“Self-care” has become a buzzword in the wellness community, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily always understand what it means.
Ultimately, self-care is the practice of taking action to improve your own health. Honoring your body, mind, and spirit will help you activate the best version of yourself you can be by improving your physical, mental and/or emotional health.
But, as mothers, it might feel like there’s barely any time –or money– to focus on you. Hopefully, this list of affordable self care ideas for mothers and families alike, because health shouldn’t be a luxury. You can practice self-care on a budget.
(This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of my links I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I will never suggest a product or service that I don’t use and love myself because that’s just wrong. If you like reading legal mumbo-jumbo then you can check out my disclosure policy HERE.)
Why Self-Care is Important for Moms
Moms have the toughest job in the world. You’re probably feeling overworked and overtired, and that’s precisely why it’s important that you take care of both your mental and physical well being.
Although it probably sounds impossible to prioritize an hour of yoga above all the other things you have to do, treating yourself to time alone has been proven to improve overall well being. In fact, according to VeryWellMind, it can even make you a better caregiver, since it reduces the risk of you getting burned out.
Affordable Self-Care Options for Moms
Meditation has become something many people are often scared of. I don’t know how to do it well or I get distracted are the most common worries of people trying to get into meditation. But, here’s the thing, meditating is just about listening to your thoughts and being present in the moment. It’s not about achieving a completely blank mind, nor will it feel good the first time around.
Oftentimes, reading is seen as something that you “have” to do: either for school, work or simply to understand a topic that you’re interested in. However, reading can also be self-care when you’re reading a book that gives you peace of mind, helps you disconnect from your daily anxieties or simply helps you enjoy the moment a little more often.
With yoga becoming increasingly popular in the west, so have many misconceptions surrounding it. If you look at any yoga account on Instagram, you’ll see perfectly flexible –mostly female– bodies wearing expensive gear. Yoga doesn’t need to be like this. You don’t need a large budget for yoga: as long as you have comfortable clothing and a nice quiet space for your practice, you’ll be good to go.
Also, don’t worry about flexibility, stamina or fitness, yoga is more about the mind than the body: learn to be present and mindful of what your body is capable of without worrying too much about perfection. In fact, there’s plenty of online tutorials and cheap or discounted beginner classes that you can use to get started.
4. Artistic hobbies
The most important thing here is that you don’t need to be artistic to benefit from an artistic hobby. In fact, the pleasure from art usually comes from the process of creation, not necessarily the final outcome. Whether it’s painting, knitting, drawing or sculpting, budgeting some time per week for a creative hobby can have very positive results.
Remember, coloring books aren’t only for children, but if you’re worried about them, you can have your kids join the fun and color together!
Any form of exercise, really. Whatever fits your schedule and gives you space to breathe. The good thing about walking? It’s free. And you can do it basically anywhere. In fact, you can do it on the way to the grocery store, or the market, or whatever other errands you need to run.
As long as you take the time to think about yourself and take care of your mind, you’ll be practicing some form of self-care. Doing it outside is an extra plus, studies have shown that spending time outdoors can reduce mental fatigue, stress and elevate your mood.
Finding Time for Self-Care as a Mom
All of these self-care ideas are affordable and a great way for moms to start taking care of themselves… but, many of you might be thinking: how do I get enough time alone to do that?! It’s definitely not easy, but here’s a list of quick tips you can use to find the time alone you need:
1. Find activities for your kids that will free up time for you
Play dates, nap time and after-school activities are great ways to both entertain your kids and get some free time for yourself.
2. Get support
The truth is, getting alone time while being a mother is nearly impossible, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make a plan with your partner so that you can both have enough time with the kids and enough time for yourselves. Also, your in-laws or parents can help you take care of the kids whenever you’re feeling extra overwhelmed.
3. Schedule it and make it regular
If you make alone time sporadic, it will feel abnormal for your family. But if you do it weekly and let your kids know beforehand that you’re going to need some time alone, it will become part of their routine and if they’re old enough, they’ll learn to entertain themselves soon enough.
Many of these activities can also be done with the whole family: take your kids out for a walk, to the movies, or the park and you will soon find yourself with time on your hands to think. Reading can be a great communal activity as well, as you will teach them the beauty of losing themselves in a book. If you can’t quite find the time for these self-care ideas, take your kids along. It’s better to do it with them than not do it at all.
What about you? What are some ways that you practice self-care on a budget? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook Group.
Until next time!
About the author: Andee is a recent college graduate from Arizona State University with a love of writing, the outdoors, and funky cafes. You can usually find her hiking or planning her next trip. She is passionate about traveling, frugal living, her family, and the perfect cup of coffee. Find her on Instagram as @andee_schmidt or Twitter @andeeschmidt