10 Ways to Celebrate Valentines Day on the Cheap

Hubs and I aren’t big Valentine’s Day people.

My theory is, showing how much you love someone shouldn’t be subject to one holiday, one arbitrary day if you will. It should be an everyday type thing.

This year, we’re on a tight budget so we’re having a date night in, and heading up to CT for the “long” weekend (I say long weekend because Hubs has presidents Day off whereas, I am taking the time.) for some QT with the in-laws who offered up some free babysitting.

Here are ten easy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the cheap…

celebrate Valentines Day on cheap

 

  1. Have a dinner date at home. We love making something a little more extravagant than usual for Valentines Dinner in. Homemade dumplings, linguine with Clams. Because it’s Ash Wednesday I think we’re ordering sushi (no meat!) instead.
  2. Have an indoor picnic with a movie. Pour some wine, make some popcorn and a charcuterie board and cuddle up under a blanket. Massage each other’s feet and just enjoy a night in with candles and a good romcom.
  3. Go ice skating. Skate rentals are inexpensive and if you can find a place outdoors, it can be super romantic at night. Similarly, if you’re like us and have a (welcome) third wheel on daytime dates, it can also be kid-friendly and super fun for little ones too.
  4. Hit up a local brewery or winery. Our favorites? Diamondback in Baltimore, Black Flag in Columbia, Boordy in Baltimore County, or Linganore out in Mount Airy. Bonus if they’re relatively kiddo friendly – some are more so than others 🙂
  5. Workout together. Seriously, hubs and I are super competitive. We workout together once per week (well, really we go to the gym, I run, he does weights) but this weekend, we’re hitting up an Orange Theory Fitness class this weekend when we’re up north which I am SUPER excited about. I tried it ONCE in Atlanta on a business trip, and LOVED it so I’m jazzed to share.
  6. Have a game night in. We love Yahtzee, Kinder Perfect, and Kings in the Corner. We usually play when little man goes to bed, turn on some tunes and sip some wine. It’s a really inexpensive fun way to spend some quality time together.
  7. Bake your favorite dessert together. I’ll be making these vegan blueberry muffins with a festive (likely non-vegan) frosting on top for us all to enjoy this week.
  8. Do some Yoga together. Whether you decide to take a class, or just do a video. Getting your om on can be not only relaxing but also kind of romantic.
  9. Road trip. Go explore a new town, grab a fun lunch and explore a new town for an afternoon. Some fun road trips from our area? Frederick, St. Michaels, Richmond, or Harpers Ferry, WV.
  10. Hit up a museum. Since we’re so close to DC, hitting up a museum can be inexpensive and super fun for an afternoon. If you have little ones to bring along, go somewhere kiddo friendly where they can let loose.

What inexpensive ways are YOU celebrating Valentines Day? 

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Currently Craving: All Pink Everything

Happy Monday friends!

Once upon a time, my blog was titled “Life in Pink” – pink was a long favorite color of mine – less so now, but still a welcome freshness and feminine accent. So i thought it would be fun to find all the cute pink things on my wishlist (mostly workout gear ah-hem) think pink

[Top L-R: Leggings | mug | top | cape | bow mules | Perfume | Sneakers | Open Back Tank | Off the Shoulder sweater | Nail polish | Peplum t-shirt ]

Blushes and mauves are my favorites right now – long since I moved away from bright fuschia pink, blush became a staple of mine in my wardrobe. The workout tops from Gap, Athleta respectively are super feminine, the mauve leggings from Lulu are STUNNING (and their luxtreme fabric is my FAVORITE for workouts).

Pink on your feet is super fun too when you need a touch of brightness – one of my Fit4Mom coaches has these sneaks that I’ve been swooning over for a few weeks (well since I realized I needed new sneakers – I’ll probably get these in navy though since they fit with my workout wardrobe better ;). These mules are pretty for the office with a nice feminine touch as well. Really you can never turn down a pair of mules with a bow…in any color.

Finally, I’m not one for bright nail colors, you’ll often find me with nude or lavender/greyish on my nails – when they’re actually painted that is – but this light pink from Essie “Eternal Optimist” is super pretty and non-offensive for those who can’t stand bright or super dark colors.

Are you thinking pink? 

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Currently | February

Happy February friends! It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for to share what I’m currently up to!

finishing | Setting up and launching my new video podcast, you’ll see a preview of it later this week/early next week and then I’ll be setting up my first couple of guest hosts. It’s going to revolve around issues surrounding working parents, work-life balance, and other issues that affect moms (mental health, self-care, fitness, home life, gripes, etc…) I’m really excited about all this and more excited to share it with you all 🙂 Similarly, if you’re interested in being a guest, let me know via comment or email!

subscribing | to She Podcasts. I’m launching a video podcast later this month, and I’m soaking up all the knowledge, so I’m super jazzed to dive into this one.

wishlisting | All the Target shoes. Seriously. I’m sharing my top 5 picks later this week so be on the lookout. I’m also lusting for some new workout gear – specifically these sweatshirts, these crops, and these two tank tops. I’m waiting until I see Gap’s next big sale, but those are a big part of my wishlist right meow.

watching | I’ve been LOVING Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime which is the “binge-worthy” show we’ve been into. Though I haven’t watched anything since This is Us after the Super Bowl. Time to play catch up!

hearting | Fit4Mom Severn. I became an ambassador this week and I can not go on about how much i big fat puffy heart this community and my Body Back classes. So yeah, hearting the Fit4Mom community biggggg time.

As always, I’m linking up with Anne In Residence so be sure to pop over to see all the other fantastic bloggers participating!

What are YOU currently up to? 

 

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OOTD: Bell Sleeves & the Winter Blues

I haven’t done an outfit post lately but man, winter is tough y’all! Like – 7:15a the sun comes up and is when I try to leave my house at (note: try). Until the past couple of weeks, it would be dark when I got up and left, and dark when I left the office. Winter is the pits yo.

But slowly, over the past few weeks, the sun’s been out by the time I leave between 4:30 and 5 pm. The hints of orange and blue over the river peek in through the bathroom windows as I’m getting ready, and signs that spring is a mere 54 days away makes my heart dance with joy.

I haven’t done much shopping but when this top came back in stock, I had to grab it – on clearance and 50% off?! Heck yeah!

Kind of boring with the black pants but what can I say, I’m a little basic when it comes to my work wardrobe.  The top itself is a little outside my comfort zone – I wanted the plaid one initially because [insert heart eye emoji here] but really, I sometimes/often associate plaid with Christmas and we’re past that. So red it was! The bell sleeves are cute without being over the top, and the color is a nice pop. Plus it’ll be really pretty in the fall when it’s too warm for a jacket but not warm enough for short sleeves.

 

[Top: J.Crew Factory | Pants: Stitch Fix (similar, similar) | Shoes: J.Crew Factory | Necklace: Nordstrom (similar) ]

 

This post uses affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog! 

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Review: ArmourBox by Under Armour

A few weeks ago, a girl in my MRTT group posted a picture of her ArmourBox on Facebook. Immediately, I wanted to try it out. I’ve had mixed experiences with subscription boxes – I’m looking at you StitchFix, but given my love of Athleisure wear and Under Armour running gear… I figured it’d be worth a try.

There’s no risk, no styling fee, you pay for what you keep and if you keep the whole box (I had six items) you get 20% off everything. You can also exchange items for different sizes AND colors. Not to compare to Stitch Fix really, but every time I’ve tried to exchange SF pieces, they’re always sold out – I was delighted that I had options with Under Armour and the prices? Weren’t really that terrible.

Be sure to check out the unboxing video on my Facebook page that Adam and I did. We shared our first impressions of our boxes and contemplated on what we’d keep.

under armour armourbox

{tank | 1/2 zip | Jog bra | sneakers | Leggings | Socks }

Here are my thoughts about what was in my box…

under armour running gear

Women’s Cold Gear 1/2 Zip $65

Ehhhh the style was fine. I have one (Albeit a little thinner) from Old Navy that does the trick as a top layer in cold weather that was about a third of the price. In my box it was black, but I could have traded for burgundy, navy or grey if I had wanted. I just didn’t love the flashy design under the arms.

Women’s Accela-bolt leggings – $45

The fit was good on these and they felt really good.  But the neon… I wasn’t feeling the neon. They did have a black and white version but were out of my size. Wamp wamp wamp.

UA Tech Victory Tank – $20

The price was certainly right with this one, but as you can see it was a bit sheer (yes, I could have exchanged the color) but it just… felt thin. I don’t really like my tanks fitted, in fact I’ve gotten rid of most of the tanks that I had that were fitted – I have a few for when I bike in the summertime, but generally I wear looser tanks like these from Old Navy which are my current favorites or these from Under Armour.

Armour Eclipse High – Zip Sports Bra – $60

It fit just right. But super high impact bras terrify me. The front zip was fine, but I dunno. I’m super fickle about jog bras. This just wasn’t right for me.

Under armour socks sneakers

SpeedForm Slingshot Sneakers – $120

I wanted to love these sneakers but I like a bit more cushioning. They had a low heel-toe drop, which I don’t mind but they felt narrow for a running shoe, and $120 is a bit out of my budge at the moment. The tongue on the sneaker was a little odd and the shoe just felt like it didn’t have the type of stretch that I generally like in my sneakers.

UA Big Logo no show socks 6-pack – $20

If I needed socks, I would have grabbed these. Buuutt I don’t. That being said, I DEFINITELY recommend UA socks if you’re in the market for a solid athletic sock. $20 for a six-pack of high quality running/workout socks is not a bad deal.

Once you send it back (you have a week to try everything out), you have the opportunity to give your stylist feedback on what you loved and didn’t. I mentioned I wanted to see more variety – running isn’t the only sport i do and I really love pieces that are multi-functional, less fitted. I don’t need sneakers or socks, so really, i would have loved a pair of gym/studio leggings/top and a running top/bottom set. But, thats feedback i gave.

Want to try it out? Check out the details and sign up here!

{FTC disclosure: All opinions here are my own and ArmourBox was purchased on my own accord and is not sponsored by Under Armour in any way. However, this post does contain affiliate links, thanks for supporting my little blog here 🙂 }

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How to Affect Change in Your Workplace:

I am what many would call an “old millennial.” But millennials sometimes get a bad rap. They’re whiny, entitled, and  demand many things at work. Some of those being frivolous things others LESS frivolous. We want companies with modern benefits – meaning flexibility for our families, or to work when we best work (want to get to work at 7a? Go for it. Want to work until 8p and get in at noon? Sure.), companies that understand the needs of families not just in flexibility but are being leaders in benefits for new parents, and we want companies with defined core values. But, while many see these changes in office cultures come down from executives,  my question was how do you impact that change in the workplace if you’re not in a leadership role? How do you help create a culture of positivity if you’re not a manager?

Culture in the workplace, as many seasoned millennials know, is about more than just bean bag chairs and happy hours. Culture is created also by defined core values, feeling valued and respected by leadership in your company and through managers who are willing to coach and build leaders. I’m lucky to be in a spot where I truly enjoy my job and am passionate about the product we have.

While no job is perfect and any company you work for will likely have room for improvement, if you’re staying true to your own passions and values, that’s when I’ve found you have the biggest opportunity to become a leader and creating a work environment that keeps you getting out of bed in the morning and harbors a team environment that anyone would want to be a part of. Positivity breeds positivity from the team, so sticking it to the negative nancies in the world, is just one challenge that many companies face when creating a culture that people want to be a part of.

I had the pleasure last week of chatting about creating a culture when you’re not in a leadership role with the fine ladies of MarketHer from IMPACT Branding & Design and dealing with negativity in the workplace. You can see the whole discussion:

 

Some of my key takeaways on how to be a leader in creating a culture when you’re not necessarily in a leadership role:

  1. Be the positive example

    Seriously, no one likes a negative Nancy. Keep your attitude positive. Remind yourself of the passion YOU have for the work and be that positivity that YOU want to see. Even on the tough days, remind yourself that this too shall pass and those tough days are seasons – letting those tough days get the best of you are only going to

  2. Curb the gossip

    Negativity breeds negativity and gossip is a huge negativity monger. Stay away from the gossip and don’t feed into it. Rather than gossiping over lunch, find out what you have in common with  your colleagues and talk about things other than work.

  3. Lean on HR

    I read this Fast Company article on the flaws of Uber and their toxic culture, which many of us are well versed in given their presence in the news. When HR doesn’t respect or empower employees it’s like a pillar of any potential company culture is already flawed. Since we brought our HR Director into my company, our culture has been hugely impacted for the better. She’s done a fantastic job at really helping employees feel like they’re heard when they have concerns and she’s a great bridge between management and the rest of us.

  4. Boost morale

    I’m not talking about just happy hours and team building, but general communication, and general goal setting. This year we sat down with our managers and mine has been fantastic about supporting my goals and challenging me to be better. It’s truly empowering to feel like you’re supported by management wheras, I’ve had positions where that was not necessarily the case. On the flip side, if management sits behind closed door meetings, brushes suggestions for the company off and it’s just business as usual with the “management” versus everyone else attitude, I bet morale will be low and culture will just be a thing everyone talks about. I’ve experienced both sides of this and it’s really can’t express how important it is for management to communicate with the rest of the company. Transparency goes a long ways with improving morale and creating a positive culture.

  5. Show your team you value them

    Even if you’re not a manager, let your teammates know you value their work, their expertise, and their support during tough times. It helps to build that team morale and feeding that positivity into your team. A little team love goes long ways. If you’re not a manager, you probably don’t have much say into salary but I can tell you, feeling like your experience is valued through a fair salary goes a LONG ways to being valued in your company. Vouch for your colleagues who might be working for a promotion, support their goals and ambitions. You don’t have to be a manager to really help your team feel like they’re doing amazing things and are valued.

What do you value in a company culture?

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Lessons from Body Back: How I stay Motivated

So I’m over a quarter of the way done with round 4 of Body Back. Granted, Round 3 was a mini session over the holidays, but this will put me at three, full 8-week sessions and 1 four week session- 28 weeks, 56 insane HIIT workouts that have made me stronger than I’ve ever been.

The other day I saw my coach share a post of mine on the Fit4Mom Severn board and asked “how do you maintain motivation through four sessions? Any tips?” 

I had to think about it because while there are lessons I’ve learned, I can’t pinpoint exactly what’s kept me MOTIVATED perse. I mean, goals. The community those are really the two biggest things that keep me going back for more, but here are four lessons and facts that have kept me motivated and goal-focused.

  1. You are stronger than you know.

    Hand-stand pushups? Check. 9-minute mile? Check. One legged pushup. Check. When I started Body Back on that hot day back in June, I did 3 pushups. Maybe 5 situps? We switched the minute of burpees for a 1-mile run (9:14! My fastest mile since before Little man!) this round, but previous rounds – burpees have been my nemesis BUT burpees with a chattarunga pushup? Ain’t no thang.  If you don’t test your body, you’re not going to get stronger. Push your own limits, you’ll be surprised what your body can do. When I feel unmotivated, I find something to focus on – something I want to test, limits I think I can bust past. Keep testing yourself. Every week, every day. Find something new.

  2. It takes a damn village

    October was a pretty stressful month for me – work was crazy busy and we were beginning to feel the pinch of Adam’s military ETS. But man, these mama’s lifted me up. They pushed me. On those nights when I just wanted to stay at home and not shuffle across town, this village kept me motivated.

    It’s really hard for me when I’m not focused on specific goals – which mind you, I wasn’t super focused round 2 and mini round. But now? I’m focused. I have big goals. My village keeps me accountable and they keep me driven to succeed. I’m pretty competitive by nature, but having that accountability to show up and leave it all out there, is pretty fierce to keep me motivated and accountable.

  3. Be specific about your goals

    My coach said to me as I embarked on round 4, that she was going to challenge my goals. But then, my goals were super specific and she was really excited about them. I don’t think I’ve been as specific as I’ve been this round – I want a sub 30 minute 5k, I want a sub 2 hour Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April and I want to be under 150 lbs by my 35th birthday in April, because strong or not, and whether we tell ourselves the number on the scale matters or doesn’t – to some it does. To me it does. I want to be a healthy weight for my height and I’m closer than I was in June, but I’m not as close as I’d like to be (roughly 4 pounds away to be exact from this shorter term goal. Longer term I’m about 20 lbs away from where I’d LIKE to be). But knowing I have specific goals has kept me focused, I upped my running to 2-3 days, and while I have not been 100% to plan, I’ve been closer to 95% which is better than the 80/20 I was doing. So keep those goals SMART – when they’re not, focused and specific, I promise you’re going to have a hard time staying motivated (that was me, round 2 in the fall – it was a tough few months for me though).

  4. It’s Your Money

    Homies, Body Back Transformations is NOT the cheapest program in the world, but it is worth every penny. You pay for the meal plan – stick to it. You pay for the coaching, lean on them. The Facebook group? Use it to hold yourself accountable. But seriously – it’s an investment. If you don’t lean on the recipes, the coaching, the group and the workouts – both class and at home – you’re not going to see the results you want. Knowing that I paid for this ish, keeps me motivated and accountable. The fact that I did NOT gain weight over the holidays I fully attribute to that 4-week mini session. #accountabilityyo

Fitness goals are tough friends. Running goals are tough. Setting personal goals for YOURSELF as a working mom is tougher. Taking time for yourself is really hard, but be the example for your LO’s friends. Be. The. Example. That is one of the things I have loved most about Body Back is that it’s for moms, by moms. It forces us to take time for us, with an emphasis on self-care – like they say “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Truer words have never been spoken, friends.

I remind myself that every Tuesday and Thursday when i go to class and E asks if I’m going to “mommy gym” or every saturday when he sees me get up at the crack of dawn to run with my MRTT group that I am being an example to him of healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle. Goals aside, wanting to be that example for kiddos, is motivation enough.

What keeps YOU motivated mamas?

 

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Bad Shopping Habits to Fix in 2018

Hi, I’m Heidi and I have a shopping problem.

It’s gotten better in recent years – of course, we’re spending a lot of money on all of Little Man’s various therapies and of course daycare so my shopping budget has gone down. But I still find ways to find a great LOFT or J.Crew Factory sale that I just can’t not buy something from. No Mas!

This year, I’m committed to paying off debt and a large part of that means stopping some of my bad shopping habits (it also means earning more money but that’s a topic for another day). Seriously, I’ve been a habitual shopper for many years (thus my foray into style blogging – after reading so many fantastic, and relatable, style blogs for so many years but with goals to pay off debts, it’s time to crack the whip on bad shopping habits of the past.

bad shopping habits

Stop buying things just because you see it on a blog

I love reading style blogs and will often buy things that I see that look cute on others buuutttt then I get it, and while I love it, it might hang in my closet or just not look as good on me. I want to stop being so quick to those impulse buys and start holding back on what I purchase but, fun fact: we’re all called influencers for a reason and those homegirls got my number. 

If it doesn’t fit, return it.

See above. Rather than letting unworn clothes sit in my closet for a year before they get resold or donated, returning within the 2-4 week return window that most stores have. There’s really no reason to be holding onto pieces in my closet that I do not absolutely 200% love.

Stop using retail as therapy

When I was in college, retail was ABSOLUTELY therapy for me. Bad day? Go stroll down Newbury Street. Hungover? Brunch at the Pru. No class on Wednesday afternoon? Go shopping at Cambridgeside. Granted, while those time-wasting habits are gone,  I am still the queen of finding good prices (it’s not like I was raking in dough and most/all of my credit card debt came on after college when I got my first credit card) but I would buy cheap pieces that would fall apart after a few wears, or pieces that were good for a Friday night out but not necessarily office friendly. Nowadays, while I’m less likely to use retail as therapy, after a bad day at work there’s still nothing I love more than to pop into Target or Old Navy or Arundel Mills on my way home and peruse the racks. That’s gotta stop. Like…yesterday.

Invest in quality pieces

See above. I want quality pieces that are not only multi-purpose (i.e. great for weekends AND the office) – it’s not like I’m strutting around in crop tops here, so a solid sweater from Nordstrom that can be paired with a skirt or a nice pair of work pants is a win in my book. Stop buying cheap-o handbags that fall apart after a season (especially given how much ish I put my tote and handbags through), but invest in one or two solid bags for weekend and work. Those inexpensive Old Navy jeans are still solid (seriously, my favorite budget pants), but make sure that the blouses you’re pairing with them aren’t from Forever21 – you’re too old for that.

I’m going to hold myself accountable here,  I’ll share what (if anything) I bought/returned each month and i will refrain… from buying the same pieces in multiple colors. Unless I know for SURE that I will wear it. A number of my favorite bloggers do this in various ways and I want to hold myself to this resolution – besides what doesn’t fit one style blogger and looks like a giant sack, might be the best thing someone else has tried on all year! Right?!

 

What are your shopping tendencies? Any bad habits you’re looking to break in the year ahead?

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Currently Craving: Fitness Gear

This week I started round 3 (and a half since the mini session over the holidays) of Body Back with my Fit4Mom Severn gang. So of course, I’m looking to add more workout gear into my closet – not that I need ANY MORE workout tank tops or leggings. But well, my usual digs are getting tired. 

I don’t REALLY have the budget for this gear, BUT it is ALWAYS fun to lust over new workout digs right? So instead of hitting the purchase button, I’ll share with all y’all 😉 Here’s what fitness gear I’m currently craving….

Yoga Mat – Manduka is one of the gold standards of yoga mats – even though I’m not practicing as much, my yoga mat is roughly 7 years old and could certainly use an upgrade this year.

Criss Cross Sweatshirt – I have this in white and it’s by far one of my favorite weekend lounging pieces and a great to-fro piece. Super soft, super comfy.

Kate Spade Tank – KS announced their new athleisure line this week – and it is as pretty, girly and all the things a fitness line should be for the girliest of girly girls. Seriously, if you love scalloped edges and fun colors (and/or black and white) You’ll love this line. While I doubt I’ll be able to justify $78 for a workout tank, it’s still nice to crave it right? 😉

Old Navy Tulip Hem Tank – Speaking of tank tops – i have three of these. They’re super comfortable, light weight and great for my HIIT workouts. If you’re looking for cute workout tanks fit for any budget, check out the old navy ones – they hold up super well!

New Balance for J. Crew leggings – So I pretty much, with the exception of winter running because…cold, only work out in crops. Why? At a petite 5’1″ most crops are practically leggings on me anyhow. These JCrew leggings bring out the scalloped hems at the cropped length – perfect for any petite gal. Also fun fact: The New Balance x J.Crew line at J. Crew factory is currently BOGO with code FREEGEAR.

Amazon Basics Hand Weights – The only weights I have at home are measly 5 pounders. I currently work out with 15’s mostly. Time for an upgrade (a la Beyonce right?!) and these are a great price!

New Balance Sneakers – I need to upgrade my Nike’s and though these are running sneakers, I think they’d do nicely for HIIT training. I mean, not that I would ever buy sneakers for how they look (Fun fact: I did this for marathon #1 when I wanted to wear Nike’s that had the Nike pod thing in them. Bad idea.)

 

What are YOU currently craving?

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Only One Heidi! 

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Ten Ways to Practice Self-Care

Last night at my Body Back session, when I was chatting with one of my coaches, she reminded me to practice self-care. I KILLED it with our assessment and am really proud of how well I did – but the one thing I have been struggling with is self-care.

Hubs has been sick. Managing our finances has been…tough. And, yesterday we had a long 5+ hour evaluation at Kennedy Krieger for little man. Needless to say, stress is my middle name lately.

Each week our coaches are suggestion focus areas, which could be anything from “drinking more water” or “don’t forget your snacks.” This week, my coach’s suggestion for me was #selfcare. Which admittedly, hasn’t been my strong suit over the past two months.

I actually had to do a little brainstorming here – and thought about my favorite ways but also looked up some new ways because, well, like most working (and non-working) moms, self-care isn’t always my forte.

Here are ten ways to practice self-care that don’t take a lot of money, or effort, and depending on where you live, are also seasonally appropriate.

 

  1. Get lost in a good book under a cozy blanket.
  2. Get a mani-pedi.
  3. Unplug/turn off your phone.
  4. Take a relaxing bubble bath
  5. Do something creative for an hour (I’ve recently started hand lettering and bullet journaling which is super fun for me)
  6. Go to a yoga class
  7. Meditate
  8. Take yourself on an afternoon date
  9. Diffuse some essential oils
  10. Declutter your workplace/home office.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do for myself over the next week, but whatever it is, it’ll be for just me, not for hubs, or little man. It’ll be an hour for me to be selfish. We as mamas give so much to everyone around us, and so often forget about ourselves. So take that hour mama. I will. We deserve it.

How do you practice self-care? 

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