What is Self Care
I often overlooked self care as something optional, a luxury only acceptable when “the job was done”. I thought that if I push through I can accomplish all these things and that my body and mind would accept my resolution and follow along. That is why I am sharing with you today 7 FREE self care ideas for bad day. Because we all need to stop sometimes and take a break.
If you haven’t gotten the idea yet, I am a very resilient person. I am someone who “gets the job done” and I love challenging myself personally and professionally.
When I became a parent, I was pushed to the edge. My 10 hour nights became 5 broken hours and my days were filled with multi tasking my business and a child at the same time. Sure, my husband is great, but when you are breastfeeding for 2.5 years, you become very physically attached to your child and they prefer you for all their soothing needs.
Being a type A personality probably didn’t help my self care needs either.
Then my father passed away unexpectedly. This type of trauma can have anyone fall off their stool, but with my already quite fragile state it was quite tough. His death through me into a negative frame of mind that blurred my vision and made me hyper critical and irritable with my loved ones.
It was time for change. I knew that a strong will would not be enough to pull me out of this state and that I had to consciously include self care into my life for my mental well-being.
My story is quite extreme though. Self Care comes in many forms and sometimes we don’t need a major overhaul, but instead a little pick me up when a tough day gets presented to us.
If you are a mama and have no idea how the heck you will find time for self care, continue reading to get some great ideas. The best part? they are FREE!
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Finding time for self care as a Breastfeeding Mother
When does self care happen?
It happens when someone else is watching the kids. It is impossible to fully let your mind relax if you have a third ear making sure your kids aren’t breaking anything or making a mess in the other room.
As a mother to a young child, I’ve come to the realization that I need to plan self care into my daily schedule. Often I take a 2-hour break to myself in the afternoon after my son’s nap (we bed share). He and my husband hang out in the living room or go for a walk and I close myself in our bedroom with a cup of coffee (love my nespresso machine) and a treat.
When I am having a bad day I will straight out say, you need to take care of him so I can get some a lone time! Being explicit and clear is very helpful to make sure I get my needs met.
Here a few ideas of what your toddler can play with at home while you take a break.
7 FREE Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day
- Take a walk. ALONE.
- Call a friend.
- Take a long shower / bath.
- Get everyone (except yourself) out of the house.
- Mind dump your thoughts into a journal.
- Get organized.
- Go to bed early.
Take a walk. ALONE
Walking is a great way to stimulate endorphins which will change the way you think. Your thoughts have power so if you change the narrative, you can change how you feel about what is happening.
It’s important though that you take a walk without your children. This is a time for you to enjoy uninterrupted time to think and be with yourself. Let your husband or a friend watch the kids while you go get your steps in for the day.
It is a plus if you take a brisk walk, that will get your juices flowing better. A 30 minute fast pace walk will most undoubtedly have you feeling so much better by the time you return home.
Is it raining? who cares?! Put your rain boots and raincoat on and go get splashing.
Call a friend
Ever since we had our son, making phone calls has been challenging. When kids are younger, they require a lot of supervision, and when they are sleeping we might be scared to wake them with our chatter.
Now that our toddler is 2.5 years old he can start to stir things up and become noisy on purpose. He doesn’t understand why I would rather talk on the phone than play with him at the moment. I used to make phone calls when walking in the stroller but have stopped ever since our toddler started chatting up a storm.
What’s that mama? Look at the tree mama! Did you hear that mama? Where we going mama? (..and the list goes on…)
If you are having bad day and need a pick me up, grab that phone and call someone you really enjoy talking to. Friends have that special power to bring us back into our groove. If anything, it’s an ear to listen to when we need to vent.
If your kid won’t leave you alone, let them do something you otherwise wouldn’t let them, so it feels special. Maybe an extra show on the iPad, or let them eat that ice cream meant only for Saturdays. Do whatever it takes to give you uninterrupted time to call someone up.
You deserve a break too!
Take a long shower / bath
Baths are great for self care, but personally I am more of a shower person. I love the feeling of the hot water falling on my head and shoulders. I close my eyes and surrender to the soothing noise of the water hitting the bathtub.
Set up music or a favorite podcast, light some scented candles and let all those stressful thoughts simmer down until they are mere whispers.
Stopping whatever you are doing to immerse yourself in hot water is a great way to release that muscle tension that builds up with stress. If you are having a bad day, those muscles will be extra tense!
Do yourself a shower during this time of self care. Lock the bathroom door so that you can get some peace and quiet. If your family is anything like mine, I am often needed the most when I go to the bathroom.
Get everyone (except yourself) out of the house
You are having a bad day. The last thing you need is for the innumerable requests and problems to be thrown your way until you have a moment to regroup. This is a perfect opportunity to kick everyone out of the house.
Sure it’s nice to get out a lone and I totally recommend it, but there is just something soothing about having a silent home to yourself.
When my husband takes our son out, I expect them to not return for ALTEAST 2 hours. That is the amount of time needed to get my ducks in a row and lessen the overwhelming feeling. I like to check off some items on my to do list, lay down on the couch and watch some TV or maybe even take a nice nap.
Mind dump your thoughts into a journal
Our emotions are processed in a different area of the brain than reasoning. It’s an area called the Amygdala. The part of the brain that process reasoning is called the Prefrontal Cortex. It’s the part of the brain that develops last (which is why children can be very emotional and irrational).
If you start writing about your feelings, you can bridge the gap between emotion and reason which will help you process your bad day better. It’s a great way to manage those feelings of dissapointment. The best part is you are strengthening your brain functions, and it’s FREE! All you need is pen and paper.
If you want to get fancy though there are some journal options from Amazon:
I don’t know about you, but if I am having a bad day, a messy house makes me feel even worse! Toys everywhere, dishes in the sink, clothing that needs to be folded. Getting the house in tip-top shape might take a whole day, so start small.
Is there an area of the house you spend most time in? Then start there. I like getting surfaces cleared: my son’s toys off the couch and clear off the kitchen counters. Windex is your friend here.
This might not feel like self care, but doing some light cleaning is a form of meditation. It helps your mind be fully in the present, as you decide on the actions you take. Moving around will aid in circulation and now that the couch is cleared, make yourself and nice tea and relax!
Go to bed early
I often feel the need to stay up late because it’s the only quiet time at home. It’s the time I unwind, work on the computer and (unfortunately) eat junk food.
In the morning I feel tiered and grumpy because of the fewer hours of sleep I had the night before.
If you are having a bad day, be kind to yourself and post pone everything until the next day. Once your kiddo is down for the night go to bed too. Put on some cozy pajamas, drink a cup of tea and get under the covers. You will be thankful in the morning.
What will get you there?
It is so hard to put ourselves first, however sometimes a bad day is a sign you might need to slow things down. If the day doesn’t go your way and you feel like it’s difficult to be flexible, it’s possible your cup is low and needs refilling (just like mine was..ehh .. still is).
Good news though, refilling your cup doesn’t have to cost anything!
Share in the comments-
What was the last thing you did for self care?
If you have a toddler that takes 1 nap a day, check out the Ultimate Schedule for the Tiered Toddler Mama (with printables).
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6 thoughts on “7 FREE Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day”
Thank you so much for this fantastic article, Stephanie. It’s imperative that we take time for ourselves-if we don’t care for ourselves, we won’t be able to care for anyone else. Though I am not currently married, nor do I have any children, I take care of my disabled mother, and live in a house with 7 other people (including my mother). I sometimes feel like I’m a one-woman army-cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, caring for my mother, helping my little cousins with their homework when their parents can’t, etc. It’s definitely draining, and I often find myself needing a break. I like to go for a walk or drive around our neighborhood-just me, my hot chocolate, my relaxing music, my relaxing thoughts, and God. I also enjoy locking myself in my room with junk food, relaxing music, my favorite game/match/program, and talking to friends. It’s a wonderful stress relief! You have provided us with excellent tips, and I will certainly take them to heart! God bless you!
Thank you so much for your reply. It is so easy to let our own self care derail when we feel there are others in more need than us. I like your suggestion of driving with hot chocolate. I LOVE hot chocolate. Sounds fantastic.
Self care is such a positive concept, and for me the ”clean and organized” home really makes me feel lots better when I feel down, and likewise if my home is a mess I easily gets in a bad mod. Felt so sorry for you loosing your papa so hastely. Arrangemanget how life on one hand can be so hard like loosing a person you love, but at the same time so wonderful having that little one giving so much precious love.
yes, I need a clean house to work, especially if I need to concentrate on something. when possible we will definitely have someone clean the house once a week again. that was so nice.
What a great and important topic – children or no children. Regardless your situation we all need and deserve selfcare. Daily challenges can put anyone over the edge unless we know how to destress. I feel it is so important to gift ourself some me-time even when it seems impossible. I like to disappear in a book or go for a run. I can’t think of a better stress release than to exercise. It makes you feel good about yourself and refuels you with energy.
that is so true. I feel bad sometimes that exercise has been put on the back burner since Luca was born. I am planning to take on Yoga again though once our new indoor bije arrives. It has a big screen where I can take yoga classes and I am excited to try that out.
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