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Sneaky Self-Care Ideas
Are you a crazy-busy, in-it-up-to-your-eyeballs, no-time-for-self-care, frazzled mom? You barely have two seconds to put together, and you’re running full-tilt from the second your feet hit the ground in the morning, until well after midnight when you fall asleep at the kitchen table, surrounded by yesterday’s dishes and miscellaneous chaos and work that you just couldn’t get to. Me too.
Later, when the cat runs across your face and you snort yourself awake, you realize you have a kink in your neck, you’ve been drooling all over that permission slip, and your left foot is asleep. And you have MAYBE three good hours left before you have to wake up the troops and do it all over again!
I feel you, Mama. I’ve been living that dream for over 15 years straight…hardly a break at all. Wise? Probably not. Exhausting? Absolutely. (Who needs adrenal glands, anyway, right?) Does anybody else understand? Nope, unless they’re living it too.
And everywhere you look, they say “take a break” and “take care of yourself first” and “practice self-care”. Riiiiighhhhttt, you think. “They” have no idea what you face every day. “They” get to take showers. AND brush their hair. “They” even get to sit down to eat.
Like, EVERY DAY! Absurd. Who lives like that?
But we all know we can’t run on fumes forever. And those lovely little faces whose well-being requires us to sacrifice our very selves…could hardly care less. Well, ok, they’ll probably thank us later. When they’re drooling on permission slips and looking a hot mess. But how do we take care of ourselves too, when we’re just surviving day to day?
Below are lots of Sneaky Self-Care ideas – perhaps you’ll find a few you can implement on the sly. You know, in between phone calls and vacuuming and work and bills.
Stealth Moves to Put Yourself First
Sometimes the only self-care we can muster is teeny tiny ways of putting ourselves first. You know, just a little bitty thing we do for ourselves, to remind ourselves that somebody cares <3. Here are some ideas:
- When you’re setting the table for the whole family, give yourself the best spoon. You know, the only one that hasn’t gotten chewed up by the garbage disposal yet.
- When you’re rationing the bag of sweets, give yourself an extra one. Do it on the sly, so you don’t cause a ruckus, but stash it in your purse for next Thursday, when the baby is screaming in the parent pick up line and you need a little sanity.
- Buy extras of your favorite pen. Stash them around so you’ll always have one handy. Complain about them a lot, so nobody wants to steal them 🙂
- Create a simple, easy nightly ritual for yourself – and try to do it at the same time each night so you have something to look forward to during the bedtime shenanigans. Mine is to brew one cup of my favorite tea (decaf Earl Gray) in my favorite cup, and sip it while I gear up for the Battle of the Teenage Bedtime. The first sip is always accompanied with a sigh and a relax-the-shoulders move.
- When you’re buying five different kinds of sliced cheese, make sure to buy the kind YOU like, too. Hide it in the back of the fridge, if necessary. Sneak yourself a slice, right out of the package, when the kids aren’t looking.
- When you take the fam out for super cheap Taco Tuesdays, go ahead and get yourself the extra guac. You know you deserve it, Mama. Also, #GuacIsLife.
Have a Conversation With Yourself
What we tell ourselves is very important. Everyone says so. And you know what? It really is true. Try these, just to see if it makes a difference in your ability to get through the day without crumpling under the weight of it all:
- Give the hubs a sticky note and a pen. Ask him to write what he loves most about you, and stick it to the inside of your medicine cabinet, or somewhere you’ll see it every day. See if that doesn’t bring a smile to your face next time you reach for your toothbrush.
- Install a talking alarm on your phone. Set it for the time of day you usually feel the most run down. Have it say, “You are amazing! You can do this! Now eat some chocolate!”. (Pro tip: if you snooze the alarm, you’ll get two pieces of chocolate ;))
- Grab your child’s discarded dry-erase pen and write yourself a message on the hallway mirror. Write, “Mom is the best!” Go around asking everyone if they know who did that.
- Write “You have permission to let this go.” on your favorite color of index card, fold it up and put it in your pocket. Pull it out and read it every time something is weighing on your mind.
- I’ve read that talking to yourself is actually a sign of intelligence. (Fantastic!) So set the timer for two minutes and let it all out! Then set it again and spend two whole minutes explaining to yourself why things are gonna be ok.
Double-Duty Self-Care Ideas
Sometimes the work we have to do needs to double up as self-care, too. So if you absolutely can’t stop the crazytrain for even two minutes, consider these ideas:
- Choose one spot in your house where the mess frustrates you the most. It needs to be cleaned up anyway, right? Consider it self-care. When you’ve decluttered your bathroom counter, you’ll feel better and you’ve made it easier to take care of yourself tomorrow morning. Bam! Self-care.
- When you’re cleaning the bathroom, take a second to restock the toilet paper, the tampons, the handsoap. Refold the stack of towels under the sink. Put a couple extra trash bags in the bottom of the can. Next time you reach for one of these things, you’ll know somebody (you!) thought you were important enough to take care of.
- Cleaning out the minivan? Set yourself up with an extra lip balm (your favorite kind), nail clippers, a nice little hand lotion, and the right cord to charge your phone. Like a mini gift basket for yourself. You can spend your parent pickup line minutes giving yourself an ultra-mini mani!
Do Something Weird to Crack Yourself Up
Laughter is the best medicine! And if you can have a little giggle at your own inside joke, all the better! And all that hilarity will sneak out later as a smile you can’t hide 😉
- Every time you pass a mirror, give yourself a double-take. If you’re feeling extra spunky, put on your best Joey smolder and say “How you doin?” Then laugh hysterically.
- Paint your toenails, each a different color. Use a sharpie marker to draw a happy face on one. 🙂
- Wear two different shoes. See how long it takes people to notice. Act like you don’t understand what they’re saying.
- Make up a 30 second song about anything. Then make up a ridiculous dance to go with it. Perform this duo around the living room for a while. Then go on about your business like nothing ever happened.
Surprise Pops of Beautiful
If you have something that YOU consider beautiful to look at, you’ll be happier! If YOU are the one to “plant” those stealth bits of beauty and surprise happinesses, then that’s self-care! Take good care of yourself! Some ideas:
- Nestle a single favorite flower in a small vase in the center of that mess on the table. Every time your eyes slide over the piles and see that flower smiling up at you, you’ll smile too. 🙂
- Take an extra minute to put on your favorite piece of jewelry. Be sure to jingle it around while you swagger around, going about your day.
- Brush your hair. Yes, mama, I know you. Because you’re me. And we don’t bother to brush our hair most days. So go ahead and brush your hair. Treat it nicely, massage your scalp, pretend it’s really your grandma brushing 100 strokes before bedtime.
- Just for today, don’t wear the Mom Uniform – baggy tshirt and leggings. Right? Instead, wear that one outfit that makes you feel BEAUTIFUL. Go somewhere just to flaunt it. And secretly count how many heads you turn 😉
Self-Care Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
You may have noticed that most of the ideas listed above are quite frugal. Self-care absolutely does not have to cost a lot of money. It can be completely free. The point isn’t to spend your family into a hole, just to say you did something for yourself. The point is to take care of yourself. And that could be simple, easy, cheap.
I’d like to challenge you today – take 5 minutes while you drink your coffee, and scratch out a list of ideas that equate to self-care for YOU. Things you can do for or give yourself, that would make you feel better. That would convince you that someone (YOU) cares. That would improve your mood, lighten your load, or just put a smile on your face.
Now scan that list and add up how much it would cost to do each item, one time. Which one could you do for yourself right now?
Comment below and share a couple of your favorite stealth, frugal self-care ideas. Let’s see how many creative ideas we can come up with!
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