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50 Free Self-Care Tips For Busy Moms

April 10, 2022

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The ONLY way I have time to read!

Stop Making Self-Care For moms so complicated

Self-care is important for our well-being. I love self-care.

Moms in particular need to practise self-care. But for us, it’s harder. For so many reasons, women tend to forget about themselves and end up getting burnt out. It is not okay. 

And, you know what I hate? Being made to feel like the only way I can prioritize myself is by spending oodles of money and time I absolutely do not have. 

The internet is full of people and companies telling us what we should be doing to live our best lives and many of them, while well intended- live on a different planet, or at least in a different tax bracket. 

If you are anything like me, you are sick of feeling like self-care is just another thing to add to the long list of what moms have to get done in a day when we can hardly do what needs to be done as it is.

So, here are 50 self-care tips for moms.

@diaryofanhonestmom A reminder that you matter too #mindsetshift #motherhood #momlife #supportmoms #selfcare #realmomlife #thehonestmom #momsoftiktok #parenting #tiredmoms ♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz

We’ve all come across the moms who make it seem like self-care is a spa weekend or weekly manicures and new clothing hauls every 5 minutes. 

“It’s a choice,” is the vibe they give off. But it’s not as simple as that. 

While I now would agree that believing in our value, our worthiness and the importance of taking time to rejuvenate ourselves is part of the picture, it’s only one mere step on the road to taking care of ourselves. 

Many moms just don’t have support for childcare, and others don’t have the money to practise what some people call self-care. It is more than just a choice. 

I am here to tell you that you can practise self-care with absolutely no money and no support. Is it harder? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely. 

We don’t NEED money to say “I am important.” 

There are so many more ways we can prioritize the things that bring us joy, life, and energy so that we don’t lose ourselves to motherhood and taking care of everyone else. There are habits and activities we can build into the fabric of our lives that cost no money and bring great reward.  

So, without further adieu…

50 Free Self-Care Tips for Moms

1. Go for a walk

It’s been scientifically proven that exercise, even just walking, is good for your physical and mental health. Aside from the vitamin D we get from being outside, it can aide in better sleep, better mood, curbing stress and giving you energy. 

2. Read a paper book

There is something extremely therapeutic about slowing down and taking the time to read a paper book. Don’t have any? Go to the library. They’re free. I highly recommend anything by Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle or Jen Hatmaker if you’re a woman on a journey to owning and accepting who you are.

3. Listen to a podcast

It’s one of the most accessible ways we can tune in to something other than our own brains and learn, be entertained and connect with the outside world. I love to listen while I drive, shop, walk or just about anything alone. And if you find a good one, it’s like having a portable friend in your pocket you just tune into whenever you have a few minutes.  “We Can Do Hard Things” is a great one by Glennon Doyle. 

4. Social media

Follow people who inspire and encourage and validate you, unfollow the ones who make you feel less than, or shameful or not enough. Use your time on social media to feed yourself good things. It can be a powerful tool.

Libby Ward in a dark blue tank top and jeans smiling at the camera

5. Eat first

So you’re a mom, which means you have kids and most of the time you probably either feed them first or try to eat simultaneously and everyone needs something so you don’t end up eating until it is cold. Do yourself a favour and eat first: the kids will be fine. They will get fed and you won’t be hangry. 

6. Listen to an audiobook

There are so many amazing books but as moms we don’t always have the sheer amount of time needed to read an actual book. I love to listen to my favourite books when I walk or clean, or as I am falling asleep. It’s a great habit that can really enrich your life but doesn’t cost money, especially if you can get them through your local library. 

7. Journal

There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as getting all the words down that you can’t or won’t say out loud to someone. It costs nothing and yet, for me, I feel infinitely lighter once I’ve gotten my thoughts and feelings out for the day. If you need some prompts, I’ve got you covered as well.

8. Meditate

Meditation and prayer can be an extremely powerful tool for mindfulness, peace and tuning into yourself. The intentional quiet that we create when we do it has multiple therapeutic benefits and is so good for our overall well-being. If you find it hard to quiet down, there are plenty of apps like Insight Timer to help you really focus on breathing and relaxation techniques. 

9. Do a YouTube yoga video

There are endless YouTube videos that can instruct you on yoga practices, stretching or other physical activities that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. If you are looking for a great place to start, try this Wake Up Yoga With Adrienne.

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10. Commit to a nightly skincare routine and take your time

Chances are you already have some products that you use in your skincare routine. If you are anything like me, you forget, you lose interest, or you feel overwhelmed with another thing to do. Try scheduling time and taking your time to pamper yourself. If you don’t have any products at the moment, I highly recommend a make-at-home natural face mask. If you have green tea, oats, honey or a few other kitchen staples, you have what you need to make a good one! 

11. Give yourself a manicure

Open up those dusty old cupboards and get your manicure kit and nail polish out. Take a moment to breathe. Clip those nails. File. Soak your hands. Moisturize. Beautify. You’ll be reminded of these moments every time you catch a glimpse of your nails this week. It’ll feel nice. 

12. Take your vitamins 

This goes without saying but when you treat your body well, you are going to feel the benefits, and this one practise is no different. Maybe it will take a little longer to notice, but it’s worth starting this habit. Set a timer in your phone. Everytime to pop those vitamins you are saying to yourself “I matter too!”

13. Drink more water

There is a reason this one is on every self-care to do known to mankind. Because it is important and it works. Drink some water, feel the difference. 

14. Go for a walk or drive with a friend

Sometimes what we need more than anything else in this world, especially as moms, is real human connection. Don’t wait for a fancy night out. Go out for a walk after the kids are in bed, go for a drive on a Saturday afternoon. Just see a real human and share about the hard stuff and the fun stuff. We were made for connection. 

15. Dance in the kitchen

I literally have a playlist called feeeeeelll gooooood” on my Spotify, and I know that when I need a pick me up, I can just hit play, crank the tunes and dance it out. It ALWAYS makes me feel better about life no matter what I am going through. Dance it out girl.

Self-Care For Moms is a Necessity

16. Write a ta-da list

You’ve heard of a “to do” list but have you heard of a “ta-da” list? You write it at the end of the day or after completing any number of tasks. Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than to write down all the things I’ve gotten done in a day. And if the only thing on there is “kept kids alive” then you’re doing alright. Give yourself some credit. 

17. Nap

Naps are God’s gift to the world. If you can fit one in, take it. No, you can’t ALWAYS sleep when the baby sleeps, but once in a while it is exactly what you need. And if you’ve got a support person around…don’t feel guilty. Say adios and hit the hay. Naps are magical.

18. Sleep in 

Again with the sleep. It is biologically necessary for us to get enough sleep in order to function, to be healthy, to be happy and to do everything else we need to do in a day. If you aren’t sleeping enough, that is a huge problem that will affect everything else. Not so sure about that? Check out this post from sleep expert Amanda Jeswon and baby’s best sleep on the connection between self-care and sleep

19. Do your makeup

Take some time and put together a look you might not normally try. Take the time to use more than what you usually do. Take some time to watch a tutorial. Whatever your tactic, lean in to pre-motherhood you and make yourself feel beautiful- even if you aren’t going anywhere. 

20. Forgive someone

Girl. It’s hard. People have hurt you. I know because it is all a part of the human experience. Some people don’t deserve to be in our lives, true. But sometimes, when we hold onto our anger, it hurts us more than it hurts anyone else. Let go of something you have been holding onto. You don’t have to tell them, but sometimes, forgiveness feels like the weight of the world is lifted off of your shoulders. 

21. Forgive yourself

Don’t obsess over something you have done wrong. It is so detrimental to your health. Maybe you need to apologise, but maybe more than that you need to forgive yourself. You are human and therefore prone to making mistakes. Give yourself grace and see what it does for your mental state. I promise that it’s good stuff.  Check out this blog post on mom guilt if you are struggling with this one.

22. Actually get dressed

This one goes especially out to the stay-at-home moms and the work-from-home moms. It is SO easy to not get ready for the day when it feels pointless and you are not going out in public every day. But I tell you this: You WILL feel better if you do. Even something as simple as changing out of your PJ’s into some clean leggings and putting in some earrings will help. It’s definitely a mood booster. 

23. Say some positive affirmations

Girl, this is the good stuff. Want to hear my favourite one? “Be who you are and what you feel. Because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”- Dr. Seuss. But you don’t have to use mine. Check out these affirmations shared by Oprah. Saying good stuff to yourself daily is a lovely thing to do for you. 

24. Sing loudly in the car

I’ve literally got a playlist full of ballads and other nostalgic songs that I’ve loved throughout the years and when I need to get all the feelings out I drive around playing them and singing them as loudly as possible. It feels incredible. 

25. Make a Tiktok

Sometimes what we need most is to create and connect. To be heard and seen by those in the world who know or don’t know us but who might encourage us or let us know we aren’t alone. You don’t need a huge platform, that is the beauty of Tiktok. Just create.  While you are there check out the hashtag #therapytok

Stop gatekeeping Self-Care, Self-Care For Moms should be free

26. Cook a meal YOU enjoy

How often do we plan our meals throughout the week based on what is easy or what everybody else is going to eat? It becomes so second nature and sometimes we forget that what we like and want is important too.

So make a meal you like for once. And while you’re doing it, think of all the ways you deserve things you like. If the kids don’t like it? They can have a piece of toast and some fruit- they’ll be fine.

27. Make your bed

It’s a lot of work. Maybe it feels pointless because it’s just going to get messed up anyway. But when you’ve done it you’ll feel good and it’ll set you up for the day. You can thank yourself when you crawl into later that night. You won’t regret it. 

28. Follow a schedule

Boring right? Nah. Schedules help with everything from lowering our stress levels, to making life predictable for the kids so that they feel more secure and ask less questions, to making sure we’re only taking on a manageable load etc. Make a schedule, and stick to it. I promise it’s an important part of self-care. 

29. Do an artsy YouTube tutorial

My kids love to do art tutorials. But did you know they have them for adults? And that they are super therapeutic? This one is even focused on finding your inner peace. 

30. Do something kind for someone

It feels good to do good. It helps us connect and it gives us purpose. Maybe you can visit an elderly relative or drop off some freshly baked cookies. Maybe you can shovel your elderly neighbour’s driveway.  It might sound like more work that you don’t have time to do, but sometimes when we make space for lending a hand to others it comes right back at us. And, it feels good. 

31. Tell someone you love them

We don’t do this enough. Take a moment to contact someone in your life who you love or appreciate, and tell them that you do. You’ll be surprised by how such a small act can go a long way- for both them, and for you. 

32. Listen to a TedTalk

There are so many good ones. You can easily search up “motivational speeches” on YouTube or you can start with one of my faves “The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown”. This will be time well spent. 

33. Plan a made-up dream vacation

It’s seriously one of my favourite pastimes. There is a reason we love to dream. It takes us away from reality for a little while. You don’t need to actually go on the trip. But start a Pinterest board and plan a dream trip. It is actually super fun. 

34. Say no to something

Boundaries are a girl’s best friend. Many of us have said yes too many times and then regretted it. Too many of us are overcommitted. Too many of us are perfectionists or people pleasers. When we say no to things that are “heck yeses” we have the time and energy to give to the things that ARE things we want to do. We can’t do it all. What can you cancel? What can you say no to?

35. Turn off your phone

While our phones can connect us to the world around us, educate us and act as tools that make our lives easier…they can ALSO be detrimental to our physical and mental health. When you can, turn your phone off and put your phone down. Be still and quiet or connect with the humans around you. It’s good for you. 

36. Floss your teeth

This isn’t just about flossing. Many of us find flossing to be mundane and honestly just don’t want to do it even though we know it is important for our oral health. But what are you avoiding that you know is good for your mental health? Or your physical health? What is your “flossing”? Try to do that more. 

37. Call an old friend

Old friends can really really be great. As moms, it can be so easy to lose touch with people who we don’t see anymore. It’s hard to get out of the house, to work around naps, to socialise outside of home and work, or even just to maintain the friends that are current! Some of my best conversations have been over the old fashioned telephone with a friend who used to get me, and to my surprise, still does. So schedule it, and talk. It can be so good. 

38. Bake 

Mmmmmmmm. Yummy things have a special place in my heart. Yummy things that are straight out of the oven do even more. Yummy things that are straight out of the oven that I made with my own hands are a special kind of therapy. There is so much beauty in creating things. So if you can, bake. 

39. Make a playlist and share it with friends

Music is so good for the soul. The nostalgia I get from making playlists of music I used to love is palpable. Make happy, sad, fun, melancholic, high energy, or angry playlists. Make them all and share them around. Music is so good. 

40. Make an affirmation board

So maybe you don’t want to say the words out loud to yourself, but how about a physical board, a section on your fridge, a Pinterest board? Find a place in your life to collect the words that encourage and inspire you. And then look at it every day, especially in the moments you feel like you have nothing else for yourself- because sometimes, motherhood can feel that way.  

41. Play a phone game

There are so many games we can play on our phone. Personally, I forget. But they can actually be so fun and a great way to engage our brains and have some fun without spending money or leaving the house or logging on to social media. Candy Crush anyone?!

42. Make a fancy coffee

So you don’t have money to go to Starbucks but do you have coffee at home? Can you whip up some milk and put some froth on top? Can you swirl some caramel on that thing? Do it. And then put the TV on for the kids and leave the room to drink it in silence. Enjoy. 

43. Tell everyone to leave you alone 

So maybe you don’t want to DO another thing. Maybe you are exhausted. Maybe to all the things. Drop all the other things and all the excuses. If your partner is there: TELL THEM YOU NEED THIS. Don’t wait for them to offer. Don’t expect them to read your mind. Just tell them. Home alone with the kids? That sucks. If they are old enough, tell them to give you a few minutes. If they are young, that sucks. Admit it. Then, the next time you get a chance- take a break. 

44. Re-Watch Your Favourite TV Show

Let’s be honest it is probably Friends or The Office. Whatever it is, it was your favourite for a reason and it’s likely to be a feel- good time. 

45. Watch an old favourite feel-good movie

There is nothing like it. Personally, Bridesmaids does it for me. Or an Adam Sandler movie. Or Jim Carey. There are so many good ones. Find one and numb out and watch. It’s a good thing.

46. Donate your clothes that no longer fit

It feels yucky to have a closet full of things that don’t fit and clothes that remind us we don’t look like what we used to anymore. Our worth is not tied to the size of our bodies anymore. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit. You don’t need that negativity in your life. 

Two girls walking down the sidewalk with backpacks on

47. Make yourself pretty and post a no shame selfie

You aren’t vain. You are allowed to feel pretty. Do your make-up. Put on clothes that feel good. Go make-up-free and find your best light. Take the picture. Accept the compliments. You are allowed. It feels good. 

48. Go window shopping

So you have no money to spend. Go look at pretty things and dream about the future. Try some clothes on that you can’t afford. Try on a fancy dress even though you may not have a place to wear it. Imagine you are someone else. It’s just for fun. You’re allowed to do things that are just for fun. 

49. Create a gratitude list

No matter what is going on, you have something to be thankful and grateful for. Write the things down. Think about it. Think about how far you have come. It’s a really really good self-care practise and has endless benefits. 

50. Ask for a big hug

It’s so simple, but can be so good. It can be a partner, a parent, a friend, any trusted person. There’s scientific evidence that hugs are REALLY REALLY good for you.  

Moms Need self-Care. What’s Stopping you?

There are 3 things that CAN get in the way of self-care:

Your mindset

You need to acknowledge your own needs before you can prioritize them. You need to believe you are worth prioritizing before you make the changes. This part starts with you.

Your wallet

The commercial industry and social media like to make us think that self-care is spa weekends away and hokey expensive personal care products. This is your proof that self-care can be free. AND…this post has some tips for self-care for moms on a small budget.

Your time/support

As moms it is extra difficult to find time for ourselves when we are already needed at most points of the day and already pulled in so many different directions. I encourage you to communicate with the people in your life who support you (your partner, parent or friends) to step in and give you chances to practise self-care. If you feel like you are lacking support, read this post I wrote on self-care tips for those without support

I hope you can take some time and do things for you. You deserve it. 

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- Libby

The ONLY way I have time to read!

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4 Responses

  1. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Keep up the great paintings! You realize, a lot of people are hunting round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  2. I love the idea of trying on cloths even though you may not be able to buy them . I used to think it’s just sad if I can’t buy them .. but now I’m thinking it is okay to dream and just do it for fun ! & I can get the same feel good feeling staring at myself in the dressing room mirror with out the fear of my little one ruining the outfit anyhow. lol – So to add to this – I’d say do your makeup and hair and then try on all the things you’d buy and just feel really good for a moment . ☺️

    1. <3 it's also a good way to figure out what looks great on you, so if you ever do see a sale item, or something at thrift store - you already know it'll be a winner!!! <3

  3. This is by far the best most realistic self care list for a busy overwhelmed Mom I’ve ever read.
    From the bottom of my very tired heart,
    Thank you xo

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