Nap Time Self-Care: Tips for Tired Moms

self-care for moms

I laugh at the days when I thought I was busy. I used to write about self-care in the chaos, would Instagram my hour-long sauna/home spa routine and preached the magic of skin brushing. While I continue to stand behind these recommendations, I don’t have the time for a lot of what I used to do. I am sure you’ve heard me chat about balance and about how I am managing these days as a mom, a wife, a business owner, and as of this summer, a backyard farmer. Between juggling all the hats I wear, I do believe I have mastered the “baby is napping, time for self-care” practice. I’m talking about what we can do at home in one hour or less to maximize our time for our own personal wellbeing. Time is tight and we need to take care of ourselves.

To help you make this happen in your life, I have outlined below some of my go-to “rules” and also my favourite ways to indulge during those 60 minutes of true “me time”.

The Three Rules of the Nap-Time Self-Care Game

bathing rituals - Self-care

1. Get Over The Stress of Time

This is easier said than done. One of the things that is so tricky for me personally is figuring out what to do with my time on the weekends when my boy goes down for his nap. I nearly always end up with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), if I don’t plan in advance how I am going to use my time during each of the precious naps.

My non-negotiable mom self-care tip: Choose one nap in the week that is 100% for you and your needs.

Set aside that nap and if you don’t have the defining nap to take advantage of, then your goal is to find that one hour that can be all yours. They key is to mark off that time in your week and commit to it as if it’s the most important meeting in your calendar.

Monday to Friday I work, some days from home and some days from my office. My one nap that is mine and mine alone is usually the first nap of the day on Saturday or Sunday. I commit to it in advance and plan out how I will use it.

2. You Must Turn Off Your Phone

I don’t want to hear any ‘buts’ about this. We are all guilty of mindlessly scrolling on our phones, wasting more time than I like to think about. What is it that we are looking for? And do you feel better or worse after having spent your time doing this? Watching mindless television or wasting away our time double tapping things on our phones may feel relaxing because you are not actively doing anything at all. The reality is that it is just the opposite. We are triggering our nervous system, increasing our level of fatigue and maybe most importantly as it relates to what we’re talking about here, it takes you away from the present moment. The whole point of this practice is to be present and indulge. Turn off those phones. It will be there waiting for you when you get back.

3. Making It Work At Home

Sure, I could suggest loads of out-of-the-home self-care options, but the name of the game here is to assume you have a little one sleeping and have just 60 minutes. Out of the house stuff usually also requires travel time so we’re confining ourselves to the space we are in.

8 Ways To Maximize Self-Care in An Hour Or Less

self care in an hour- Self-care1. Home Spa Experience

This is my personal favourite so it goes first. I lock myself in the bathroom (sort of, our bathroom doesn’t have a lock – must add to home repair list), start running a bath, pull out all of my favourite personal care products that I don’t get to use often enough and start taking care of me. I personally opt for Living Libations* products as the essential oils truly make it feel like a spa-like experience. Use what you have, lay them out and determine your personal order of operations. The photo above was taken on Mother’s Day.

This is my line-up:

2. One Hour of Yoga or Physical Activity of Your Choice

30 minutes of yoga is easier to squeeze in. Even 45 minutes is doable. There is something magical that happens when you keep your body moving for a full 60 minutes. I am not on the up and up for online workouts, but a few of my favourite online movement hubs include:

3. Take Your Own Nap For Goodness Sake

Make it count. I am the world’s worst napper but if I am tired enough, I may sleep. Often I end up just laying there with my eyes closed but do still feel rejuvenated. There is one key secret to a daytime nap. The sleep mask. Get yourself a cotton (and cotton or wool filled!) sleep mask. It’s a dream-maker. I have found great ones on Etsy and I use them for naps and nighttime sleep.

4. Meditate

I have been meditating for twelve years and am not even close to desiring to sit for sixty minutes. You don’t have to. That’s not the point. Maybe you sit for ten or twenty or thirty minutes. But create your ritual around it so that you really get into it deep. Perhaps you start with five minutes of deep breathing, then your 20 minutes of meditation, 20 minutes of shavasana (everyone’s favourite yoga pose), and then journal. There is your sixty minutes. What’s truly magical about meditation is though you may feel anxious at the time, that is the feeling of stresses and anxieties bubbling to the surface and untangling. Stay with it. The benefit of meditation comes from the practice itself, not the results. Trust that the results are happening even if you don’t feel them in the moment. With meditation, you’re playing the long game.

5. Do Something Creative

Remember once upon a time when you had hobbies? Me too! I am trying to cultivate mine again, but it’s not easy finding the time. Creative projects nourish different parts of the brain than we use when we work or do day-to-day activities. Whether it’s playing an instrument, creating a recipe or doing a craft project – it all counts. My crafts of late involve macramé and I love this option because a macramé plant holder is a project I can start, enjoy and complete in under an hour. I also recently killed a nap-time craft of sewing a washable stroller cover. The joys of the simple things.

So whether your craft is colouring in a colouring book, making a friendship bracelet, crafting in a scrapbook or any other number of creative endeavours, remember what you used to do with your free time and start doing it. Every moment spent doing something that nourishes your soul is a deposit in the happiness account.

6. Get Outside in the Sunshine

You need a yard, porch or balcony for this one but if you do have access, fresh air and sunshine by yourself is invaluable in regenerating the spirit. Perhaps you have a book you want to read (ideally not on sleep habits, feeding your baby or other parenting things), but that is pure fun. Sit in the sun and read this book, or drink that tea, or eat your lunch. We have a baby monitor that we use just for this purpose.

7. Plant Stuff

Maybe this isn’t directly related to your self-care, but caring for plants, repotting them, watering them, grooming them, maybe even getting fancy and propagating them can be supremely nourishing. Plants are a very new thing in my world and I’ve spent more than one nap reviewing my plant inventory and determining what I am doing wrong that seems to be killing all of them. Plants boost air quality in your home and improve mental and emotional well-being. Studies show that interacting with indoor plants suppresses psychological stress.

8. Take A Long Shower, Apply Products And Put On Fresh Clothes

This may seem like a silly one, but trust me. On most days, my showers feel more like running through a sprinkler. So when I am in dire need of some alone time, while also need to use nap time to prepare to leave the house, this is it. Similar to the Home Spa I outlined above, my long shower self-care routine includes:

Make It Happen

Don’t ever feel guilty about taking this time for yourself. Guilt is never worth your energy. You deserve this a thousand times over. As mothers we give, give, give. If we don’t take some time to replenish our own stores, fill our tank a little, we will be running on empty. That is when overwhelm will hit us the hardest. Aim to set aside one hour per week that is yours, all yours. Own it. Enjoy it. You are amazing. Celebrate this. Some weeks will undoubtedly challenge you more than others. Some days you may feel like you are just slaying it all. The ebbs and flows of motherhood will never fail to bring us to our knees but I do believe this only lends us the opportunity to look up, and rise up higher than we ever thought possible. And it all begins with caring for ourselves.

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  1. It was yoga what saved my sanity! Yoga and sleep training! I sleep trained my baby very early. At 4 mo – as young as they allow to but used this stress-free no-cio method from Susan Urban’s book (this one: so no guilt and quick success. But it was not enough to relax, I could not ease my brain while she was sleeping and I was doing… nothing. With homestay yoga classes with youtube (Adriene is the best!) I really felt more relaxed and it was like doing something for myself finally. I definitely recommend that!

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