Self-care ideas for busy Moms

As a new parent, it can feel overwhelming to suddenly have little to no time to yourself with almost all of your focus on your baby. Although it can seem impossible, it’s important for new parents to remember that taking care of themselves is important, too. When you can, making time for self-care can help you feel centered and more like “you” as you adjust to your new role as a parent.

Of course, many moms and dads don’t have easy access to child care, which can make carving out space for self-care even more difficult. But if you’re able to find time, even if only for a few minutes, try not to feel guilty for taking it — remember that self-care isn’t selfish.

And when you are able to priotize time for yourself, fill it with something that genuinely recharges you — not just the “take a shower” advice that’s often recommended to new parents as a way to unwind. (Of course, showering every day is far easier said than done when you’re caring for a newborn, and it’s definitely an accomplishment to fit a relaxing shower or bath into your day — but basic hygiene shouldn’t be your only option for self-care!)

Whether you can spare a few minutes or have time for a longer activity, here are some affordable self-care ideas for moms.

Schedule the time

Although sticking to a schedule can be challenging as a new parent, especially if you have a newborn who hasn’t yet settled into a predictable sleep routine, finding a day and time that’s usually open for you can help you make self-care a priority. For example, if your baby tends to nap around 1:30 p.m. and your partner is home on Sunday afternoons, block out that window.

Go for a walk

Taking time for a walk — whether it’s a five-minute stroll around the block or an hour-long escape during your lunch hour — can be a gamechanger for your mental health. Fresh air, a change of scenery and physical activity all offer a chance to reset.


Mindful meditation is a tried-and-true way to recharge. And it has health benefits, too: Some research suggests that a meditation practice may help reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress and fatigue. New to meditation and not sure where to start? You can find free clips on YouTube, as well as meditation apps like Expectful (which is specifically designed for pregnant people and new parents), Headspace, Calm or the Mindfulness App.


Putting down your phone and diving into the pages of a good book before bed can help you power down after a long day. To keep yourself motivated, consider joining a virtual book club with friends.

Pamper yourself

Whether it’s a sheet mask or home pedicure, squeezing in a few extra minutes to pamper yourself can help you relax and de-stress. Even better? Combine your pamper session with a comforting TV show and cup of tea in a cozy bathrobe.

Call your best friend

Have 30 minutes during your baby’s naptime? Schedule a phone date with your best friend. It’s remarkable how much lighter you can feel after catching up with loved ones and filling them in on your life (and hearing about theirs, too).


Putting your thoughts to paper can help you check in with yourself and process overwhelming feelings. Not sure where to begin? A quick search for guided journals will deliver plenty of options, from notebooks that prompt you to write about certain topics to wellness journals. “A gratitude journal for me has been the most helpful [self-care strategy],” said one What to Expect community parent. Even taking 30 seconds to jot down how you’re feeling on your phone’s notepad can help.

Take a day off social media

If you’re able, going off the grid can do big things for your mental health. Temporarily delete your go-to social media apps from your phone (or at least hide them in a folder) and disable notifications. You might be amazed at how much energy you preserve by doing so. “Take a break from social media if you feel like you just want to stare at your beautiful baby,” recommends one What to Expect community parent. “Remember you only owe yourself and your baby that time and affection. Everyone else can wait a little.”

Get active

It might be the last thing you feel like doing at the time, but exercise has countless benefits for both mind and body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity improves sleep quality and reduces feelings of anxiety after just one moderate-to-vigorous workout. (Talk about taking care of yourself!) Running low on motivation or time? Look up a short, fun dance workout on YouTube, go for a jog around the block or do some restorative yoga stretches before bed.

Explore a new hobby

Discovering (or re-discovering!) a hobby you’re passionate about can be a fun way to make time for yourself. If you enjoy music, consider resarching new artists or teaching yourself an instrument. If physical activity energizes you, see if there are any free fitness classes in a nearby park, or download a fitness app that inspires you.

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