19 Ideas for Free Self-Care

When it comes to self-care you need to get creative. You don’t have unlimited funds! You have kids who need your attention all the time! It takes some serious detective skills to figure out how to fit yourself into all of the caretaking that you do. We’re here to give you some ideas of how to carve time for yourself that won’t break the bank.

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  1. Shower – Fit it in. During naps, while baby is in a bassinet in the bathroom with you, hand baby to a friend, partner, parent, etc. With my first son I was so worked up that I never took a moment to myself and if he made any sort of peep I jumped out of the shower or I never took one at all. With my second son I would get him all set up in the bassinet, turn on his mobile and give him some toys to hold. I took a long shower. If he started to fuss or even cry I talked to him and played some peekaboo, but I finished my shower.
  2. Disappear – When visitors come to see the baby take this as an opportunity to leave the room. Take a shower, meditate, eat some chocolate in the closet, sit and stare at the wall, turn the faucet on and cry, whatever. Face it, they are not there to see you anyway.
  3. Delegate – Also, ask those visitors to help with a chore. Take out the trash when they leave, load the dishwasher, fold some laundry. People want to help, but they don’t know how. Tell them.
  4. Demand to pee alone – If you have a partner tell them that they will watch the baby while you use the bathroom at least once a day. If you have older kids set them up with a task or a show and tell them that you will be having a poo alone. Then take your time and while you are at it flush your guilt down the toilet.
  5. Healthy snacks – Have some nutritious snack and meal options. Eating well can boost our positive emotions.
  6. DIY mani/pedi – You might do it sloppy but you’ll feel pampered. Involve the kids or let them watch TV for a while. It’s OK, it really is. I like to think that taking time for myself and having lazy afternoons teaches my kids how to care for themselves and how to sit back and relax on occasion. (Hint- paint your nails as best you can and when they dry wash some dishes or take a shower. It cleans it right off your skin and looks super neat).
  7. Put on clean clothes – It might seem like it’s not worth it, but feeling clean helps with maintaining positivity.
  8. Open your curtains – Don’t sit in the dark and don’t rely only on light bulbs. Let in the sunlight and open the windows to get fresh air even in the most extreme temperatures.
  9. Go outside every day – Go for a long walk with your child in a carrier or stroller. Let them take a nap while you walk, bribe them with snacks to chill while you get moving if you have to. If you can’t take a long walk take a short one. If you can’t walk then sit on the porch. And in the worst case scenario stick your head out the window.
  10. Cry – Whether you have a newborn or a 16-year-old you probably have times when you feel like crying and you aren’t sure why. Don’t get too worried about it. It’s normal, crying is good for us, it clears some room inside. Just let yourself cry.
  11. Download – These days there is a ton of free stuff to download. Meditations, mindfulness podcasts, seminars from Zen masters. These can help direct your thinking positively and create new thinking patterns.
  12. Wash your sheets – Clean linens feel amazing.
  13. Drink – Treat yourself to a glass of wine or beer. It’s totally safe while breastfeeding.
  14. Join the Mama Tribe group – or other online networking sites to meet new people. Mom friends are the bomb.
  15. Drink water
  16. Sit in the front seat – When you need to go somewhere in the car buckle the kiddos in and go to the driver’s seat. But don’t drive away yet. Put on some lipstick, stare at yourself in the mirror, do some deep breathing, say a poem or mantra, do anything that you can to take a quiet, still moment to yourself. Remind yourself that you are still here, you matter, you can get through this and you are doing a great job.
  17. Tell your partner what they will be doing – I have found that working as a team takes some work. Partners are often lost as to how they can help and might be putting a ton of energy into something that you don’t care about. When my first son was born my husband became obsessed with the dishwasher and garbage. He would frantically load the dishwasher and take out the trash while I was under a baby wondering when he was going to help. But he thought he was helping. Finally I had to communicate to him, “can you hold this baby so I can pee??!!”
  18. Trade babysitting – Find a mom with older kids in the neighborhood. Offer to watch her child after school or on the weekends. The preteens love playing with babies and small children. You can take a load off while still being present in case of an emergency. Get back in touch with a hobby like reading, painting, knitting, baking or yoga. The same goes for a partner. My husband and I often “trade runs” or “trade computer time.”
  19. Turn on the TV – After the birth of my second son I was struggling again with breastfeeding while my oldest cried that he wanted the baby to go away. Those early months were so painful. A good friend of mine said, “Use media, that’s what it’s for.” I harbor a large amount of anxiety around media with my children. But I have learned to make a place for it. When I am sure we have addressed everyone’s feelings and that we have agreed upon a time to turn it off then I sit back and take advantage of the few relaxing moments that I get when my kids watch a program. Then I go to the bathroom alone and flush my guilt down the toilet.

About Abby Theuring

Abby Theuring
The Badass Breastfeeder is a mother, writer, social worker, attachment parent, proud breastfeeder and advocate. Her career as a social worker has shown her that gentle and connected parenting is vital for life-long emotional health.You can find her blog at www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheBadassBreastfeeder.

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