3 Simple Self-Care Rituals That Make a HUGE Difference for Me

posted by Andrea | 09/25/2017
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I’m often asked if there are certain things I do on a regular basis that are little “treats” for myself — something to pamper myself or something to look forward to after the kids are in bed.

I’ll be honest, I’m definitley NOT the type to look forward to exercising (especially not right now). Nor do I get excited about a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, or any other sort of “spa” treatment. I don’t go out for fancy coffee or wine dates with friends, I don’t need a night out or a day away, and I don’t need a new outfit or gadget to feel happy or to relax.

I know, I’m not “normal” — but you know how much I prefer to just be home! 

The more I thought about this, however, the more I realized there are a few really simple self-care rituals I do pretty much every single day that make a HUGE difference for me.

I feel happier, more relaxed, less stressed, and more “with it” when I do these 3 simple things. Best of all, they all take minimal time (roughly 15 minutes or less), can be enjoyed from the comfort of my own home, and are essentially free!

1. Taking a hot shower.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to bed without taking a shower… I’m not even sure I could sleep if I didn’t take a shower first.

No matter how busy my days are, no matter how tired I feel, no matter how many other things I have to or want to do, I always make time for a nice hot shower at some point between dinner and the time I go to bed.

I honestly never understood the cliche jokes about new moms not showering for days on end — certainly the baby is sleeping at some point, or someone else could hold the baby for 10 minutes so you can shower. I always made time for a shower every evening — even though I could hear Nora screaming in the other room with Dave. I don’t think that’s being selfish or asking too much!

It’s just something I always do that makes me feel 100 times better than I did before I took the shower. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s “free” (I guess we technically pay for the water and the gas to heat the water — but you know what I mean!)

2. Getting dressed and ready for the day.

Aside from a couple times in my life when I’ve been very sick (or on Christmas vacation in college) I truly don’t remember ever staying in my PJ’s all day. Yes, some days I choose to wear very comfortable clothing, but I always change out of my pajamas and into something different — usually something that is at least somewhat coordinated and looks like an “outfit” rather than just another pair of pajamas.

Also, I ALWAYS do my hair each day — one of the downfalls (or perks) of having short hair is that I can’t just resort to a hat or a ponytail. Fortunately, it only takes me 2-3 minutes to do my hair each day; and I can’t tell you how much more “put together” and “with it” I feel once I’m dressed and my hair is done.

I’m not as regular with my makeup routine, but I do always try to put on mascara every morning — just to brighten my eyes up a bit.

The whole process of getting dressed, doing my hair, putting mascara on, and brushing my teeth is EASILY accomplished in less than 15 minutes — making it another super simple, super quick self-care ritual for me.

Oh, I should mention how I accomplish even 15 minutes to myself with a bunch of little people running around….

If I don’t get up and ready BEFORE the kids, then I wait until after breakfast and after they are all ready, turn on a TV show (usually 15-20 minutes) and use that time to get completely ready for the day.

3. Sitting still for a few moments.

Although I’d love to say I ALWAYS get up before my kids, that just isn’t the case. There are plenty of days when Simon or James wake me up MUCH earlier than normal and I just know there isn’t any use trying to force them back to sleep as they’ll probably end up waking Nora as they argue with me.

So although I don’t always get a few moments of quiet in the morning, I have been really good about just sitting quietly for a bit after the kids are in bed.

This summer, Dave and I would usually just sit on the couch for 15-20 minutes and chat about the day, talk about the upcoming days/weeks, or just quietly read for a few minutes before getting on with our to-do list for the night.

Now, even if Dave is gone for a meeting or something at school, I’ve found that I really look forward to just sitting for 15-20 minutes after the kids are in bed. Sometimes I read, sometimes I sip on a glass of ice water, sometimes I just zone-out or even shut my eyes for a little catnap.

It’s glorious, and it’s just the break I need in my day to “recharge” me for the night ahead (especially this past summer when we were working on so many house projects in the evenings!)

Once my new little lady finally arrives, I will look forward to resting with her on the couch for a LONG time after the older kids are in bed. I’ve already started watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix and plan to make it through as many episodes as I can while on my little “maternity leave”!

I know none of these are super crazy or cool, but sometimes it’s the really basic mundane things that can make a big difference for me (and maybe for you too).

So I’d love to know… what are your favorite self-care rituals?

And yes, it’s OK if they are TOTALLY different from mine!

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24 comments

  1. Cindy

    09/26/2017

    I am NOT a morning person, so a shower to wake myself up and ease that brutal transition between sleeping and adulting is essential for me.

    However, now that my kids are older, I love me a bubble bath to recharge and center myself. A splurge is any kind of lavender or citrus bubble bath, but dish soap or plain ‘ol water work fine, too. I love being immersed in the warmth and a slice of solitude does me wonders.

    As with the chorus of long-time readers, I eagerly await Dekker #4 and hope you all have a healthy and uneventful birth!

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  2. Rhonda

    09/26/2017

    I do #1 and #2, and am not always good about squeezing in #3. My husband has always thought it weird to shower at night – but I always sleep better with an evening shower. Sometimes I just wash my hair in the morning, but since I found out about dry shampoo a few months ago, I don’t even need to do that! Wishing you a happy delivery, Andrea.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, i can’t sleep without a shower first!

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  3. Angela

    09/26/2017

    I started the showering at bedtime routine just this school year, to free up a little time in our busy mornings while getting the kids off to school. I’m trying your face washing method as well. I wasn’t sure at first, but I’m really liking it! It’s very cozy to hop into bed after a hot shower. I also have short hair so I’ve just been wetting it completely under the faucet in the mornings and then styling it. Much faster morning routine. I occasionally envy the people who can throw their hair in a ponytail while I have to style mine every day, but it’s super quick and it does make me feel put together. I struggle with the quiet time idea – my personality definitely needs it, but I have a hard time staying awake! I have been making a point to read for a few minutes in bed before I fall asleep though, and that’s been nice. My husband is a night owl and I used to try to stay up with him, but our “decompressing” activities just aren’t compatible. He likes to veg in front of the tv, and unless it’s a show that I really enjoy, that doesn’t do anything for me. It’s usually better for me to just do my own bedtime routine that makes me feel great. Now that my kids are older, the quiet time is hard – they get up early (the oldest has to be up by 5:45am due to early morning extra-curriculars) and stay up late (oldest is up til 9:30) so there’s not a lot of kid-free time around here! 🙂

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  4. Carolyn Maves

    09/26/2017

    One of the difficult things about having surgery is not being able to shower for a certain number of days. When you are used to showering often, it doesn’t take long to feel nasty, even though you aren’t really nasty, ha, ha, you just long for that shower. When you finally get your shower, you realize that it is truly is one of the simple pleasures of life.

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    Andrea Reply:

    YES!!!!!!!

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  5. Debbie

    09/25/2017

    For me, it’s definitely a massage. It may happen once a year or 4 times a year but it’s such a treat and I always look forward to it (mentally and physically). Other more cost-effective self care are date nights once a week, reading a book, exercise, taking a nap.

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  6. JJ

    09/25/2017

    Once I discovered that Walmart and Target sold Starbucks Iced Coffee in their refrigerated section(unsweetened with no milk…pretty important for me since I can’t have dairy right now, and I am a horrible coffee maker)in a 48 ounce container that lasts me about week(I like mine with almond milk, and the amount of that I use makes it more like a latte. Ha!), it really did make a difference for me! It costs $4 and change, but it really is priceless! I also really recharge by reading. And honestly, your blog is a highlight for me when my kids have their afternoon nap/room time!

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  7. Pamela

    09/25/2017

    You are not alone in the shower thing – I’m with you!! When my baby was small I showered every day no matter what, and I got dressed in something that wasn’t pajamas. During maternity leave my “clothes” were sometimes yoga pants or a maxi skirt and a long floppy cardigan, but I still felt “dressed”. Oh, and I would fix my hair and put in stud earrings. Now, I had a very easy baby so that helped, but it was still important to me that I look and feel presentable – even if I got spat up on 10 minutes later!!

    Now my most important self care time is the hour before everyone gets up – I do some yoga, drink coffee, and read. Sometimes I brain dump if I need it. It’s become one of my favorite hours of the day even though I’m not really a morning person!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I can’t wait for the day when all our kids can tell time and know they can’t get out of bed before 7:00 (or whatever time we choose). Then I can consistently wake up at least an hour before them to “start my day” on my own!
    For now, showering, getting dressed, and taking a little break after they’re in bed will have to suffice!

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  8. Kate

    09/25/2017

    I love all 3 of these things! I have always been a night shower person too. Fortunately, my husband is as well. 🙂 I don’t understand how anyone could go to bed without bathing first!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know — Dave and I say that all the time. We just can’t fathom not showering before bed. I would feel like I needed to wash my sheets every day if I didn’t shower 🙂

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  9. DeeDee

    09/25/2017

    I totally agree with you. My son is 11 now and he knows I need my coffee after my shower and makeup in the morning. It’s just my “thang”!

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  10. Chris

    09/25/2017

    I love taking a hot bath in the Jacuzzi. I used to have painful endometriosis (before surgery) and this was a lifesaver for me. Now, I just do it because I enjoy it so much!

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  11. Ashley Tubbs

    09/25/2017

    Love this! Mine really aren’t all that different from yours either! It’s the little things that get us mama’s through the day 😉

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  12. Tina

    09/25/2017

    I loved reading about your self-care rituals! I’m a homebody too, so my daily rituals are:
    1) getting up 30min earlier than everybody else (for showering and the first cup of tea in peace and quiet)
    2) naptime after lunch is holy. Even the older two have to go to their room, so that I have a quiet hour to myself
    3) my five o’clock tea in the afternoon to sit down for 30min (it’s more 3:30 and the kids are having their snack before homework too, but still)
    As long as I have these three, I’m a happy camper. And it’s enough for me to get the four kids through the days without hubby, who only comes home most of the time, when I have put them to bed at 8pm.
    I wish you and your girl all the best for your birth and that all goes well! I can remember many evenings, when I was binge watching Hawaii 5-0 with my youngest, because she was theething from the beginning of 2mts and forever crying in the evenings. I think, Gilmore Girls would have been very fun to watch!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I always pick a show with each new baby.
    With Nora, it was Cake Boss, with Simon it was The Office, with James it was Call the Midwife, and now Gilmore Girls. It gives me something to look forward to in the evenings when they are usually fussy. I just bounce on the exercise ball in front of the TV (to sooth them – not to exercise!) and then lay on the couch once they fall asleep!

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  13. Meghan

    09/25/2017

    Love this post – it’s really the little things that can make a big difference. My self-care rituals are going to the bathroom when I need to (not waiting until. . .), running, and blowing out my hair. I really don’t enjoy showering. If I don’t run or get really dirty working outside or something, I have no issue skipping a shower.

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  14. Deb

    09/25/2017

    What?! No baby? 😉

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    Bonnie'sMama Reply:

    Yes, exactly! And if it’s hard for me to wait–just another long-time reader with no real ties to Andrea–what’s it like for Andrea?!

    My thought on Friday morning was, “I don’t want to see pizza shells! I want to see baby pictures!”

    Oh your demanding populace, Andrea. Blessings of patience and joy and rest and making some good memories with the three big kids as you wait for your baby girlie to get here. AND a smooth, quick, beautiful delivery!

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    Tracy r Reply:

    I had a dream of three baby names for her little girl! Now that’s crazy! Im just a reader too! But wouldn’t it be cool if I was right?! Best wishes for your family!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — you’ll find out soon enough. She can’t stay inside forever!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I know. I’ve had so many posts written in advance “just in case” the baby doesn’t come but I keep thinking “I won’t need to use them now” — but then I just keep scheduling them. She has to come eventually though… and I will be SO excited to share when she does!

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    Andrea Reply:

    not yet 🙂

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