The Importance of Self-Care for Moms and Travelers

I’m a big advocate for self-care. I think it’s essential for being your best self and staying physically and mentally healthy. In case you don’t know what self- care is, PsychCentral says it’s “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” They go on to say “Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.” Self care is something that refuels us. It should be something we enjoy doing and get pleasure from.

Before I became a mom I needed self-care to keep myself in a positive mindset and from burning out. Especially while traveling, I often felt out of my comfort zone (as you should) and if I didn’t take the time to take care of myself, I would get in an awful funk and waste days of my adventures feeling blah. Now that I’m a mom I need self-care possibly even more. I give so much of myself to my little guy (as you should) that I burn out and get to the point where I’m not my best self in any facet of my life.

While I am a big believer in self-care, I don’t do so well at fitting it into my schedule. When I do something, I start out very strong. I put my whole self into it. This can be a good thing but after a few weeks I am unable to keep going at that pace. Whether it’s travel, starting a big writing project, or being a mom I neglect most other things in life to devote myself to whatever I’m doing. I don’t have any balance and it ends up hurting me and whatever it is I’m invested in.

I really want to get back into it and I thought I’d put my research and new knowledge into a post to pass along the wealth and keep someone else from making the same mistakes I’ve made when it comes to my mental health.

The Importance of Self- Care:

  1. Prevents “overload burnout”
  2. Reduces the negative effects of stress
  3. Helps you refocus

Where to Start:

  1. Stick to the basics. Try to keep a routine and get a rhythm of these activities going regularly. Then you can avoid the burnout and needing to restart altogether.
  2. Actively plan something. A Self-care routine can’t be something that just falls into your lap. You need to make a point of doing it. Put it on the schedule and stick to it.
  3. Be aware. Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Tell yourself you need this time to feel your best and remember this is fun and important to you. Even a self-care activity can be counterproductive if you don’t have the right mindset.
Importance of Self-Care

Important Basics Everyone Should Follow:

  1. Drink plenty of water and nutritious and balanced food. This sounds pretty easy but it’s usually not. Whether you’re a mom or traveling (or both!) it’s easy to get sucked into a lifestyle that’s not very healthy. Being a mom you might forget to drink enough water or actually eat a good meal, instead snacking off of half-eaten plates or just missing a meal altogether. While traveling, you might find yourself indulging in too many sweets or alcohol and not stay balanced like you might at home. Eating and drinking right is the most basic way to take care of yourself, as hard as it might be.
  2. Give yourself a day to do nothing. Even when you’re traveling, you can’t be going nonstop. Your body and mind need a day to relax and refuel before you begin again. If you’re at home, you can try to have someone else watch the kids or just have a lazy day with them. It doesn’t matter if you get nothing done for one day. You’ll be better prepared to tackle the day tomorrow.
  3. Take time to be outside. No matter where you are, being outside is good for you. (I mean, not if it’s 115 degrees or something) But being outside has so many mental and physical benefits.  The physical effects are obvious in that you’re most likely getting in some exercise while being outside. But the mental effects are even more impressive. In the Stanford study, they saw that those in nature had a less active subgenual prefrontal cortex- or the region of the brain that is active during repetitive thoughts and negative emotions. The study also shows that being in nature dampened anxiety.
  4. Breathe. This sounds so stupid. You’re like, “yeah, thanks, I normally forget to breath unless Mackenzie tells me to.” But I’m serious. When I start feeling the anxiety building I take a few big, deep breaths. Almost instantly I feel better. After this I realize how shallowly I had been breathing and how much that was impacting my already stressed mood. For my more anxious times, I use the Relax Lite App on my phone. It’s free and it helps me so much. It keeps me from really getting anxious and almost instantly releases the tension.
  5. Journal. My favorite form of self-care, both on the road and at home, is journaling. I find that journaling helps me because it’s very reflective, allowing me to get inside my own mind and clear out some of the cobwebs and possibly deal with issues that seem to be creeping up on me. On the other hand, journaling forces me to look outside of myself. I want to remember the places I’ve been visiting, or I want to remember those cute little moments with my son. Journalling takes me outside myself to really be in the moment. I am forced to get out of my own head for at least a little while.
Importance of Self-Care

Self Care Ideas:

  1. Read a book
  2. Take a bath
  3. Put on makeup
  4. Meditate
  5. Wander around back roads
  6. Unplug from social media
  7. Visit a museum
  8. Facetime or meet up with a friend
  9. Go to the movies

These are just a few self-care ideas. You can come up with anything that makes you feel good, relaxed, and inspired. Whether you’re traveling or at home, the idea is still the same. Keep to a routine and don’t neglect your needs because of the situation you’re in.

Other Self-Care Resources

  • Gale from Wanderlust writes a Guide to Self-Care on the Road including her self-care packing list.
  • On the Tortuga Backpack’s blog Emily writes a packing list for Self-Care while Traveling.  I can for sure get behind those Thick Wool Socks and Noise Cancelling Headphones.
  • Jennifer from Simply + Fiercely writes a how-to guide to self-care on the road.
  • On Working Mother, Renee tells her favorite self-care practices as a mom 
  • Suzi at Start a Mom Blog gives Ways to Practice self-care as a busy mom- without feeling guilty. 

Need More Help?

Becky from Mommy Takes 5 wrote an ebook about self-care called the Self-Care Journey. The e-book, which costs $20, includes information on self-care as well as a great workbook to help you get started even when you feel lost.

She goes through many Self-Care ideas as well as ways to find your own activities and how to implement them in your life. The second half of the book can either be printed or used as a pdf to write down your experience during this time as well as 30 days of journal-like prompts to reflect back on this journey.

Do you practice self-care? If so, what do you do?

*I received a free copy of the Self-Care Journey. This has not affected my opinion on the what I have written.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at you extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links. You can also see my full Disclosure and Terms and Conditions (you know, the real boring stuff).

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About the Author:

Hey, I’m Mackenzie, a writer, traveler, and photographer living in North Texas. Been to 65 countries solo, now taking the baby along. I blog about family travel while writing novels and binge-watching British TV.


  1. Emily August 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I love this post! I am a huge advocate for self care and think your ideas and tips are right on. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to pass this post along to my mom friends 🙂

    • Mackenzie August 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Emily! I hope these tips help and you and your friends get some much needed YOU time.

  2. Erica Q August 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    People don’t ever realize the importance of self care. Great tips!

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Erica! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Sarah August 12, 2017 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I never really thought of self care on vacation. We just got back and for the first time ever we took a day to rest and recharge. It was the best decision we made. Everyone was happier for it. Thank you for all the great ideas 🙂

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah! Yeah, I never really knew I needed to slow down and take care of myself while traveling. I thought traveling was for me. But it can take so much out of you. I’m glad you took a day to rest and are feeling better!

  4. Jenn August 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    This is such an important post! As moms, we often forget about taking care of ourselves. It’s good that you’ve suggested easy things to do!

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      I definitely agree with you! It’s so important but often overlooked!

  5. ankana silva August 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    A moms work is never over !!! Really indebted to moms out there. From the time the kids are born to taking care of them they have done so much in dedicating their lives to their kids and family. Here is wishing all the moms !!!

  6. Torche' Nash August 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    I love this post! As a mother of two, it’s always easy to forget about yourself. However, it’s so important to indulge into things you enjoy from time to time. I agree with it helping you cope with your inner-self and others around you.

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Definitely agree! I just have one, though he is still very little, so I can’t yet imagine taking care of two. You definitely need time to yourself!

  7. Stephanie August 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    I LOVE this post. I am also a big advocate for self care. I am not a parent yet…but even just being a full time teacher with an extra long commute, and a blogger I NEED to find time for self care. I love your tips, especially your section on being “aware.” Sometimes I over commit, especially if I have ANY free time. I need to get better at taking that free time and using it for “me time” or to get other things done in my life that will reduce stress later. Thanks for the inspiring and thoughtful post =)

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:36 pm - Reply

      YES! Everyone needs self-care. It just took becoming a mom for me to realize just how importance it was for my well-being. It’s definitely important to get some you-time in there to keep from burning out.

  8. Jess August 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Yes! Thank you. Not so long ago I used to get so keyed up in being busy and anxious that I would have on average one day a week feeling completely exhausted. Then I would be angry at myself for being useless or eastingva day. Now instead of beating myself up over that ‘wasted’ day I try to enjoy doingvless, slow down and fit more self caring rituals into that day. On the while I am happier and more productive on the other days now I’ve given myself a break.

    So, in short – I agree!

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Yes! Those “unproductive” days are very important for your well-being. We don’t need to feel bad!

  9. Colleen Bijl August 13, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

    When I was at home with the kids one of my self care rituals was to do my nails and a face mask. I agree it is necessary to do something just for yourself especially when you have kids.

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Yes! I love doing face masks. I need to do them more often.

  10. Shell August 13, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Self care s vital so we don’t burn out…

  11. Shell August 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Self care is definitely important so we don’t over load….

  12. Glenna August 13, 2017 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    I lobe this post! Self care is crucial and I personally think everyone should be encouraged to take 1 to 2 mental health days a year. I love this list and you are right so many of them help me feel better and regain my focus.

    • Mackenzie August 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      I agree! It’s so important for everyone and should be more acknowledged.

  13. Jules December 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    A great post. And a good reminder. Especially with all the obligations and parties and we have scheduled in the next week’s, I really need a day to do nothing at all all day long.

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