Easy and (Mostly) Free Ways to Indulge in Self-Care Without Leaving Home

As parents, we hear all the time how important self-care is to the well being of ourselves and our families.  Yet for many parents finding the time – and money – to indulge in self-care seems like a luxury beyond reach.  Not everyone can take a weekend away or even splurge at a day at the spa. The answer? Finding ways to indulge in self-care without leaving home. 

We asked a few parents for the free or frugal ways they indulge in self-care.  You may be surprised to find there are many ways self-care can be defined, and that many approaches don't require spending a penny or leaving the house.  It's a long list so everyone should be able to find something that appeals to them!

Image via Pexels Thought Catalog

Exercise: 

Take a walk in the park or down to your local Starbucks. Just getting your body moving and taking small (or big) steps to stay in shape is a great way to indulge in self-care. Running is a low-cost way of getting exercise that you may be able to fit in a busy schedule.  

Reading: 

Go to the library, get a Kindle, or read on your phone with a free Kindle app. Read free books or subscribe to Unlimited on Prime for $9.99 a month for access to unlimited books, magazines, and more. If you don't need the latest bestseller, plenty of books can be downloaded from your local library for free. Not a big fan of reading? Try audiobooks instead.  

Gardening: 

If you have a yard you can plant a small garden. Many parents find tending to even a small patch of land relaxing.

Running errands alone: 

It may feel too indulgent to go out for a drink, but if you have someone else to watch your kids for a bit but many parents find running errands like going to the grocery store or Target alone can be rejuvenating.   

Taking a bath: 

Several parents like locking themselves in the bathroom and taking a hot bath to relax. To make the experience more indulgent, some moms added a face mask or glass of wine to their routine.

Going out occasionally: 

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You may not be able to swing the cost of a date night that requires a sitter and you may not be able to swing going out once a week. Some parents do find a way to make going out with friends once a month work and look forward to the time they do get out of the house, even if it's just sitting on a friend's couch rather than going out to dinner. 

Binge-watching TV or movies: 

A popular activity for all parents after bedtime is unwinding with a good series. Some parents find looking forward to a good show to binge-watch after bedtime gets them through the day. It can help to create a ritual around binge-watching that doesn't change even when the shows do.  Make a habit of drinking a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea in a favorite mug every night. Get cozy under a blanket like this super-soft knitted Lorena Canals one that is washable in case the kids do get their hands on it.  

{ MORE: Hey Mama, You Need to Take Care of You Like You Take Care of Your Kids }

Stealing time: 

Some parents indulge in short bursts of self-care where they can find them, like sitting in the car and scrolling on their phone for a few extra minutes after coming home from the grocery store. Taking a breather here and there throughout the day can be a great way to indulge in self-care.

Journaling: 

Taking the time to write down your thoughts and reflections can be a great way to indulge in self-care.

Podcasts: 

Find a podcast you like and listen to it whenever you can, whether it's in the car, on walks with a stroller, in the shower, or after the kids are asleep.

Mani/Pedis: 

Going to a salon for a manicure or pedicure is great if you can swing it, but many moms find that picking a pretty color and doing their nails at home is another great way to indulge in self-care that doesn't cost a fortune and doesn't require leaving the house.

Sleep: 

If you are like most parents, not getting enough sleep is a real problem. For some parents, going to bed at the same time as your kids or napping when the baby naps is a great way of indulging in self-care. Investing in a good pillow, like this one from Bedgear that contours around your neck (a must for parents who are sore from lifting babies and toddlers all day) and can be custom-ordered based on whether you are a back or side sleeper, like to sleep warm or cool, etc.    

Create a haven: 

Many moms were emphatic that their bedroom be an oasis of calm and comfort, even if the rest of the house is always a mess.  Small things like adding a pretty plant, like the kind you can order from Bouqs, can make your room seem at least semi-spa like. Adding a small Google Home Mini to your bedroom you can summon relaxing music, your favorite tunes, or the latest podcast without lifting a finger for under $50.00 — or get top-quality sound that fills the room with a Google Home Max

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Other moms (and dads) swear by the comforting effects that come with using a weighted blanket. Once used primarily for children, grown-ups have started using weighted blankets for their ability to lower stress, increase calm, and lessen anxiety. Feel better instantly, every night, with a weighted blanket made in grown-up styles like those from YNM Home.  

Drinking coffee: 

Many parents search for a way to get a hot cup of coffee or tea. Some parents wake up early to get their coffee in before the chaos of the day strikes while other parents make a hot cup of tea part of their bedtime ritual. Going to a coffee shop alone is something else many parents enjoy if they are able to leave the house.

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Using fun apps: 

Some parents have apps that are just plain fun to use. One mom said she loves playing Pokemon Go while running errands and another said that even a just a few minutes playing with Snapchat filters puts her in a good mood. Find an app you like and use it when you need a pick-me-up.

Cooking for fun: 

Many parents turn to food they like making for self-care, whether it's a cake they love or a dish they like even if it's unlikely the kids will eat it. Or, engage in a daily ritual that promotes healthy eating like making a smoothie or juicing with a slow juicer like this one from Hurom that can also make other treats like homemade ice cream.  

Yoga: 

Unlike many exercises, yoga doesn't require any equipment. Find a podcast or app to guide you through the poses and you don't even have to leave the house to learn how to be a yogi. Yoga with Adriene‘s free classes come highly recommended!

Coloring: 

Even if you are not a budding Picasso, many parents find that using an adult coloring book after the kids go to bed is a great way to unwind.  

Take a mental health day: 

Many parents find that they love taking mental health days whenever they can. If possible, take a day off of work (or ask Grandma to babysit), with no real plan for the day other than relaxing and catching up on sleep

Crafting: 

Many parents find that crafting is a great way to engage in self-care at home. Crocheting, drawing, and painting were all mentioned as low-cost, relaxing crafts that can be easy to learn. Other parents make an investment up front in a crafting machine to create things for themselves, their kids, friends, or even to sell. One popular machine mentioned is the Cricut cutting machine, used to make things t-shirts, signs, stickers, decorations, and costumes.  Many parents said they sew or embroider as a form of self-care and make an investment in a sewing machine like these from Eversewn to make unique clothing, gifts, costumes as more.  

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Write down the good things: 

Even when things are going poorly, chances are you still have a lot to be thankful for. Write a gratitude list to focus on everything that is going right in life. Add to it regularly.

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Something nice to wear: 

Some parents said wearing something special they already own is an instant way to lift their mood. Some moms wear their “nice” dress out even where there is no special occasion while other moms have special nightgowns or underwear they wear to feel special. 

Make-up: 

A lot of moms said they put on make-up as a form of self-care. Some said they don't put makeup on until after the kids go to bed but find that just putting some on at any point in the day is a good form of self-care.

Spa treatments: 

In-home spa-treatments are a popular form of self-care. Many moms noted how easy it is to make homemade scrubs for your face or feet. Using heated or massage pillows at home are also easy forms of self-care.  

A daily ritual: 

Waking up early isn't for everyone, but many parents find that waking up an hour before the kids get up leaves them feeling relaxed and refreshed for the chaos of the day to come. Other parents engage in a daily evening ritual, like drinking a glass of wine after the kids go to sleep or always checking in with their best friend during nap time.  

Caring for plants: 

Going for long walks to enjoy natural beauty is often cited as a great way to bring calm and peace into a chaotic life. But busy parents can bring nature inside to reap some of the benefits of greenery. Many moms also said they find caring for house plants to be calming, and research backs up that touching and smelling plants reduces stress. Both NASA and the American Lung Association credit plants for filtering common indoor toxins like formaldehyde, asbestos and carbon monoxide, particularly peace lilies, spider plants, and English ivy and a University of Exeter study also found that employees with plants in their workplaces were 40% more productive and creative.

Take a vacation day: 

If you have any vacation days to spare, use one to dream vacation. Bust out a beach read, indulge in some special snacks, lay out by the pool. Find ways to bring the vacation vibe into the everyday. 

Kick your family out: 

Some parents crave nothing more than a quiet home. For some, that means self-care is asking their partner or someone else to take the kids out of the house so that they can enjoy some peace and quiet alone.  

{ MORE: Stressed Out? Check Out These Stress-Busting Activities You Can Do As a Family }

What do you do to engage in self-care?

What do you think?

Easy and (Mostly) Free Ways to Indulge in Self-Care Without Leaving Home

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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