Taking An Active Approach to Self-Care

Published on March 18, 2020 - Updated on March 19, 2020

Self-care is more important than ever as we are experiencing an unprecedented moment in time as a country and world.  In order to pour into your kiddos and loved ones, it’s important to pour into yourself. While you’re juggling working from home and trying to be the best parent possible, we’re sharing some ideas for taking care of yourself too!  Sending you love and grace today and every day. The happyly team

The Importance of Self Care for Parents & Caretakers 

The Oxford dictionary definition of self-care is: “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”

There are tons of activities that are proven to improve people’s mental and physical health. At least for me, it’s challenging to follow through on doing the things that actually fuel my heart, body, and mind. 

I get it. You’re a parent. I am too. Time is limited and there are 172 other people and things that need your attention, but I promise that this isn’t an additional thing to add to your life.

When you practice proper self-care, you have more energy and resilience. That means that the other hours of your day are happier and more productive. Happiness for you! 

Listen to Music

It turns out that listening to music literally releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. When we listen to music that we enjoy, our brain releases dopamine. Research has shown that music also has the power to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.


Practical Tips for Real Parents:

  • Use your morning commute to listen to tunes that make you feel good.
  • Sing along to your favorite music while you’re in the shower. (The bathroom does have the best acoustics in the house.)
  • Use that smart speaker in your kitchen to crank up the tunes while you’re cooking dinner.

Move Your Body

Exercise is yet another activity that gives your body and brain a hit of feel-good chemicals, including endorphins. The great thing about exercise is that it not only makes you feel good immediately after you’re done, but the impact is also lasting. One study found that just 20 minutes of exercise can boost someone’s mood for up to 12 hours!


Practical Tips for Real Parents:

  • Dance with the kids. This is a two-for-one because it will also give you a chance to listen to music that makes you feel good (see tip number one!)
  • While the kids are playing at the park, play right along with them. Challenge them to a game of tag or a monkey bar competition.
  • Devote 10 minutes of your lunch break to a mini-workout. Walk the stairs, do some lunges, or squeeze in some jumping jacks.



You’ve probably heard about the power of meditation. I’ve been meditating daily for the past three years and I can personally attest to its power. Science backs me up on this one, too. 

One study showed that meditation actually shrinks the portion of your brain that controls fearfulness and anxiety. Who wouldn’t want that? (If you’re looking for resources, check out Insight Timer or Headspace)

Practical Tips for Real Parents:

  • When you get in bed at night, throw on some headphones and do a meditation before falling asleep.
  • Wake up 10 minutes before you need to and use that time to meditate.
  • Before you get out of your car to go into the office, spend 5-10 minutes meditating.


Get Outside

If you live in a place that gets cold and dark in the winter, you’re probably familiar with the dull, depressing feeling that you can get during that time of year. Scientists think that it’s related to the lack of sunshine we experience when the seasons change. Not only is sunshine important for our physical and mental health, studies find that even something as simple as looking at a tree can reduce blood pressure and stress levels.

More than ever, outdoor time (with distance from others while social distancing) will be necessary to preserve a positive state of mind! 

Practical Tips for Real Parents:

  • After dinner, dress for the weather and take a walk outside.
  • Eat your lunch or dinner al fresco
  • Choose weekend activities that allow you to be outside such as nature walks, hikes or bike rides.


You may think that mindfulness is the same as meditation, but it has different benefits. While meditation is a specific practice, mindfulness is more of a way of moving throughout your day. Essentially, it’s the habit of being present in the moment. When you practice mindfulness, you aren’t focused on what needs to get done or stressed about what has already happened, you’re just enjoying where you are.

Practical Tips for Real Parents:

  • As you drink your morning tea or coffee, take some time to really soak in the flavors, smells, and warmth.
  • Try to focus your attention on the soothing elements of being in the shower. (After all, it might be the only time you get to yourself today).
  • As you walk from your car to a building or vice versa, tune into the sounds of birds chirping, the sun on your face, and the feeling of your feet hitting the ground.

Give it a Try 

The reality is that your day isn’t getting longer and your to-do list isn’t getting shorter. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t engage in some self-care. You don’t have to book an hour-long massage or find time to go to a yoga retreat. Minor adjustments make a big difference. 

Incorporate one or two practices in your day to see a difference. So pick one thing and start today!! We have nothing to lose by giving it a try …. except maybe a little stress.

Please check out the blog for more inspiration from a list of March Weeknight Meals, join as we Disconnect to Reconnect or if you are looking for family-team building at home, we recommend 100 Things: A Rewarding and Fun Family Challenge.

Take a moment to explore suggestions from the happyly team aboutKeeping Kids Active while Protecting Them, Yourself and the Community from the Coronavirus as well as our Daily Schedule For Pre-School and Grade School. As always, we welcome your family's highlights! Tag us on Instagram @gethappyly!

If you are enjoying our active lifestyle content, please take a moment to download the happyly app for fast access to all of our weekend roundups, frequent blog content, and favorite activities, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country. 

Parents can now get more time back in their days with the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app. Happyly provides scores of carefully-reviewed activities for parents, grandparents, and caregivers who are looking to spend less time planning and more time happily exploring with their kiddos.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Katie Raspa
Our work in Baltimore is truly a family affair. Husband and wife, Matt and Katie, work together to head up our ambassador team in Charm City. Katie is a Maryland native and has lived in the state her whole life. She moved to Baltimore in 2007 after graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She has been working in the field of early childhood education as a teacher and family coach for the past 12 years. Katie also holds a Masters of Education in Literacy from Loyola University. She is passionate about giving kids and families the knowledge and tools that they need to thrive. Matt grew up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. As a city native, Matt is a great resource on all that the city has to offer. After months of helping Katie explore the city for her role at a Happy Active Family, he decided to put his love of writing to use and officially come on board as an ambassador. Matt and Katie have two girls, ages 5 and 7. They spend their weekends camping, hiking, or exploring other hidden gems in their area. Tap into their insider knowledge by downloading the app today!
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