How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start

As mums it's easy to ignore self-care, we're so busy taking care of everyone else that we just tend to get on with things regardless of how we're feeling. Self-care is at the end of the list, after everyone else is taken care of, and that's only if there's time left over. And sometimes not even then. The thing with self-care is that it's hard to define too, I mean, how do you know you're practicing self-care properly? What should you be doing? What if you do it wrong? And sometimes you don't even know where to start - that's why I'm here today. To help you learn how to practice self-care when you don't know where to start.

The practice of self-care

Self-care is not about being selfish (not that there's anything wrong with that - sometimes), it's about taking care of yourself so that you're healthy, and happy, enough to take care of others. Mums tend to put everyone else first, you neglect your own needs. Being selfish, or even taking 2 minutes to think about yourself, isn't on your radar and as a result you often end up feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, frazzled, down-in-the-dumps, and alone. But if you took those few minutes to think about yourself, to make yourself happy, things might actually improve in your day-to-day life.

How To Practicse Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | Self-care makes life better!
You'll smile more when you practice self-care.

Start practicing self-care today

When (or rather if!) you get a moment of peace today use that time to think about YOU. Think about the things you enjoy, what makes you smile (and I'm not talking about watching the kids play either), what makes the tension drift away. Take time to remember who you were before you had children. What hobbies did you have? Could you get back to them? And if not, is there something you've always wanted to try out but have been putting off?

Your breathing is your greatest friend. Return to it in all your troubles, and you will find comfort and guidance.


By taking a little time to think about the things you'd like to do, before even starting them, gives you time to get used to the idea. Even the suggestion of having something just for you will probably be enough to make you smile at the start. 

And BAM! You've started practicing self-care!

Taking your new self-care practice a little further

Okay so thinking about a new hobby is great, but you do actually need to spend time doing something. It's not just about new hobbies, or sitting with a hot coffee in your hands. Practicing self-care is more about a shift in your thought process. It's about prioritising yourself, at least some of the time, so you are more happy and relaxed.

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | Self-care will make you more relaxed about everything!
You'll be more relaxed about the whole parenting thing, if you get time for you!

It really is okay to look after yourself first. If you want to enjoy a hot coffee before sorting out the kids' breakfast, then do that. If you want to watch the morning news before the kids go to school then do it. Put things in place so you can do the things you want. Leave the kids in bed an extra 30 minutes so you can enjoy the coffee and watch the news. Or, let the kids play with their toys while you drink the coffee. It's about coming up with compromises that help you get the time you need, and really only you can come up with those. You need something that will work with your family routine.

Let me give you an example:

I get up at around 6:15 every morning. I get everyone else up at that time too because they all have to be out of the house by 8am. After waking my eldest and nagging him to go in the shower, I wake my youngest and tell him to shower after his brother is finished. The Hubby gets himself sorted while I go downstairs and get breakfast ready.

Once breakfast is done Hubby and I sit in the lounge, I drink a hot coffee and watch the morning news while we wait for the boys to come downstairs. We spend a little time together in the morning, listening to the news and sometimes discussing the topics, then I head back into the kitchen - this is usually at around 7am.

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | Coffee is a good starting place.
I can't start the day without my coffee!

I spend the next 25 minutes preparing lunches for the day. Three lots of packed lunches, snacks, and drinks for my boys to take out the door with them. The Hubby leaves for work at 7:15, and after I've seen him off I get to tidying the kitchen. By the time my boys leave at 8 I am usually half way through the cleaning. I see the both off, making sure they have everything they need for a day at school. The house is quiet but I continue with my cleaning. Another 30 minutes and I'm done with my daily routine. Now my time is my own until the boys return at 4pm. 

Most of the time I spend my days writing - but sometimes I'll go to the hairdressers. I might even head out and go shopping (clothes not groceries!). The point is, once my daily chores are done I can do what I choose. I've been through lots of hobbies including cross-stitch, sketching, writing (which I still do daily), and colouring. Of course I do check on the laundry through the day, get myself lunch, etc. But the majority of the day is for me. Yes, I'm lucky because I have two older boys who take themselves to school and I spend most of my time at home. But this is what works for us.

Once my boys return at 4 I'm back to being mum and sorting out stuff for them. I spend a little time chatting to them about school, discussing anything that's happened during the day, and then I get on with cooking dinner while they do their chores. By the time the Hubby arrives at home - usually around 6ish - dinner is ready and we all sit at the dining table to eat. We talk about what everyone has been up to during the day, and come up with plans for the weekend. 

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | We use our dinner time to plan the weekend.
Making weekend plans like visiting Hope Valley is what we do while eating dinner together.

When dinner is finished the dishes get taken out and put in the kitchen (I leave dishes for my morning routine) and it's downtime for everyone. We usually decide to play video games, the Hubby plays with LP on Fortnite, BP will go on the Xbox to play his current favourite game, and I'll grab my Switch Lite to play a little Zelda. Depending on the day, and the plans, we'll spend an hour or so playing games. 

Come the evening, when the games get turned off and it's chill time for everyone, Hubby and I will watch our favourite TV shows, or a movie, and the boys do the same until bedtime.

Now obviously our routine changes depending on any plans we have but that's the general idea. I have lots of time - if I chose to use it that way - for self-care. I practice self-care daily by drinking my coffee and watching the news in a morning. I spend my days doing something I love - writing. And I even get time to play games in the evening. 

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Maya Angelou

But that's not to say that if you have younger kids at home that you have to give up on the idea of self-care. It may be harder to find the time but you need to squeeze it in whenever you can - even if that means relying on help from others. You could ask your partner to take care of the kids while you have a bath or shower, you could take them to a play centre and drink a coffee while they play, or you could find something you can enjoy with your kids - like crafting or baking.

Practicing self-care is not just about indulgence

I spend a lot of time talking about drinking coffee and watching TV but that's not really what self-care is all about. I use those as an example because they're the quickest form of self-care you can get. Really though, self-care is about looking after yourself - your health included.

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | Take the kids out for a walk along the canal...
Teach your kids about swans while you take a nice canal walk!

A great way to practice self-care, with health in mind, is to get outdoors. And you can even involve the kids in this one! Go for a walk, get your heart rate up, enjoy the fresh air, and maybe even educate your kids while you walk around. I used to take the boys walking along the canal and we'd talk about all the animals we saw. By getting out and about you get rid of the kids' boredom being stuck in the house, you get to chat to them, as well as enjoying being outside. Admittedly it might not be the relaxing time you're hoping for, but you are still taking care of yourself. 

Ways to practice self-care

There are so many different things you can to do to take care of yourself, and if you're stuck for time I wrote a blog post a while ago on how to get 10 minutes for self-care. It features the benefits of self-care as well as a few ideas to get you started.

If you're more into sciency stuff I read a great article on Greatist featuring 25 science-backed ways to change your life by taking better care of yourself. They feature a great list of things to get you started on your self-care journey.

And if you prefer the more mindful side of things then check out 45 simple self-care practices for a healthy mind, body, and soul over on tiny buddha. With 45 things on the list you're bound to find something that will have you smiling - and it's a quick read too! 

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | First steps, what to do, and how to get started making yourself happy!

When you don't know where to start, practicing self-care can seem overwhelming, and honestly feels like a waste of time sometimes. But if you stick with it you'll start to notice a difference in your life. You'll be happier, smile more often, be more relaxed about the little things. It's not going to be an overnight fix, but with effort practicing self-care can really change your life.

Will you start practicing self-care today?

How To Practice Self-Care When You Don't Know Where To Start | Become an Organised Mama and you'll have more time for you!