Single Mom Defined is determined to help single moms love themselves. That’s why we created the Single Mom Self-Care Challenge. As a mom, we take care of everyone and everything before we take care of ourselves. We pour out our energy, attention, love, and even money. At the end of the day, we’re often empty. But if you think about it, we wouldn’t go without charging our batteries, so why do we drain ourselves?

Single mom defined wellness retreat.

Self-Care Beyond The Spa Days

I used to put off self-care because I didn’t have the time or money to invest in what I thought was a luxury. Spa appointments, exotic vacations, personal trainers, and nutritionists. Now, I view self-care through a more holistic lens.  Self-care is such an all-encompassing term, and the idea that you have to have it all together with your diet, exercise, mom life, work life, and spiritual life makes it hard to know where to get started!   

Self-care doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be a five-minute meditation in the morning, a walk around your office building at lunch, or a bubble bath at bedtime. We recently hosted the Single Mom Defined Wellness Retreat with Allegheny Health Network’s First Steps and Beyond initiative to help moms fit self-care and, more importantly, self-love into their daily lives. We invited moms in our community to come fellowship with us to rest and recharge. 

Do One Thing

We learned a lot from each other and compiled a simple list of ideas to challenge you to do ONE thing to nurture your well-being each day. The idea is to tackle one self-care strategy at a time. By incorporating a little something into your day, you experience peace and joy more often. I want you to join me in making self-care a part of your routine. Make taking care of yourself is as integrated into your lifestyle as taking care of your children. 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will have to close the bedroom door and put up a Do Not Disturb sign so your kids know it is “Mama Time,” and you are intentionally relaxing and resetting. But the Single Mom Defined Self-Care Challenge will help you remember to maintain your peace even when you don’t have much time alone.  Here are a few of our favorite easy and inexpensive ways to nurture your well-being. 

Single mom self-care challenge calendar.

Single Mom Self-Care Challenge

Have a Mindful Morning

The way you start your day has a profound effect on how the rest of your day flows. I like to have a mindful morning routine that includes meditating before I check texts, emails, or social media messages. I invite you to create a morning routine that best energizes you for your day. You could meditate, journal, stretch, exercise, or eat a healthy breakfast without technology. Whatever helps you to find ease before the craziness of the day begins! 

Remember to Breathe

As single moms, we’re often so busy moving through our to-do lists that we forget to stop and breathe mindfully. We are constantly breathing because we are alive, but we may not always realize that we can calm our bodies and minds by breathing purposefully.  

During our Single Mom Retreat, Syreeta, a doula, and Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge owner, taught our mamas this free, easy exercise to ease anxiety and create calm. It can be a powerful practice anytime you feel tension rising or you’re experiencing overwhelm in your spirit and body. Inhale compassion and forgiveness. Exhale judgment and self-doubt. 

Destresser Breath

Place your hands on your stomach to remind you to fill up your entire diaphragm, not just your lungs. 

Take a deep, slow breath. Inhale through your nose for four seconds–Inhale, 2, 3, 4. 

Then, extend the exhale for six seconds through your mouth. Exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 

This deep, rhythmic breathing reduces tension and increases oxygen flow. Use it anytime you want to quiet your mind and relieve stress. 

Forgive and Let Go

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful gifts we can give to ourselves. It doesn’t mean you’ll forget the hurtful things that have happened to you, but it will allow you the freedom to move forward with your life in a healthy way. Forgiveness will allow you to grow as a mother and a potential partner to anyone you might date. This was especially true for me. As soon as I forgave my daughter’s father for the ways he had hurt me in the past, I could move into a season of grace that helped us be much better co-parents to our daughter. It allowed me to push past the pain to see the blessing on the other side. I began dating more naturally and not forcedly because I was no longer trying to prove that other men wanted me and that I was worthy of love. 

Wellness Retreat Wellness Retreat

During our Single Mom Defined Wellness Retreat, our moms participated in a Kintsugi-inspired art activity to help visualize this concept in real life. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, making the repaired items even more valuable than before. This process encourages us to see the beauty in brokenness.

After moms completed the Kintsugi-inspired activity, they took a piece of the broken pottery and headed in small groups to the labyrinth on the event property. The pieces they brought represented what they wanted to let go of (hurt, pain, regret, shame, etc.). After a meditation to free them from the past, they released what kept them from being fully present by leaving the shattered piece in the center. We wanted them to replace the thing holding them back with something that would ground them in the present or give them hope for the future. So they chose a river stone and painted their new, hopeful word on it. River stones encourage you to go with the flow rather than resist change or evolution, making them a symbolic way to end this activity. 

The most beautiful part of this exercise was seeing how we can sometimes feel shattered, broken, or imperfect, but we can begin to heal when we pick up the pieces with compassion and a different perspective.

Enjoy a Moment of Stillness 

Happiness is something all of us moms long to have for ourselves, our children, our family, and our friends. One way to help bring more joy and happiness into your life is to become still, turn inward, and envision what that joy can look like. 

So close your eyes. Picture an image of yourself and repeat this loving-kindness meditation a few times:

“May I be happy? May I be well? May I be safe? May I be peaceful and at ease.” 

Next, bring to mind a friend or someone in your life who has deeply cared for you, and repeat two times: 

“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”

Now bring to mind a group, like the women in your family or your close friend circle. Repeat two times: 

“May we be happy.  May we be well. May we be safe. May we be peaceful and at ease.”

Lastly, think of someone that you don’t like. Perhaps it’s someone you need to forgive. Now picture that person and repeat two times:

“May they be happy. May they be well. May they be safe. May they be peaceful and at ease.”

This act of loving kindness is a way to transform regret, shame, or any other negative emotion into forgiveness and freedom. It allows you to be compassionate towards yourself and others. The moms at our retreat loved having a safe space to practice this loving-kindness meditation. One mom who attended said:

“I am thankful for the safe space environment. I was able to let go of past pains and hurts and do it in a room where I didn’t feel judged.” – Jessica R.

If meditation isn’t your thing,  you can still create moments of stillness and rest for yourself. Create a place in your home where only restful activities are allowed. Turn off your devices. Listen to relaxing music. Diffuse essential oils.  And lean into your version of peace. 

Walk It Out

Walking for 30 minutes each day is a huge mood booster! It’s easy to pump your heart and boost your endorphins during the day. Whether you get up in the morning and walk before work and school begin, take a quick stroll as a brain break in the middle of the work day, or walk with your kids after dinner, take the time to move your body in nature. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the sounds of the wind rustling through the trees. Look up at the sky and take in the clouds. Use all your senses to refresh during this simple activity that gives all the muscles in your body a good stretch. 

As a single mom, it can be hard to take time to be alone, but I encourage you to put YOU first! Find intentional ways to remind yourself to practice loving kindness and pour into your own cup, not just your children’s. We asked our moms what the best parts of the retreat were for them and how they could incorporate what they learned into their everyday routines going forward. What we learned was that our moms left the retreat feeling:

  • Thankful
  • Lighter
  • Inspired
  • Relaxed
  • Reflective
  • Powerful 
  • Motivated

Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel this way every single day? With our Self-Care Challenge as a jump-start, you CAN. Starting today, enhance your physical and emotional health from the comfort of your home while having the support of our Single Mom Defined Community. Download our Self-Care Challenge Checklist filled with accessible and no-cost self-love activities. Use a daily mood tracker alongside the checklist, and let’s increase our overall wellness together. 

Which one of these activities would you be willing to try first?