13 Realistic Ideas for Better Self Care for Work from Home Parents

Woman working from home on a laptop

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The allure of working from home can start fading pretty quickly after you start.

There’s a lot of positive things about having a home office, of course. It never gets old that I can take a quick break or grab a snack pretty much whenever.

Still, even as an introvert, I can start feeling a little restless while working from home.

I’ve worked from home since before the pandemic and I still have to remind myself to mix it up once in a while, to take a break, to take care of myself, etc.

Here are some of the things that have helped me feel better when I start feeling the edge while working from home.

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend stuff I love and would recommend to a friend.

Get a plant or two


This tip might seem overrated if you’ve read articles on how to improve your home office before, but I promise it’s worth it! If you don’t already have a couple of plants in your work area, try it out.

There have been so many studies that plants reduce stress. And for me, I just love looking at them. They add something to the ambiance and aesthetic of the room, for sure.

Curating your working environment so that you can spend time in an area that you actually enjoy being in is pretty much central to improving your experience as a work from home person, parent or not.

You’ve gotta spend a little time making it feel more like you and a little more relaxing.

Here’s 7 low-maintenance, indoor plants if you need some ideas for what type of plants to grab for your space!

If you’re not into indoor plants or have pets that will eat them, start a garden, even if it’s tiny and/or you just have a balcony. Create a little green space that you can cultivate and escape to.

Replace your go-to drink with a healthier version

Olipop is a healthier soda alternativePin
Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Obviously, the best drink in the world in terms of health is water. But most of us crave something with a little more flavor every now and then.

If you don’t have an issue with what you drink on a daily basis, you’re good to go here!

But if you do want to change your habits when it comes to beverages and you don’t feel like you’re making the healthiest decisions, these are some great alternatives to soda and other sugary drinks. (My vice was Diet DP for the LONGEST time until I finally switched to gut-friendly soda substitutes.)

  • Olipop and Poppi are two healthier, gut-friendly soda alternatives that are sweeter than sparkling water without all the added sugar. They’ve got quite a few flavors between the two brands and are relatively similar in terms of taste and cost. My favorite flavors are the fruity ones (Strawberry Vanilla Olipop and Rasberry Rose Poppi are my go-tos. They are on the pricy side for drinks, but most healthier options are, honestly. We get a case of 12 per month.
  • Aura Bora is sparkling water that tastes amazing if you aren’t into something as sweet and you enjoy botanical flavors. It’s not for everyone, but they have some really unique flavors and I haven’t tried one I didn’t like. I mean, basil berry and cactus rose? Love it. Pricing is similar to the rest on this list.
  • Sound sparkling water is one of my favs and this one might be more difficult for people who enjoy sweeter beverages. They don’t use sweeteners in their sparkling water and it’s made with tea and botanicals, so the taste isn’t that similar to a soda. Still, it’s an amazing, healthier option if you’re trying to limit sweeteners in your diet. And they are Climate Pledge Friendly, which is awesome.
  • Recess is an adaptogenic drink that was created with the idea of replacing your coffee or soda habit. They have a line with hemp in it as well as a calming, mood-boosting drink with magnesium. And they are gooooooood. They’re a bit more spendy than most soft drinks, but given the beneficial ingredients and the mood-boosting properties, I think they are worth it. You can usually grab a coupon for signing up for their email list on the site, too.
get free shipping on every order at RecessPin

Replacing sodas including diet sodas has been huge for me because I could easily knock out way too many sodas in a day if I let myself. Buying higher-quality beverages for my home makes me go through them less quickly and drink more water since I don’t want to be mainlining expensive drinks all day. That’d get difficult to fund, quickly.

I’ve also found myself having a lot less guilt about what I’m putting into my body and feeling better than I did when I had soda in my house. I’ll still drink a soda every now and then when we go out – duh!! But by not keeping it in the house, I can’t make it my go-to drink.

Make yourself take breaks when possible

Taking regular breaks from your work can definitely benefit your physical, emotional, and mental health. Studies show that taking breaks improves your productivity, too.

Some people work best by taking a short break every 25 minutes or so and some people do their best work when they can focus for a few hours at a time. Whichever type of person you are, make sure you’re fitting in breaks when you can!

Just a walk around the block or taking your kids/pets outside for 20 minutes will do the trick. Make yourself a drink. Get a healthy snack. Do some meal prep. Watch an episode of a show or a YouTube video. You deserve it and it’s a great way to avoid burnout.

It can be hard to remember to take breaks sometimes, but try to set reminders in your phone if you need them. Better self care for work from home parents can be difficult to achieve when you’re in charge of literally everything. Just do your best to pause your work and breathe every now and then.

Get a fan, humidifier, or white noise machine for your office

Make your office more comfortable for yourself by improving the ambiance. I wouldn’t feel great with humid air in my office, but I have a couple of friends who can’t live without their humidifier!

I love the sound of a fan in the background while I’m working and I feel a lot more comfortable with the fan on since I hate stagnant air and I get hot easily. It sounds simple, but making sure your office is your ideal environment is a game-changer when it comes to feeling good while you work.

Declutter your space

If you’ve been holding out on getting rid of clutter in your office or work area, take out your phone or planner right now and schedule a time to commit to it!

Give yourself at least a couple of hours (or set aside 30-minute chunks here and there throughout a week if that works better) and get that ish done.

Having a bunch of random piles of stuff around your work area is one of the best ways to make yourself feel overwhelmed before you even start your workday. I have a pile I need to sort out right now, actually!

Enforce boundaries at work


Work-life balance can sometimes seem like a myth. And maybe, for those of us who work, have kids/pets, have a business, try to eat healthily or work out, and who have a social life (or try to) maybe it is a myth. 🤷‍♀️

But there’s a few things you can do to work toward better work-life balance, which is definitely self-care.

One of those things is to establish and stick to your boundaries. Don’t feel like you have to say yes to extra work or to spending time off the clock on work-related activities. It might sound obvious, but lots of us are pretty quick to say “yes” to random stuff our bosses, clients, and coworkers ask of us.

Make sure you close your laptop when your office hours are over and that your coworkers or clients are aware of when you can be expected to respond to them. Don’t be tempted to overwork yourself on a regular basis, because that’s a one-way ticket to burnout city. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Invest in unlimited foot massages or a new skincare product

Honestly, a high-quality foot massager should be part of an employee onboarding package for literally any job. Whether you work at a desk or not, everyone could use one of these babies.

They’re kind of pricy, but if your feet are always aching and you’re in the market for a contraption to help fix that, this cloud foot massager is exactly what you need. It works on your calves, too! Sometimes there’s a coupon available for it, so definitely add it to your watch list if you think you might need one.

Or grab that fancy skincare mask or serum you’ve had your eye on!

Make time for hobbies (even if it’s literally 10 minutes per day)

You probably feel like you have negative time in your day, but it’s so incredibly important for you to make time for yourself.

Taking breaks is beneficial to your productivity, anyway. It’s been studied!

I have a whole article on why you should make time for hobbies as a parent, but the long story short is that enjoying your life is important. And showing your kids that you prioritize some fun during your day is healthy and helpful to them.

Kids are likely to model the behavior that they see or completely go in the opposite direction. If you never allow a moment for yourself, they will either be the same way and feel guilty when they take a break or they might develop some negative feelings about hard work.

Remove clutter from you and your family’s wardrobe


Every since I became a parent, laundry has become the bane of my existence on a regular basis. I mean… this shit is wild.

I was not prepared for the sheer number of sheets, blankets, socks, clothes, stuffed animals, towels, and other textiles that need to be washed every week. It was a battle for three years or so until I finally had enough and purged much of my family’s clothing and extra linens.

You can reduce the amount of time you spend on laundry every day or week by donating, selling, or recycling items you don’t use regularly.

Tip: Try creating a capsule wardrobe for your family members. This tip might not be for everyone, but it will simplify your life soooooo much. Developing a capsule wardrobe for each member of your family will drastically cut down on both laundry, storage space needed for clothing, and spending on clothing in general.

Here’s some ideas for what to do with clothes you’re able to purge.

  • Sell anything of value on sites like Poshmark, Mercari, eBay, Grailed, etc. (If someone buys something they are more likely to actually use it than if they got it for free!)
  • Donate them to a local thrift or charity shop.
  • Create cleaning rags or carryall bags out of cotton or terrycloth items.
  • Upcycle old clothes into unique pieces that you can sell, keep, or give away. This is also referred to as “re-fashioning”. Here’s one group of tutorials on how to re-imagine a button-down shirt.

Start working for yourself on the side (If you want to)

If your overall goal is to work for yourself rather than someone else, explore the idea of starting your own business. If (and it’s a big if) you want to! There’s nothing wrong with not wanting this, so skip to the next one if this doesn’t describe you.

If you do want to work for yourself someday, start taking steps toward that goal. Even if it’s one baby step per week. Anything toward your goals is one more step toward where you want to be. It’s worth it!

If you already know what you want to do, create a 90-day plan and hold yourself accountable to make steps toward your future business launch.

If you don’t know what kind of business you want to start, I’ve got loads of ideas for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Freelance professional

So many business ideas here. Freelancing is often a “bridge” job that people use as a middle point between where they are and where they want to be.

For example, I was doing a lot of freelance web design while I built up my blogs to where they finally became profitable.

You can freelance to make an immediate income while you’re working on a longer-term business strategy. Pick something you know or you’re interested in and start pitching potential clients and booking projects.

Copywriting, design, ghostwriting, marketing of any kind, web development, tutoring, consulting, and being a virtual assistant are some of the most common freelance jobs.

Crafting & handmade goods

Selling handmade items like jewelry, pottery, macrame, textile crafts, and other arts and goods online or locally is a viable way to start your own business. If you’ve been on TikTok and seen small businesses exploding during the Panorama, this is probably a familiar idea to you.

And it can really work! Thousands of people make their living this way. Honestly, why not you? It’s definitely worth a try. Whatever you choose to make and sell, just make sure it’s something that you love and enjoy, because it’s likely that you’ll be hearing crickets for several months before your shop begins to get noticed.

There is so much potential in handmade goods because Millenials and Gen-Z are generally more willing to shop with small businesses vs. large brands. Lots of competition, sure – but lots of demand, too! Selling your goods locally is a more sustainable way of doing business and in many areas, people actively seek out local makers to shop from.

Spend time with friends and family members who make you feel good

The people we choose to spend our time with have a huge impact on our lives. Studies have shown that spending time with positive, supportive people can lead to increased happiness and life satisfaction, while spending time with negative or toxic people can cause stress and anxiety.

So, it’s important to be intentional about the people we spend our time with. Surround yourself with friends and family members who make you feel good. These are the people who make you laugh, who support you during difficult times, and who make you feel like you can be your true self. Spend more time with these people – they’ll make your life much happier and more fulfilling.

Take the time to meet up with friends for coffee or lunch, or visit family members who live far away. These small actions can make a big difference in your overall happiness and well-being.

We all have those friends or family members who just seem to bring out the worst in us. You know the ones – they always have a negative story to share, they’re always complaining about something, and they never hesitate to put you down – maybe there’s a little passive aggression involved.

Spending time with these toxic people can be draining and leave you feeling terrible about yourself. If you’ve talked with these people and they haven’t changed, it’s so important to spend less time around them so that you aren’t needlessly stressing yourself out.

Stop listening to so much sad music, try calming music to soundscapes

Quit the Lana del Rey! (Coming from a fan.)

A big part of self-care is choosing to do things that make you happy and avoid doing things that make you stressed or anxious. One way to do this is to be mindful of the music you listen to.

Listening to calming music throughout the day can help boost your mood, whereas listening to sad music can make you feel more down. So, if you’re looking for ways to practice self-care, be sure to choose music that makes you feel good.

Search up a rainy forest or ocean waves soundscape track on YouTube to create the perfect environment or head to a site like lofi.co to mix together rain, coffee shop sounds, and jazzy lofi music.

These kids of tracks are perfect for working from home as well, since they can “transport” you to different locations and they aren’t super distracting.

Journal your thoughts and feelings

Sometimes life can feel overwhelming and it can be tough to keep track of our thoughts and feelings. That’s where journaling comes in – it’s a great way to stay aware of our state of being and stay in touch with our emotions.

Keeping a regular journal can help prevent us from disassociating, which is when we start to disconnect from our thoughts and feelings. This can happen when we’re going through a tough time or when we’re feeling overwhelmed.

Journaling is a form of self-care that can be really beneficial – it helps us to process our thoughts and feelings, and can be a really productive way to manage stress and anxiety.

So if you’re feeling disconnected or lost, why not give journaling a try? Even if you think it sounds kinda corny, it could be the self-care tool you’ve been looking for. It’s pretty helpful for me.

Skip the grocery store and opt for delivery

I want to argue a case for grocery delivery in a world that tells us we’re spoiled or anti-work for not going to the grocery store ourselves. The truth is that as technology and infrastructure improve, our quality of life has the opportunity to improve in small ways concurrently.

Getting grocery store delivery is not lazy, it’s just a time vs. money thing. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for utilizing the tech we have now to take one of the billion things you have to get done off your plate!

For my family, grocery delivery actually saves us money because we are a one-car family and often need to get groceries while my husband is working, so the ability to get our groceries delivered is one more reason we can function without another car payment and more car insurance coverage. I’m totally willing to pay for some delivery fees and any tips involved in delivery instead of buying another car.

If you’ve gotten to the point where grocery shopping is sucking up hours of your week (too easy, to be honest) then consider grocery delivery or at least pickup.

Grocery pickup at Walmart is free in most areas! Grocery delivery has a fee associated with each delivery, but with Walmart+ you can pay once per year and get unlimited grocery deliveries throughout the year without a delivery charge on each one.

My favorite option for grocery delivery is Imperfect Foods and I’ve been using them for over a year now. I like them better than options like Thrive Market because they don’t have a subscription fee and they have tons of fresh produce. eliminating the need for me to head to the Walmart app in between deliveries.

The groceries from Imperfect show up in boxes at your door and they are on track to be carbon-neutral by 2030, which is iconic. They are one of those places that try to reduce food waste by selling produce and other foods that might have a couple of blemishes on them, but I don’t get much with any visible imperfections. They’ve got plant-based options, new things every week, and lots of organic produce and pasture-raised dairy and meats. I could not recommend them more.

The best thing about Imperfect Foods aside from their genuine commitment to sustainability and a circular system is the fact that you can skip a delivery whenever you want from inside your account (no email, chat, or phone call to skip or cancel) and that there’s no subscription fee, so I’m not missing out on anything if I skip a week here and there. They also take back their non-recyclable packaging, like the bubble wrap they put on the eggs if you order those. You just set them on your porch on the day of your next delivery and they sanitize and reuse them!

Check out Imperfect Foods and get 20% off your first order using my link.

Wrapping it up

We hope you’ve found these self care ideas helpful and that they will help you recharge, refocus, and feel better. What are your go-to self care ideas? Please share them in the comments below – I would love to hear from you!

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Hey! I'm a freelance writer and a mom of three. I've been blogging for over 10 years now and def I write posts here about working from home as a parent, mindful parenting, and tips for how to develop a more sustainable home.

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