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You always hear other people preaching the importance of taking care of yourself.
Your doctors tell you.
Your friends tell you.
Your family tells you.
Your boss and co-workers may even tell you.
Still, no matter how often we hear it, we don’t always actually follow this advice.
For many of us women, life is a 24/7 balancing act.
Whether a wife, mother or single woman… women are held to a set of expectations and standards that can make it seem nearly impossible to take time for ourselves.
Time to physically and mentally recharge before we burn out.
In this article, I am going to offer 31 self care ideas covering the different types of self care for women to help you navigate through life’s many demands without losing sight of what’s important.
You are important!
And if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be any good to anyone else.
1. Go Into Hiding
Ok, so I’m not talking about entering witness protection or anything… but there is nothing wrong with locking yourself in a room for a while. Or if you can, simply announce to whomever needs to know that you are going out for a bit… without letting anybody know exactly where.
In an age that runs on smart phones and fitness trackers, there is something simplistically liberating about having nobody know where you are (even if it’s just for an hour).
2. Hire A Mother’s Helper Or Babysitter
Just because you are a mother, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some time to get things done sans kids. Whether it’s grocery shopping, cleaning the house or working from home… you do not have to do it all with an audience. Hire yourself some help and tell the kids you are “off duty” for a little while. You’ll likely be a happier and more relaxed version of yourself afterwards, which will benefit everybody.
3. Go On A Date With Your Husband
When it comes to self care ideas for women, date night with the husband is one of my favorites… and extremely important. It is crucial to our self esteem to know that our partner still finds us attractive, especially if you’ve had children.
Like it or not, parenthood has a tendency to drive couples into a rut… that point where they feel so comfortable with each other that they stop trying to impress. Date nights are your chance to dress up and reminisce over why you fell in love, while also focusing on what keeps the relationship going.
4. Plan A Getaway With The Girls
No matter how happy you are in your relationship, breaking away for a weekend (or even a day) with your close friends can do wonders for the soul. It’s a chance to reconnect with your inner self and remember who you are… besides a wife, mom, sister, daughter. So leave the guilt at home and plan a relaxing and fun adventure to light a fire in your soul.
5. Cheat On Your Diet For A Day
Yes, being healthy is important. Eating right, exercise… everything in moderation. But it is also important to treat yourself every now and again. So much of our lives are spent adhering to some sort of restrictions or rules that we need to follow in order to succeed and remain on the right side of the law.
The ones we can break are the ones we impose upon ourselves. Put the diet on the backburner once in a while… your mind and stomach will be glad you did.
6. Take A Lazy Day
Things must get done to keep the household running smoothly. It comes with the territory of being a roommate, wife, mother. The big difference, however, is that while they should get done… the world will not fall apart if they don’t for just one day.
You are not a slave and you don’t get paid to keep things in order. Ask your partner or kids to chip in. Worst case scenario, the laundry doesn’t get done.
7. Skip The Workout For A Day
It is important, and often therapeutic, to get regular exercise. It’s proverbial food for the soul. But it is equally important to give your body a rest once a week. This will help to avoid injury and well as muscle fatigue, both of which can result in long-term setbacks to your daily routine. Rest your body, rest your mind. You’ll be fine.
8. Take Up A New Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind sharp. They can also prove to be a welcomed distraction from the everyday stressors and commitments. Set aside time to learn about or do something you’ve always wanted to try… and, who knows? You may stumble onto a new career path or make some new friends.
9. Practice Yoga
The healing effects of yoga are undeniable. People have given credit to this practice for pain relief, relaxation, mental clarity, improved health and flexibility. If you’re a newbie, or shy to attend a studio, there are tons of online programs and videos to get you started from the comforts of home.
10. Try Meditating
Similar to yoga, meditation and proper breathing techniques, can be a great way to quiet the mind. If all you seek are a few minutes each day to focus on the positives in your life… meditation is a great way to get you there. It can also be done almost anywhere – the bathtub, your bedroom, outside… making it one of the more convenient self care ideas for women.
11. Book A Spa Day
Spa days are often one of the first things we think about when discussing self care ideas for women. It is cliché, but true… women love to feel pampered. We spend so much of our time taking care of others, it is no wonder we crave someone to do that for us every now and again.
And that someone shouldn’t always be your partner. And the place shouldn’t always be in your home. Step away from the chaos of your every day and book yourself a treatment of two.
12. Have Coffee With A Friend
One of the simplest self care ideas for women to execute is coffee with a friend. It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s free therapy. Catching up with a friend is a great way to get things off your chest if you need to… or just simply laugh for a while. Both are great for the soul.
13. Sleep In The Guest Room For A Night
As much as an uninterrupted night’s sleep sounds… we are not all in position to book ourselves a fancy hotel room for the night. But what we can do is go sleep in the guest room.
Make yourself a Do Not Disturb sign and snack on your favorite treats in bed, while sipping wine and watching a mindless “chick flick”. It’s a great way to recharge the batteries and get away from it all… without actually going anywhere.
14. Binge Watch A Show That Makes You Laugh
You don’t always have to watch that viking or crime show with your partner. Most people have at least two televisions in their house, which means you can tuck yourself away in another room and watch what you want. Laughter is the best medicine for letting go of the heavy stuff.
15. Try Online Therapy
We’ve all had moments when we needed a shoulder to cry on… or someone to simply listen to what’s on our mind. It’s natural. It’s human. But that someone doesn’t always have to be a family member or close friend.
In fact, leaning on them too much in these situations can strain the relationship. Online therapy is a great way to express your feelings without burdening those in your inner circle.
16. Phone An Old Friend
With much of our communication being done via text and email these days, it can be a real treat for someone to receive a call from an old friend. As in, an actual phone call. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of the call, it is sure to brighten your day and widen your smile to hear that reassuring voice from your past.
17. Play Hooky From Work
Barring any unforeseen circumstances or crises, the average employee does not use all of their sick or personal days each year. So why not take one for yourself? Call it a mental health day and turn off all distractions. That means no checking work emails or phone messages. You are off the clock… and you deserve it!
18. Take A Nap
Who said naps are reserved for small children or the elderly? Napping is a wonderful way to recharge your batteries, boost your immune system and promote mental clarity. It can also help you sleep better at night because you won’t be overtired when you’re trying to fall asleep… which has a tendency to interrupt your REM cycle.
19. Say “No” To Something
Many women find the need to try and live up to the term, “superwoman” or “super mom”. It’s just not in our nature to take a pass on something… or back down from a challenge. I’m guilty of this.
Volunteering at your child’s school, taking extra work home, hosting a dinner party on Friday night after a long week… these are all great, but can also add a lot to your plate, causing undue stress. It’s ok to say “no” every now and again. Nobody will think any less of you for acknowledging your expectations. In fact, they are more likely to admire you for it.
If you are looking to lift your spirits, helping others is the way to go. Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding self care ideas for women… not to mention a great way to appreciate all that is good in your life. Start by finding something you are passionate about, or may enjoy, and get to work! Websites like volunteermatch.org are a good place to start.
21. Sign Up For A Race
Setting goals and actually achieving them is a great way to feel accomplished… successful. Think about an exercise you enjoy. It can be walking, jogging, biking, swimming. Whatever it is, chances are there is a race for that! Some are for charity, others just for prizes.
Whatever motivates you will do. Then simply go online and sign up. The training gives you purpose and finishing the race will give you a boost of self esteem, sure to do your body and mind good!
22. Set A Self Care Goal
Much like the physical or professional goals we set for ourselves, it’s important to set self care goals. These can include some physical milestones, but should absolutely incorporate steps to strengthen your mental well being.
Sit down and come up with a list of goals and put them on your calendar. This makes them tangible and adds credibility to your efforts. And don’t forget to reward yourself as you complete each one!
23. Learn A Language
The benefits of learning a language are vast. Among the most noted are: improved memory function, enhanced creative thinking capacity and problem solving skills, increased job opportunities and higher test scores.
It is also rather impressive to meet someone who speaks multiple languages! And today it’s easier than ever to do so with online programs and apps available on your phone or tablet. Many are even free!
24. Download A Word Game On Your Phone or Tablet
There are a plethora of apps available for download to your smartphone or tablet. Some are completely silly and mindless… which has its benefits if you are looking for a welcomed distraction from your day. And then there are word game apps.
You’ll find searches and crosswords… scrambles and scrabble. Even “hangman”. Word games are not only a great way to sharpen your memory and broaden your vocabulary, but they are also a calming way to wind down at the end of the day.
25. Play Or Color With Your Kids
Do you remember how much fun it was to be a kid? Having not a care in the world and no real concept of responsibility? If you don’t… take a look at your own kids and the simplest things that make them happy. Things like crafts, blocks, dolls, coloring, board games and playing outside.
If you’re feeling stressed out and are sick of “adulting”… one of the most fun and effective self care ideas for women can be to just stop and play with your kids for a while. And coloring, believe it or not, is a great and relaxing way to let it all go. There are no rules and no right or wrong way to do it. Color outside the lines if you dare!
26. Turn Your Cell Phone Off For The Night After Dinner
Most of us spend the majority of our day on our phones or a computer. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, life is a social avalanche of text messages and emails. Alerts and reminders. It can be exhausting… not to mention a distraction that causes you to miss out on some of life’s best moments.
Do yourself a favor and turn off your cell phone for the night after dinner… even if it’s just one or two days each week to start. This will not only force you to focus on the precious present… but it will help quiet your mind and put you in a good place for a peaceful night’s sleep.
27. Take A Break From Social Media
Having a social media account is like having a credit card. Most people have one, but they can also lead to trouble if you’re not careful. While social media is a great way to connect and inspire people, it can also be a breeding ground for negativity and conflict.
Aren’t our own lives sometimes filled with enough drama and problems… without having to hear about other people’s? Do yourself a favor and take a break from social media every now and again. It will do your mind good.
28. Try Meal Planning
While there are many things we can’t control, time management shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, having a weekly schedule and planning ahead can be a real lifesaver when it comes to staying on top of things and not stressing out too much. One of the simplest self care ideas for women is to try your hand at meal planning.
It typically requires only a few hours, one day each week, and promises to save you time and aggravation when you’re trying to figure out dinner every night. As a bonus, it’s also great if you’re watching your weight and trying to eat healthy, as it cuts back on those last minute take out orders.
29. Start Journaling
Maybe you kept a diary when you were a kid? A book filled with your deepest secrets and feelings… safely locked up and tucked away for your eyes only. Well, think of journaling as a grown up diary. Journaling is a great way to let all of your emotions out, good or bad.
It’s cathartic to get things off your chest… and should you choose, leave them there. Journaling is also great when you need to revisit a happy day and remind yourself of all there is to be grateful for in your life.
30. Write A Letter To Someone You Are Upset With… Then Tear It Up
We all feel angry at, disappointed with or hurt by someone now and again. Maybe today it’s your boss? Or your spouse? Your child? A friend? The rude store clerk you encountered while food shopping? One of the best things you can do is let it out… but it’s not always appropriate to do it face to face.
That can result in emotions ruling the conversation, which runs the risk of hurtful things being said. Things you might not be able to take back. So one of the classic self care ideas for women is to write those feelings down. Address the person in a letter and say what you need to. Don’t hold back! And when you’re done… read it over once and then tear it up! Throw it out and forget about it. Not only will you feel better, but nobody else’s feelings have to be hurt.
31. Write A Letter To Yourself, Filled Only With Compliments
We talked about how therapeutic it can be to write your feelings down when it comes to dealing with conflict or suppressed emotions. So why not take a page from that book and sit down to write a letter to yourself. This letter should be filled with compliments, written by you… to you.
Point out everything that you’ve done right. Tell yourself what you like about your personality and appearance. Remind yourself what you’re grateful for… and of all the people in your life that love and care for you. A hearty dose of positivity can be a real shot in the arm for your state of mind.
Final Thoughts on Self Care Ideas for Women to Avoid Burnout
Over the years, a woman’s role in society has been ever changing… evolving. At one time, women were expected to be servants. To bear children. To marry and take care of the home. They eventually were allowed to attend college. And as women entered the workforce, jobs were limited. Growth was limited. But, eventually women started being given the same jobs as men, working outside of the home as executives… while still raising children.
We are a species of fighters, which is inspiring… but it also means we have a tendency to put ourselves last when it comes to self care. Many women have been conditioned to believe that If we let ourselves take a break, or engage in something “selfless” even for a moment, we run the risk of falling short in some aspect of our lives. Of letting people down.
This is simply not true.
On the contrary, if you put aside the time to execute any of the self care ideas for women outlined here, I promise that you will feel stronger. You will feel healthier. More motivated. Focused. Happier. A high-value woman.
The end result?
You’ll be in a better place to be the very best version of yourself… the version that can accomplish anything she sets her mind to!
If you're looking for more activities, check out our post on self-care day ideas and how to plan one.
Finall, if you're looking for things to do together with the gals, check out our favorite women's group activity ideas.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications, and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization, and product reviews.