The subtitle of this post should be, “why busy moms should take care of themselves.” I don’t know about you, but I have a really, really hard time making room in the schedule to give myself a little breathing room and to rejuvenate. It often just seems plain selfish in light of all the needs of those around me.
Why we should
But we shouldn’t feel that way – even though many of us do. Here are a couple of things I jotted down for myself as reminders. Being a good mom is a good goal. Being a sane mom, is being a good mom. Taking care of myself, helps me to be sane, and therefore a good mom. My girls need a good example of someone who is appropriately caring for her soul and body. They need to see that our bodies are a great gift and we should take care of them, and nurture them. Then we can serve other people with better energy and health. They need to see a mother who knows how to center herself and face the hectic world calmly.
And there are so many ways to do that – getting adequate sleep, eating good food (even just really simple food can nurture the body and soul!), being in healthy relationships, enjoying music and art, and yes, mothers, even taking 15 minutes to be alone and pamper yourself. It all sounds so simple, but it really isn’t, is it?
I was browsing through the natural skin care eBooks that are part of the Ultimate Healthy Living bundle, and realized how long it has been since I’d done anything to care for my skin or “beauty” besides the quickest of quick face washing and lotion slapping. I’ve been working extra hard this week, and my body is crying out for a little extra pampering (and my face has long since given up on getting exfoliated anytime soon, let alone being pampered with a mask). A mini spa night, for mama all alone, is getting on the schedule pronto (as in tomorrow). My mind needs it, my skin needs it, and my tired body needs it!
The need for being alone (even for a few minutes)
I am the type of person who needs a little “alone time” to feel energized when I am with people. And that alone time is really hard to get sometimes! My “alone time” is often busy with work – laundry, dishes, writing, emails. You know the drill. That doesn’t really count for me. But this is what I realized – sometimes I do have the time, I just waste it doing trivial things (like checking Facebook just one more time, and getting sucked into the latest news stories). I realized that I can ask my husband to take the kids for 20 minutes in the evening so I can take a relaxing magnesium bath with a good book, and hardly anyone notices! (This was not necessarily true when I had a clingy infant, but it’s true now!).
The point is this: busy moms may have a hard time carving out a 3 hour spa night (or carving the money out of the budget for it!), but with a little help, or thought, we can relax and take care of ourselves in short periods of time.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to enjoy a few minutes of rest, quiet and pampering (that also nourishes your skin and body!). I have purposely kept this list simple and easy because no busy mama is every going to have a spa night if she has to make special trips out to buy ingredients and such! These are all things I’d recommend just having on hand for a variety of uses, and are easily available.
Spa night tools
I seriously recommend these. Hot baths are lovely for relaxing, but magnesium in the form of Epsom salts bring the relaxation to new levels. Plus, they are very inexpensive! Epsom salts are often used by athletes for relaxing sore muscles or injuries. Once dissolved into bath water, the magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin which brings a great sense of relaxation as it relaxes your muscles (it’s also an important mineral for you!). Recommend amounts for an adult to use vary between 1 cup to 2 cups per bath (use less for children). It is great for also bringing down blood pressure, or so one of my naturopaths told us. In fact, she was cautious about me overdoing Epsom salts when my blood pressure gets too low because of how powerfully it can work (so that’s something to be aware of if you struggle with low blood pressure).
Whether you are relaxing in the bath or lying back with a face mask on, I really love to set the scene a little with a candle (I admit it – I love candles anytime!). Unfortunately, most candles are toxic (you can read about that here), so I recommend buying beeswax candles. They have a very gentle and lovely scent, and are often very beautiful. If you are a mama with young children, you probably don’t light candles that often for safety reasons, so having one to light during spa time is fun.
Never undervalue the power of music (says the music teacher in me!). Music is very personal, and so what you’d like to play is very dependent on what relaxes you. I like to play very peaceful music during my alone/spa time. I love many of the sound tracks to Jane Austen movies and a few others as well. Those songs all have happy connotations for me, as I loved the movies, so they are a perfect fit for me.
Lavender essential oil
I just talked about essential oil safety here. One of the most gentle and safest oils is lavender, and it is also a very relaxing oil to use. I drop one or two drops of lavender essential oil in the hot wax around the flame (not on the flame) of a lighted candle. It’s a lovely way to diffuse an oil in a very gentle way. Of course, you can easily use whatever your favorite essential oil is! You can also add just one drop (of a skin safe oil) to any homemade masks, scrubs, etc; you are using that night.
Honey mask (or honey face wash)
Back in the day (how many years ago was that?), I created fun masks to use from a wide variety of ingredients. But who wants to spread a whole avocado on your face? I’d like to eat it, thanks-very-much! Plus, busy moms? We need to keep things simple, and we are in the kitchen enough. So I was intrigued to see the instructions in Easy Beauty Recipes (an eBook part of the bundle) for a very simple, but luxuriant mask made entirely of honey! It stood out to me, as I was doing a honey face wash (just honey and water) for a while with great results. I got tired of always cleaning honey off my sink though. But I never thought to spread it on my face and leave it for a longer time (about 20 minutes)! It sounds divine. Kelly also shares in her book different essential oils that would be good to add, and ratios for doing a honey/apple cider vinegar mask as well.
Instructions are simple: Spread honey on your skin (use a higher quality, raw honey, if you can). Let sit for 15- 20 minutes, and then rinse off. I’ll be trying this for sure.
Vanilla Lavender Sugar Scrub
Have you ever tired a sugar scrub before? They are amazing, and they only use a few kitchen items! They both exfoliate and moisturize which is a very happy combination.
This body scrub is made with a ratio of 2 parts sugar to 1 part oil, but you can reverse the ratio for a very gentle scrub that is very moisturizing. You can use whatever sugar you had on hand – organic evaporated cane sugar (I keep on hand to use in projects like this), brown sugar, coconut sugar, etc. Oils to use: Almond oil, coconut oil (what I used), etc.
Just make sure you don’t scrub your feet when standing in the shower! You wouldn’t want to slip. (Links are affiliate)
¼ cup oil of choice (I used this coconut oil )
½ cup sugar of choice (I used organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 drops of organic lavender essential oil (for a very gentle lavender scent)
Mix together in a bowl, and keep in a jar. Will keep for several weeks.
I’d love to hear your tips for having a relaxing spa night at home too!
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Perfect timing. I was just pacing around the house thinking of what to do with myself with this extra hour I suddenly have. Prep dinner? Catch up on work for tomorrow? Sort my clothes? But now I am going to paint my toes and read a book! Or maybe just sleep. Thanks so much for the encouragement!
When you measure out coconut oil is it in liquid form? I’m never sure when a recipe mentions coconut oil what consistency it is.
Good question, Ashley. If it is already liquid, I measure as is, if it is pretty soft, I just push it into the measuring cup, making sure there are no pockets, and if it is really hard, I melt it.
A quick and easy footbath I like to do: Get a sink liner type of container for a few bucks. Put it in your spot with a towel underneath. Add hot water straight from the tap into a pitcher and pour it in the footbath with essential oils of your choice!
Nice! I like that idea, Rebecca. You could also add a little scoop of epsom salts too. 🙂
How do you know when the scrub is done making?