How to Make Self-Care a Consistent HABIT

August 10, 2020

As moms, it can be difficult for us to make self-care a part of our weekly and daily routines. With all of the responsibilities piled up on us, taking care of ourselves is usually the first thing to go.

But if we want to show up for our families, our work, and our communities as best as we can, we have to prioritize ourselves. It is vital to our mental and physical health. The better we take care of ourselves, the less likely we’re going to be stressed, anxious, and experience burn out which makes it less likely that we’re going to be impatient and frustrated with our families.

While I can give you countless ideas for self-care and tips on how to fit it into your daily and weekly schedule, you have to believe that you’re worthy of self-care and that you deserve it. If you don’t, you won’t make time for self-care. There will always be the next thing to do. 

How to Make Self-Care a Consistent HABIT

Your self-care does not start when your to-do list ends. It starts when you realize that you need to be in tip-top shape to show up and work. It doesn’t matter how “productive” you were on any given day. You deserve to take care of yourself because you’re human and you’re a mom with people who depend on you.

Once you understand that self-care should be near the top of your to-do list and not at the bottom, it becomes a lot easier to “fit” self-care into your life. Suddenly, the dirty dishes and scattered toys become less important. Still, as moms, we can feel pulled in many different directions and when you’re doing one thing after another, the day suddenly ends and you’re in bed and you realize that you’ve done nothing for yourself all day. 

Weekly and daily self-care routines

For me personally, self-care looks very different on a daily basis vs a weekly basis. I journal (I use prompt-based journals like the “Five-Minute Journal”) and read personal development books while drinking coffee every morning. You don’t have to wake up hours before your kid(s) do. Even just half an hour earlier can be enough. My morning routine usually takes about 20-30 minutes. You can also do this in the evenings right before bedtime. I also try to exercise and do stretches every day. My son is usually awake when I do this which is just fine. He’ll join me in exercising. 

Once a week, I like to soak for an hour in a hot bath filled with Epsom salt. I put on a facial mask before getting into the bath. You can read, watch Netflix, or do nothing in the bath. It’s entirely up to you, but while you’re in the bath, don’t think or worry about all the things you need to get done! This is YOUR time to completely relax and recharge. This is a weekly activity that differs from my daily self-care routine.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Getting the family on board

If you want to set aside some time to do something extra special for yourself a couple times a week, then you need to manage expectations with your family. Let your kids and spouse or partner know at the beginning of the week that on [insert day] and [insert time], you will be unavailable for an [insert amount of time]. If you have toddlers and babies, ask your partner to look after them. However, you must ask your partner at the beginning of the week and not the same day you plan to do your self-care because your partner may not be available that day or time. Even if your partner is off that day from work, they may have errands they planned for or a meeting with friends. Plan in advance and put the time and day into your partner’s schedule so they have that reminder.

If you’re a single mom, ask a friend or family member to babysit. You could hire a nanny or babysitter to come once a week during the time you plan your self-care. If your kids are young and they all nap at the same time, you can take that time for yourself. 

Scheduling it into your planner

When you’ve finalized the time and day that works best for you, it’s best to keep that time and day consistent because with consistency it becomes a habit and you won’t be wasting too much time looking for childcare or finalizing your plans with your partner if everyone involved knows that on a specific day during a specific time, you are unavailable.

Making it a habit

My self-care is a habit. I journal and read every morning and as I mentioned, I do a homemade facial and take a hot bath every Saturday. My self-care is a habit just like eating breakfast every day. I’ve made it a habit by being consistent with it. However, consistency can be difficult. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about habit cues and habit stacking. Habit stacking is “stacking” a new behavior (the habit you want to build) on top of a habit you already do. For example, I knew I wanted to journal, meditate, exercise, and read every day. So, once I finished breakfast, I stacked those habits together. I already used to drink coffee (an old habit) before I created these new habits, so after I poured myself a cup of coffee, I journaled for a few minutes while my coffee cooled down. Then I started drinking my coffee and read from a personal development book while drinking the coffee. Once I was finished with my coffee, I closed the book and meditated for 5-10 minutes. After meditating, I moved my body for 5-15 minutes. Because these habits are all stacked on top of one another and connected to a habit I was already doing, it was easier for me to be consistent.

You can apply this same method to your own self-care. For example, if you’d like to journal and exercise every evening before bed, then you can set the intention that after you’ve put the kids to bed, you will exercise for 15 minutes, shower, and then journal once you’re in bed (for example). By being specific about the when, where, and how and by connecting the new behavior to a current one, you’re on your way to making your self-care a more consistent ritual.

You can also use cues to help remind you of the new habit you’re trying to create. Cues are simply signs you put out to remind you of your new habit. They make it easier to act on the new habit you’re trying to create. Here’s an example: if you know that you want to go out for a walk every evening, have your walking shoes, socks, and a water bottle (if you need one) already out and in front of you, ready by the door. Our human brains take the path of least resistance. When you have the materials you need already out in front of you, it’s a lot easier to act on the new habit. If you have to take the time and energy to look for the materials you need, you’re less likely to be consistent.

These are just some of the ways you can prioritize and fit self-care in your mom life and make it a consistent habit. Remember: as a mom, you need to take care of yourself. Self-care is definitely selfish but being selfish sometimes is a GOOD thing. Eating, bathing, and sleeping are all selfish acts that we need in order to survive. Self-care is something you need to THRIVE. Be a little selfish and see how you show up for your family and your life.

Faiza Ikram is the owner of, a blog that helps moms with young kids go after their goals and live a fulfilled life by empowering them to invest in their self-care and personal growth. She’s a wife, mom of a 2-year old boy, and a graduate student who enjoys reading and writing non-fiction. 

You can connect with Faiza via her blog or her social media:




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