Working mothers have a lot on their plates. Stay on top of your game with these eight self-care routines that are simple, effective and totally doable on a budget.
Juggling motherhood and a professional career is no small feat, no matter which way you slice it.
Working moms need to deal with busy schedules, manage work demands, take care of children, maintain a marriage, keep up with family commitments, and somehow find the energy to carry on through it all.
As a mother who also happens to have a full-time job, you may have become used to sacrificing yourself for everyone else. But, putting yourself last is not the answer.
Instead, prioritising your needs and taking care of yourself will help you have the energy to tend to your very long, very exhausting to-do list.
Because we want to help you start taking better care of yourself, here are eight self-care routines that are simple, affordable, and — we hope — enjoyable.
1. Have a home spa session
Estimated budget: S$20 to S$50
Take 30 mins to treat yourself to a mini spa session at home. With some eye masks, facial mask sheets, and a footbath, you can give a lift to tired eyes, skin and feet while having a moment to yourself.
Get comfortable, then start with a relaxing eye treatment, such as with the KAO MegRhythm Steam EyeMask. These are designed to gently heat up to a soothing temperature while helping to relieve dry, red and puffy eyes.
Next, put on a facial sheet mask to moisturise and revitalise your complexion. Pat on lotion afterwards for some extra pampering.
Don’t forget your feet! Go ahead and soak them in a warm footbath with a handful of bath salts stirred in. The heat will help relieve tired muscles in the foot, ankles and calves, while the bath salts can help smoothen and soften calluses.
For best results, shut out the world with some noise-cancelling earphones.
2. Soak in a tub
Estimated budget: S$0 to S$300
Those who’ve experienced onsens know the healing power of a good soak, so it’s such a pity that apartment bathrooms in Singapore aren’t sized for bathtubs.
If you’re lucky enough to have one in your home, don’t hesitate to run yourself a good hot bath. Pop in some bath bombs or scented oils, light a candle or two, get in and just chill. As you float weightlessly in the tub, take deep breaths and let your stress melt away.
Try Hotel Indigo. Its Premier Room with Bath (S$264/night) has a gorgeous round porcelain tub that looks out into the teeming streets of Katong below.
Pan Pacific’s Panoramic Room (S$268/night) comes with a full-size bathtub in the roomy bathroom, which sits behind a glass partition that looks out into the room.
And then there’s ParkRoyal Collection Pickering’s Lifestyle Room (S$293/night), which offers a window-side bathtub in an open-plan bath area.
Estimated budget: S$0 to S$50
No, you don’t have to sign up for a costly gym membership if you don’t want to. After all, exercise should be fun. Otherwise, it’s simply self-inflicted torture.
Think of exercise as meditation for the body; it’s how the body naturally releases built-up stress. Physical activity has also been shown to improve our moods and emotions. Hence, adding regular exercise to your life is one of the most important and effective self-care methods out there.
It is also easy to start. Begin your day with a jog, join online yoga classes, or do some bodyweight exercises at lunchtime.
During the weekends, try family activities that are more physically active. Explore Singapore’s many hiking trails, play with your kids at the water park, rent some bicycles at East Coast, or challenge your family to master rock climbing.
Don’t worry about doing exercise ‘right’. The goal is simply to get moving, get some sun, and have fun.
4. Try a little BUJO
Estimated budget: S$20 to S$100
Bullet journaling or BUJO is the latest fad to sweep the nation, and it’s a brilliant combination of creative outlet, mindfulness and productivity.
The practice entails creating your own personal organiser and journal, which you are free to put in anything you want.
Sure, you can write down staples like birthdays, anniversaries, and to-do lists, but why not try including more personal stuff like mood, meal logs, ideas, snippets of conversations, reading and movie lists, etc.
This free-wheeling approach inspires BUJO practitioners to design creative and unconventional layouts in the pages of their journals, which fosters artistic self-expression.
But more than just doodling away in a notebook, bullet journalling also helps you slow down and organise your thoughts – putting pen to paper helps cultivate focus and mindfulness.
And as you work on your BUJO, you are creating a record of your progress and achievements, which you can look back on in time for an extra dose of inspiration and motivation.
5. Refresh your closet
Estimated budget: S$10 to S$100
Between having a full-time job and being a mum, there’s a good chance you’ve neglected yourself. Give yourself some love by refreshing your closet.
And don’t just focus on office wear or clothes for wearing around the house as you do the chores. Be sure to buy yourself an item or two for you-you (not mom-you or work-you).
Maybe that gorgeous sun hat that would be a perfect match for those pair of shades you’ve practically forgotten you have?
Or how about those killer pumps that you can totally rock while chasing after your three-year-old at the playground?
You get the idea.
6. Improve your sleep
Estimated budget: S$50 to S$500
One of the best things a busy working mum like you can do for yourself is improve the quality of your sleep.
There are several areas you can look into. For a start, make sure your bed is in tip-top shape.
Throw out old, worn-out sheets and flattened musty pillows. Instead, replace them with fresh pillows and crisp new sheets; there’s a reason why hotel beds feel so luxurious.
That mattress you’ve been using for more than a few years is likely not offering proper support anymore, especially if you’ve neglected to flip it every six months or so. Get a replacement to restore quality sleep.
Is your bedroom dark and quiet enough for you to sleep soundly? If not, install blackout drapes and ensure your windows properly block out light and noise. Partner snores? Get a pair of good quality earplugs.
One last tip: Make sure your aircon is working properly. Our body’s core temperature needs to remain low enough to get deep, restful sleep, and being too hot can prevent that.
7. Grow yourself some flowers
Estimated budget: S$20 to S$300
Soothing, purposeful and rewarding, gardening is ideal for carving out some much-needed personal time. You can choose to garden solo for some peace and quiet, or rope in the kids for some bonding and learning opportunities.
All you need is a herb planter by the window, some potted plants in a sunny corner or by the gate, or even a collection of hardy succulents and air plants on an empty shelf or two.
If you’d rather not deal with soil and spills, try planting an indoor hydroponics garden like Click & Grow (from S$189).
These all-in-one kits are designed for you to grow edible crops such as herbs, vegetables and flowers that the whole family can enjoy.
8. Do meal prep
Estimated budget: Varies
Providing healthy home-cooked meals can be challenging when you’re a working mom. Cooking is time-consuming, and deciding what to cook for dinner can be particularly onerous after a long day at the office.
That’s where meal prep comes in. Take an hour during your weekend to plan your meals for the coming week, and prepare the necessary ingredients beforehand. Then, when you get home from work on a weekday, all there’s left to do is to cook the dishes.
Also, meal prepping lends itself well to self-care, being meditative, creative and satisfying. As a bonus, you will have more control over the quality and type of food you and your family consume.
Regardless of which self-care routine you prefer, always remember that it shouldn’t be overly complicated or time-consuming, and it should always be about the small ways you can better take care of yourself.
Self care doesn’t have to be expensive. Charge your payments to the right cashback CCs to enjoy rewards when you spend.
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