If you love working out with others, take an hour to hit a local gym.

48. Call your mom, sister or bestie

One of the most simple yet effective self-care ideas for moms but it can do wonders for your soul and social self-care needs.

49. Do your eyebrows

Never shaped your eyebrows before? 

This kit from Anastasia is perfect for total beginners! Just choose a stencil, fill in your brows, and tweeze any excess hairs that fall outside of that shape. 

I feel like a million bucks when my eyebrows are on point! 

50. Drink some tea

Drinking tea is so relaxing! This organic sampler set is enough for 24 special self-care treats and is one of my personal favourites!

51. Have a glass of wine

I never understood why my mom loves wine so much until I became a mom too!

Here’s an adorable glass to sip your next glass in.

Slow drinker or easily distracted? Guilty! Try an insulated mom glass instead – this was a game changer for me, haha!

52. Write a list of struggles you’ve overcome

You’ll surprise yourself after just a few entires!

53. Eat something healthy

Nourishing the body is good for the mind too.

54. Have a family day

Who says you can’t have a self-care day with your family? 

I miscarried for the second time recently and spending the day with my husband and daughter was exactly the kind of self-care I needed. 

These heartbreaking moments have a way of reminding us how lucky we are.

55. Pray

I need a dose of God daily and like to pray at the end of my days.

I’ll say a traditional prayer and then we’ll chat for a bit – I tell Him how grateful I am for all that I have, His plan for me and my family, as well as praying for those around me. 

Asking for support as you go through struggles or help in improving less desirable traits is also something that I’ve done since I was a kid.

Faith is as humbling as it is liberating.

56. Do a craft

Here’s a super adorable one for rocks that look like succulents and cacti!

57. Clean your office

If you had to guess how many of those pens in your drawer still work, are you over or under 50%? 

I use clear organizers for my desk and bathroom drawers – it’s easier to see and I can actually find things when I need them!

It also helps you see things that you no longer want or need.

58. Start a long-delayed project

Renovation? Knitting? Make it happen!

59. Wash your car

Taking it through the carwash counts 😉 

60. Buy fresh flowers or a kitchen plant

I prefer plants since they last as long as you take care of them! 

Basil and lavender and my favourites.

61. Donate old clothes or items from your home

Fill a bag or make a pile of items you no longer use or want – you’ll declutter your space and feel good about where your things are going.

62. Take a walk around the IKEA showroom

Snap pictures of ideas that inspire you!

I also took the IKEA Catalogue home and put post its all over brilliant organization and design hacks.

63. Go through your house and make a list of things you want to update

Grab a pen and paper or the notepad in your phone and start making notes – planning feels good!

64. Stop making excuses

Practice this daily.

Eliminate reasons you “can’t” and start taking care of business. 

It’s easier said than done but after a while, you’ll see past the excuses and start thinking about the actions you need to take to accomplish your goals.

65. Apply essential oil rollers

My hubby loves these ones from Saje – I apply the rollers for him at night to help him unwind.

I usually use Quick Study when I’m writing but occasionally dip into our nighttime routine with him as well. The Stress Release roller smells absolutely divine!

woman applying essential oils - self care ideas for moms

66. Create a meal plan for the week

I find this therapeutic!

Meal planning is also a fantastic way to save money by planning around the things you already have.

67. Pre-chop fruits and veggies for the week

I love being able to open the fridge and pull out a container full of pre-chopped yummy greens!

I use these ones for M’s snacks – we’ve had them since she started on purees – and these compartmentalized ones for prepping my meals.

Eating healthy takes work but it feels wonderful for the body and mind.

68. Write down everything that’s bothering you

Now toss it in the trash! 

69. Plan a date with each of your children!

Bonding time with your little one’s is so important and it’s nourishing for the soul.

70. Paint your nails

It doesn’t matter if you have nowhere to go!

71. Delete unused apps from your phone

Clean out your digital clutter!

72. Get rid of time wasters

Delete games, social media, and other time sucking activities from your phone. 

Remove other time wasters from your life. 

73. Clean your desktop or some individual files on your computer

I’m the worst at taking screenshots! My husband hates when I use his computer. 

Spring clean your computer or other digital device or files and images you no longer need.

to down photo of a computer and coffee cup - desktop cleanup - self care ideas for busy moms

74. Go grocery shopping – for healthy food!

Head to your local store or a fancy health food store and stock up on delicious foods.

Read labels for additives and unnatural ingredients, plus sugar and salt content. 

Bonus points for choosing products without an ingredients list or less than four ingredients! 

75. Learn how to read labels

It’ll take time but it’s so worth it – you can start here.

You are what you eat and if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t consume it. 

Here are a few basic ingredients we steer clear from: 

For more ingredients to avoid, check out this list by Vani Hari.

76. Downsize your closet

Haven’t worn it in over 6 months? 

Unless it’s formalwear, chances are you won’t wear it again. 

Empty out your closet and only put back the things you love and know you’ll wear.

Related: How to Make $1,000 a Month Selling Your Junk on Facebook

77. Go digital

Scan or take photos of recipes from your favourite cookbooks so you can downsize your bookshelves.

78. Start a bullet journal

A perfect blend or journalling and art, bullet journals are a great way to unwind.

This is a perfect starter kit for beginners.

79. Create a self-care emergency kit

Chocolate, wine, and face masks, anyone?

These also make for great mom self-care gifts for loved ones and your mom squad!

80. Garden

If this were a list of perfect self-care ideas for dads, this would be my hubby’s number one.

woman gardening - self care ideas for moms

81. Draw

It could be as simple as a few shapes or as abstract as you like.

82. Do a sudoku or crossword puzzle

You can find these for free online – use Pinterest to search printable worksheets.

83. Have lunch at a restaurant you love

Get the dessert!

84. Try a new type of cuisine

You could discover a new favourite.

85. Play an instrument or sing

Pick up an instrument and/or sing your heart out.

86. Make or purchase greeting cards for the year ahead

No need to worry about digging through shopped out cards at the grocery store the night before!

87. Wake up early

Set an alarm and enjoy some piece and quiet with a cup of coffee or other indulgence.

88. Buy convenience food to make the week ahead a little easier

Pre-chopped fruits and veggies? Individual bags of nuts? 

Sometimes you just need things to be simple.

89. Have a paper plate day

No need to worry about washing dishes tonight.

90. Unfollow people on social media

We often compare ourselves to unrealistic expectations. 

Don’t let social media bring you down – only follow those who inspire you.

91. Floss

Taking care of our teeth and gums is so important and it can prevent issues from arising in the future. 

92. Order groceries online

Ditch walking down aisles and only buy what you need. 

You’ll save money and time!

93. Have a mommy and me pj’s day

Leave your pyjama’s on all day – and while you’re at it, have breakfast for dinner!

94. Write a gratitude list

Create a list of things you’re grateful for – place it in an obvious place for your friends and family to see how much you mean to them.

95. Go outside

No need to go anywhere. Just take in the fresh air.

96. Go to the library

Choose a book or two and plan time to read them.

97. Take photos

For your blog, social media, or otherwise!

98. Treat your kids – or spouse!

Do something nice for your loved ones just because. 

Giving feels good!

99. Quit Negativity

Self-talk, gossip, or otherwise – ditch this one yesterday. 

Negative energy is contagious and exhausting!

100. Have a family sleep over

Have a cuddle session with your hubby and the kids in your bed – or theirs.

101. Spend the night at Grandma’s!

This is one M and I do often when J’s on set. 

My little girl loves spending time with her grandparents and I love the break it gives me from cooking, cleaning, and entertaining M 100% of the time!

102. Plan a vacation

I don’t think you can touch Skyscanner when it comes to reasonable prices – our last trip to Croatia was just $600 CA taxes in!

103. Make dinner easy

I use my slow cooker to whip up simple and delicious meals weekly – meat, sauce, veggies, boom!

See you in 7 hours, dinner!

A healthy salad is another super easy and satisfying favourite in our house – sometimes I’ll even cheat and buy a few veggies pre-chopped. 

It’s less expensive and way healthier than fast food! 

104. Buy new clothes

A new outfit has the power to make you feel like a new person.

105. Treat yourself to some mom swag!

Here are a couple of my favourites: Mom Life | Wife Life | Mama | Good Mom with a Hood Playlist

106. Buy this week’s produce at the farmer’s market

Isn’t it neat meeting the people who grew your next meal?

107. Go swimming – or just float!

Being in water is such a relaxing feeling. 

108. Clean out your car

Empty that centre console and remove any junk you or the little ones forgot about.

109. Get a new planner and organize your life!

I love this one – just looking at it makes we want to get organized.

110. Whiten your teeth

These Whitestrips actually work – the hubby and I drink a TON of coffee, so our teeth were in need of serious TLC.

111. Try a new hairstyle or makeup look

Search Pinterest and YouTube and try a fresh look.

112. Stop complaining

This can be chronic – it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and start making a. change!

113. Order take out

Give cooking the finger – and enjoy a clean kitchen tonight. 

goat cheese and radish open faced sandwiches - order takeout - self care ideas

114. Start learning a new language

Speaking and understanding a second or even third language is a powerful skill – learning a new language is also fairly easy with elite software like Rosetta Stone.

Choose from 24 different language options and learn a new language before your next vacation.

115. Go through an old photo album

They grow up so fast, don’t they? And so did you!

116. Order an indulgence on Amazon Prime

It’s been sitting in your cart for so long, mama – just treat yourself!

117. Write a letter to each of your kids

For their lunch box or to read when they’re older!

118. Call your spouse just to say I love you

Or text them something you love about them. Kindness feels good.

119. Plan an upcoming renovation

I love browsing Pinterest for ideas and walking through Home Depot is great for planning those final touches. 

My little girl loves the race car shopping carts!

120. Create a Pinterest board with 52 ideas you want to try

Do one each week for the next year!

5 hand drawn black hearts as a banner

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make us feel our best.

I remember the first time I styled my hair after I had my little girl – I felt like a new person!

When I head out for the day, I now also make an effort to put on just a little makeup – something as simple as filling in my eyebrows and applying mascara provides that extra boost of confidence . 

With my husband working in the film industry, solo mommy days didn’t start happening until once my little girl was a bit older – J’s average work day is about 15 hours, so asking him to do anything besides recovering on the weekend felt wrong!

Once I got over the wife/mommy guilt though, my one day away from home made me a new person. Even just a few hours of solo grocery shopping at Costco, and I’m a better spouse and parent for it. 

When was the last time you had a chance to clear your head, mama? You work hard and deserve it! 

So, make time for you, even if it means starting with baby steps – go from 5 minutes a day of just you time to an entire day of recovery. 

Which self-care ideas for moms will you try first? Have an idea for self-care that should have made this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

text reads nikki xo in pink font

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