Taking good care of yourself is insanely important. As a mother, it gets hectic and busy a lot of the time and you end up putting yourself last on the list of priorities. And that’s not right! You must take good care of yourself for two massively important reasons. First, if you don’t take good care of yourself, how are you going to feel like taking good care of your family? And secondly, you are the example for teaching your kids that it IS important to take time to take care of themselves. If you are anything like me, you need a list. If I don’t have a list, I’m not going to remember to do it. The struggle is real, ladies. So, I made myself a daily self-care routine checklist to use to guide me through my days. And now I am sharing it with you for free so that you can better manage your self-care too! We are all in this together fellow mommies!
The 4 Main Objectives
I look at self-care in 4 major parts. For me, there’s productivity, self-nourishing, physical health, and exercise/movement. There is a section for each of these objectives on the checklist, with tasks to complete each day under each major objective. I’ve set it up to where the printable will last you a week at a time. The page includes the checklist, of course, and it’s also got a few little planning blocks to help you plan the week and what you want to accomplish!
Maybe you’ll like my exact list. Or maybe you’ll want to make your own. It might be that maybe you want to just add a few to my list. I’ve got you covered all the way around! There is a blank page as well as my list. So if my list doesn’t cut it for you, totally make your own! Self-care is all about doing what works for you!
You might be tempted to say you don’t have time for self-care. You will have to make the time for it! Here’s an article about how to do that.
Productivity – Daily Self-Care Routine Checklist
The first section on my daily self-care routine checklist is “Productivity.” These are the tasks that help me keep on top of our family life and keep our house running. This section is all about how I track ALL that information, how I decide what gets done for the day, and how I keep the house under control (kinda…) as far as mess is concerned.
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Reviewing the calendar each day is my number one task. Sometimes I must look at it more than once a day to make sure we are still on track and that I’m not forgetting anything. It’s pretty much with me everywhere I go. Our schedules around here are pretty full most days and without a calendar and planner, I’d be in a mess in a hurry.
In addition to different school schedules, we have a lot of therapies as well as doctor appointments. There’re always haircuts, or home repairs or meetings attend too. So, my calendar is where all that information stays. I know exactly what’s happening and when, because it’s all right there on the calendar.
It doesn’t matter if you are a paper calendar type of gal (that’s me!) or if you keep it electronically on the phone or on google, the important thing is that you are keeping track of it somehow, somewhere that works for you. Keeping track of the calendar this way means I do not have to keep a ton of appointments in my head, and that frees up some mind space and relieves some stress by knowing I’ve got the calendar under control.
- me & my BIG ideas The Happy Planner Box Kit – This is the calendar I use. It keeps everything in one place. It has stickers. And colors. It’s a chance to be creative without taking too much time. I adore it. This is the 2nd year I’ve had this calendar and I couldn’t be more in love. It has all kinds of things you can buy to add on to your calendar to suit your life.
Master To-Do List
I have a master to-do list that I keep running in my planner. It has everything on it. Long-term projects, quick things that need to be taken care of, thoughts that come to mind that need to be noted later. You name it, it’s on there. And every few weeks I re-do it and incorporate all my new notes and to-dos. I keep it organized in sections so that it’s easy to manage. I’ve got long-term home projects I want to do, home maintenance that needs attention, goals, and dreams I want to accomplish, and then I’ve got the short term list that is more daily life, such as, pay the bills, go to the grocery store, buy a Halloween costume, etc.
By keeping it in sections I can see what needs to be done more quickly, and which projects may need to wait for completion. It helps me prioritize what I’ve got time for, versus what needs to get done during the week as well. And there’s just nothing more satisfying than working on a to-do list and crossing things off left and right!
Top 3 Tasks
From my master to-do list each day, I choose 3 things. 3 things that MUST happen each day. It can be as simple as a few calls to make. It doesn’t have to be 3 huge things to finish each day. But I choose my top 3 things, list them in my calendar, and treat them as if they must be done.
This serves 2 purposes really. The first is, I’m getting some things done and marking things off the list. Which makes me feel productive. Which tends to lead to further productiveness. Secondly, only 3 things don’t seem as intimidating as the entire huge master list that we were just talking about above up there. That list is scary long. But a list of 3 things? No problem!
Additionally, completing those 3 things gets me in the habit of doing the things I say I’ll do. It means knowing I’m not going to push those 3 things aside if I’m tired or lazy or busy. This is a way of training myself to do those things no matter what. Learning that is showing up for yourself each day and knowing you’ve got your own back and will accomplish tasks if you set your mind to it. That way, when a big, scary, huge goal comes along, you won’t even worry about going for it. Because you KNOW you will be able to commit to getting things done each day.
Prep Bags for Tomorrow
I find this to be a huge help. Preparing everyone’s bags for the next day, locating shoes, getting clothes together all fall into this one category for me. I despise a hectic morning. And getting everything together the night before totally eliminates hectic in the morning altogether. Plus, it makes sure that you’ve looked through the bags and there are no surprise forms to sign, science experiments due, dirty clothes, etc.
Make The Bed
There are a million articles out there that suggest that making the bed each morning is of great importance. It sets you up for a quick win first thing each day, and you carry that momentum with you as the day goes on. Plus, it’s really nice to come home to a beautifully made bed at the end of the day. Or if you are already home all day, it’s nice to walk through and see that your bed looks so nice and tidy.
Leave the Kitchen Sink Empty
I don’t like going to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes. Do I sometimes? Sure. We all do. But I love walking into a clean kitchen first thing in the morning. It’s like a breath of fresh air. When I walk into a dirty kitchen in the morning my first thought is “UGHHHHH.” And then I spend the morning trying to climb the hill back up to chipper and cheerful. But if I walk into a bright, shiny, clean kitchen and wait for my coffee to brew in a happy and clean place, I’m already much happier with my day.
Do I clean the kitchen every night from top to bottom? No way. But I try to tidy up and let the dishwasher run overnight. Dishes are my most dreaded chore. But really, it maybe takes 10 minutes to clear them all out if you get busy with it! I turn my phone or my Amazon Show (I LOVE that thing!) on to a movie or tv show I love so I can listen in and watch something while I work. It can be a great downtime in the evening all to myself.
That’s it for my productivity section. These tasks are what works for me. But there are lines where you can add in your own additions. Or make your own! Do what works best for you!
Self-Nourishing – Daily Self-Care Routine Checklist
I think self-nourishing is super, crazy important. Especially If you are a mother. Because the FIRST thing to go is time to take care of yourself. And that’s not right, and it’s not good for you. You need time to spark a little joy in your life too! I feel like taking time to do these things makes me a better wife, mom and human all the way around. I certainly feel better if I’ve taken the time to do these things.
Daily Call or Contact
I have a running list each week of people I want to call or contact. Some of them are phone calls, some emails, some texts. Sometimes being a mom can be very isolating. And it can be hard to make friends that are in your same boat sometimes. So it’s important to have people that you reach out to and keep in regular contact with to keep you connected.
So, I have my list of people I want to call or contact each day or week. It helps me to remember to reach out, see how they are doing, set up a time to go out together or whatever we might want to do. It’s just a reminder for me to be intentional and keep up with people! If you don’t, you can easily look up and realize it’s been months since you talked to someone.
Journaling isn’t for everyone. But I’m a writer, and it’s totally my jam. I find a few minutes each day to get my thoughts out is super helpful and even therapeutic. Keep a journal however you like. I have mine on the computer because my hands type way faster than my hands write these days.
You can write about your day. Your upcoming day tomorrow. You can work out something you are struggling with or lay the groundwork for some dreams. Maybe it’s not for you. But maybe it is. Give it a try for a few weeks and see if it helps you at all.
I feel like it gives me a place to keep all my thoughts and ideas. Sometimes getting the idea out on paper is all you need to help you see it in a new light or to work through an issue you couldn’t work out on your own, otherwise.
Reading keeps your mind engaged and working, and it’s really good for you. Whether you use it as an escape, for news and events, or for personal improvement, or a combination of all those reasons, reading is an enjoyable hobby and pastime.
I always like to have a fun book going. It’s always some kind of fiction that’s a light-hearted romance of some kind. I love a good Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr or Susan Mallery book to read here and there throughout the day and evening.
I also try to always have a self-help book going also. I try to read one for about 15 minutes a day. It’s always good to be working on self-improvement! And sometimes you find crazy important little nuggets about yourself in these books. I think we should always be striving to be a little bit better every single day.
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
- Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
- Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love by Ruth Soukup
I think it’s important to get outside and get fresh air every day. Whether it’s just sitting on the porch for a few minutes and listening to the birds’ chirp, or taking the kids out to play, or going for a walk in the sunshine, I just think it’s important to be outdoors a little bit each day. Fresh air and sunshine are wonderful for you and I think they always make me feel better each day.
Try to do something that brings you joy each day. For at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to all be at one time! But do something for yourself that makes you happy! Take a nice bath after the kids go to bed. Take a walk all by yourself if you can. Unwind with your favorite tv show or a movie and have a dessert or glass of wine. Snuggle up with a good book. Whatever brings you joy, do it. Make time for it. Plan for it. Put it on your agenda so there is no room for skipping it!
Physical Health – Daily Self-Care Routine Checklist
Physical health is so important. You need to take good care of yourself, especially us mommies. Your kids will see you taking good care of yourself and know that they should be doing the same. So it’s important to really take time to take care of your health.
Get 7 hours of sleep each night. I know, it’s not always possible. Kids get up in the middle of the night sometimes. Kids get up early sometimes. But more often than not, try for at least 7 hours. It’s the amount of time your body needs to rest and recharge. Your brain needs it. You’ll find yourself way more focused and way less scatterbrained if you get the right amount of sleep.
I take a multi-vitamin each day. My nutrition isn’t covering all my bases all the time, so I make sure to take a multi-vitamin to help. That way I don’t have to stress if I’ve not had all the amounts of leafy greens I should have all during my day.
Drink your water. Please drink your water. Oh, and drink your water. Water is crazy important. It’s so good for you. Drinking water is good for your body and your brain. It keeps you from eating everything in sight. It keeps your joints from hurting. It’s important. Drink your water. That is all.
(If you just launched into the “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of ’99…Wear Sunscreen speech that Baz Luhrmann released to the graduating class of 1999 – you are my people… and you are my age. LOL. If not, google that speech and listen to it. It will not disappoint, I promise.)
But I digress. Sunscreen and sun protection is crazy important. I put it on after I shower in the mornings all over my body and then I use a sunscreen specifically for faces on my face each day before any makeup goes on. This covers day to day random sun exposure. If I’m going to specifically be outside for a longer period than incidental exposure, I’ll lotion up again when I go outdoors. I like to wear a hat to protect my face for sure. Protecting your skin is super important. You want to protect against skin cancer, and I also like to prevent aging my skin any faster than necessary.
In that same department as a sunscreen to protect your face, I like to make sure I have a daily face care routine in place too. I put on the appropriate lotions in the morning along with eye cream. Then in the evenings, no matter how tired I am, I take the time to wash my face. It’s just important to wash all the dirt and grime off from the day. You can use wipes, a washcloth, an actual sink full of water, or however you best wash your face. But definitely wash your face and then moisturize accordingly! I’m not a beauty expert, but here’s what I use:
Well Balanced Meals
I don’t always excel at well-balanced meals. But I try. And I know I sure feel a whole lot better and lighter when I make sure and take care to eat properly. Even if you don’t want to count calories or portions, just keep a mental tally in your head each day. Ate some veggies? Check! Snacked on some fruit? Check! I try to take care to have a balanced meal with a protein, a good carbohydrate, and some veggies for at least 2 of my meals each day. And while I love a sugary breakfast delight, I try to skip that kind of stuff and lean more towards eggs, fruit, oatmeal, and/or toast for breakfasts.
You feel better if you eat better. If you eat pop-tarts for breakfast, pizza for lunch and drive through for dinner (though that all sounds awesome…) you will feel awful and sluggish all day. Just make good and balanced choices and you’ll be surprised how great you feel really quickly.
I’m not saying you need to give yourself the supermodel treatment each and every day. But what I am saying is you need to show up for yourself and get a shower each day, do something with your hair, and put on a little makeup. It helps me tremendously to do this every day. Since I’m a mostly stay at home mom, it can be crazy easy to let this step go. And then you end up feeling gross all day. Or at least I do! It can be tricky to work this routine in when you have small kids running around, but it’s important.
Even if it is just a 2-minute shower, you’ll feel clean and refreshed for the day once you get a nice shower under your belt. It might mean getting up a few minutes early before the kids
Even if you just put your hair up, fix it to where you feel like it looks nice for the day. I have a curly mess of a head of hair and I feel like it’s an unruly mess if I don’t style it and put some product in there! I also have this brush and it’s a game-changer! If you want straight hair, this brush will get you there, and quick!
Lastly, I throw on a little makeup and I’m set for the day. Even if it’s just some powder, blush and mascara, which takes maybe 60 seconds to apply, I always feel more confident and ready for my day.
I need these 3 things to feel like I’m taking care of myself each day. It might be different for you, but I encourage everyone to try it.
Exercise and Movement – Daily Self-Care Routine Checklist
This is our last category and it’s the most important, in my opinion. Taking care of your physical health with exercise and movement is vital to your everyday routine. For a lot of reasons! Not only does it promote good heart and joint health, but it also boosts mental health too! Exercise releases endorphins in your body, and they make you feel better!
You will want to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week. Cardio exercise improves heart health, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, helps you sleep, helps manage your weight, etc. The list of benefits goes on and on and on.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or even at a gym. It can be a walk with the stroller, a walk on your own, jogging, swimming, dance class, aerobics, whatever. Just get your heart rate up! Here are some ideas and explanations as to why cardio exercise is so important.
Strength training is important for women, especially as we age. It helps with so many things including bone and muscle health, metabolism, and flexibility. You aren’t training to be a bodybuilder. Don’t worry. But you do want some muscle tone and strength! Here’s a post from Mayo Clinic about the importance of strength training.
Deep breathing can help you relax and put your mind at rest. It’s a great stress reliever, too. It can even help curb anxiety. It brings oxygen to all the parts of your body and helps you stay energized and calm throughout the day. For further info on deep breathing exercises, look here.
I think if you can’t fit in anything else during the day, try to do a little stretching here and there. I like to do a little stretching when I’m feeling sleepy during the day. It picks me right back up. It’s something you can easily do any time, anywhe
Wrap-Up – Daily Self-Care Routine Checklist
This post ended up being a long one! But that’s because self-care is insanely, hugely, extremely, mightily, unforgettably, exceptionally and exceedingly important. You must take good care of yourself if you plan to be able to take good care of anyone else! And you want to care for your family in the best way humanly possible. I hope you’ll try out my daily self-care checklist. Make it your own! Add in what works best for you, or take out some of my suggestions. The items on this self-care daily checklist are the things I want to do each day to make sure I’m taking the best care of myself that I possibly can. I look forward to hearing about how all of you take care of yourselves! And as always, just keep shuffling!
- The Complete Home Cleaning Checklist
- Successful Mommy Time Management
- There’s Just No Time for Self-Care