One of modern time’s greatest philosophers once said: “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”
And since Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating relationships, consider this permission to gift bae — that would be you, mama — a special little something (or multiple somethings) that’ll serve as a reminder to slow down and treat yo’self. (And not just on V-Day, but every GD day.)
From a blanket that’ll make you stress less to a planner you’ll actually want to write in, we’ve hand-picked 14 thoughtful selfie gift ideas that’ll help you to find more moments to sneak self-care into your psycho schedule. Yep, shopping yourself to serenity is possible with our pro picks — and tips from experts and real mamas. Enjoy!
1. Reduce stress while you sleep.
For those nights when all you want is some GD sleep…and then you get in bed and your anxiety is like “lol no sorry.” This eco-friendly weighted blanket uses deep pressure to mimic the feeling of a hug — helping you sleep deeply while calming anxiety and stress. “After giving birth to my daughter, I was struggling with postpartum anxiety and was not getting more than three hours of sleep a night,” says Courtney S. “The first night I used this blanket, I simply went to bed and fell asleep for the first time in months. Of course the baby still wakes up in the middle of the night, but now I am actually able to go back to bed after being up with her.” Plus, you can rest extra easy knowing the brand supports the environment (they’re carbon neutral and listed with the Ethical Brand Directory) and the materials are top-notch (the premium cotton is OEKO-TEX certified, meaning it’s free of 100 of the most harmful chemicals). Zzz.
2. Turn a sitz bath into a spa experience.
If the term “sitz bath” gives you little pangs of PTSD (whether from pregnancy hemorrhoids, postpartum recovery or something equally unpleasant), you are not alone. But now you can associate sitz baths with something a little more spa-esque. The Storq Sitz Bath Soak is a beautiful blend of organic botanicals (like calendula, lavender, yarrow and rose) that promotes tissue healing and has astringent properties — perfect for use during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. Steep it like a tea, then add it to your bath or mini tub to support healing or just help you relax for a sec. “If I somehow have the luxury of 10 extra minutes, I’ll use our Sitz Bath as a soak because it’s lovely and restorative,” says Courtney Klein, mama of two and founder of Storq. “But also just sitting in a bath is such a rare treat these days, I feel the need to make it fancy.” Candle and cold beverage optional, but encouraged.
3. Pick the perfect planner for your life, mind *and* soul.
As a writer by both profession and passion, I am *shocked* at how miserably I once failed at writing in planners and journals. But a year ago I picked up My Infinite Agenda — a hybrid that’s part planner and part journal — and I realized I just hadn’t found the right agenda yet. The brilliance behind My Infinite Agenda is the balance of straight-forward organizational stuff (monthly at-a-glance calendars, spacious sections to chart out each week) alongside daily reflection prompts, goal trackers and vision board pages all intended to help you foster gratitude, celebrate change and manifest your dreams. “I love that while I’m helping myself stay organized in my general day-to-day life, I’m also creating a keepsake diary that I can look back on to remember what filled me with joy and gratitude each day,” says me, the person writing this article who also happens to own this planner and 10/10 recommends it. (Pssst: Grab the $29 undated version if you’re starting later in the year.)
4. Smell the roses all day, every day.
Sure, a beautiful bouquet of blooms is a lovely indulgence…but just remember that you’ll also have to watch those once-fresh flowers die a slow, agonizing death as they wither into oblivion on your kitchen counter because you refuse to throw away anything that costs so much. I digress. Save yourself the sadness and get your daily dose of floral fragrance from this limited-edition natural deodorant that blends the scent of sweet rose with luxe jasmine. It is soooo good. All of Native’s deos are free of aluminum and parabens — meaning they’re better for your bod *and* the environment — and even the biggest natural deodorant skeptics will be extremely impressed with the protection level and silky smoothness of the formula. “I walked out of a disgustingly sweaty spin class and while everyone else smelled exactly as you’d expect, I was so fresh,” says Suzie W. “Will be wearing this every day.”
5. Make time for a mini massage.
“It’s so easy for me to get regular massages,” said no mom, ever. And sure, we all know the benefits: better sleep, improved circulation, less stress, better immunity, fewer toxins. But actually getting one — whether it’s finding time to see a professional or even just convincing our partner to give it their best shot for 5 minutes? Damn near impossible. Instead, stick a mini, travel-friendly massage tool in your bag and DIY your way to relaxation whenever you have a few spare minutes to kill (looking at you, out-of-control carpool line). This tiny tool is a handheld deep tissue pressure point isolation tool — making it perfect for sore spots like your neck and back (try rolling it against a wall). Use the carrying strap to attach it to your bag, and don’t forget to download the free massage guide for lots of helpful hints on technique. “Unlike the larger rollers, which usually require someone to roll them over my lower back, I can actually access the sore spots with this little guy,” explains top Amazon reviewer ILoveMyKids. Crucial.
6. Take your daily smoothie to *cosmic* nutritional levels.
Sure, your daily smoothie is packed with nutrition: You’ve got the perfect blend of protein, antioxidants and ~flavor~ down to a science. The one thing you might be missing? Adaptogenics. These plant-derived powders are a blend of super herbs and mushrooms that help build your bod’s resilience to stress (like aging, exhaustion and anxiety) and can work to restore balance in the adrenal, endocrine, nervous and immune systems. “Adaptogens work best when used in low, consistent doses — they help your body gently adapt to any chronic stress you may be dealing with — and are generally safe to take every day,” says Jessica Waller, a clinical nutritionist, mama of two and founder of WELLTRIBE, a wellness newsletter. “I like to recommend Spirit Dust or Brain Dust for clients who are dealing with constant worry, nervousness or stress (and what mom isn’t?). They’re helpful for providing more grounded energy plus a sense of calm and resilience.” Just keep in mind that certain adaptogens aren’t safe if you’re nursing or preggers, so be sure to ask your care provider before taking any supplement.
7. Lubricate your love life.
No woman should be made to feel like vaginal discomfort or decreased sexual pleasure is just a normal part of postpartum life. Sure, recovery certainly requires plenty of time and patience; but if you’re struggling with intimacy (or even just uncomfortable doing basic things like sitting or riding a bike), talk to a doc or women’s health specialist. Your treatment options could range from a quick fix (like lube!) to customized physical therapy. “When you’re postpartum, or if you are breastfeeding or pumping, hormonal shifts can cause temporary changes to your body, including vaginal dryness,” explains Dr. Samantha DuFlo, a physical therapist and owner of Indigo Physiotherapy in Baltimore, MD. “Using a great personal lubricant that is paraben- and glycerine-free can help reduce chafing, increase arousal and make returning to sex less scary.” One brand Dr. Sam recommends is Sliquid Organics, which is formulated for women’s safety and blended with certified organic extracts.
8. Throw a pretty party just because.
I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but *please* don’t ever feel guilty for ordering some quickie takeout because you burned dinner/forgot to make it/never went grocery shopping/whatever. When life happens, lean into it – and that means using an impromptu delivery night as an opportunity to elevate another average dinner into a legit family foodie celebration. “I love being a mom, but sometimes dinner rolls around and I just CANNOT,” says Hilary W., a mom of two. “So I cut myself a break, order pizza and serve it on these cutie paper goods. Everyone is happy and fed and I can enjoy the moment with my family without stressing about cooking or the dishes.” And that, friends, is what self-care is all about. (Pssst: Coterie’s gorgeous wares are also v. helpful when hosting *actual* parties and come in a variety of pretty prints and patterns.)
9. Perk up (your body *and* mind) with Pilates.
Ah, Pilates. It’s that workout that looks like it might be kind of complicated thanks to the crazy equipment and seemingly choreographed classes you see on Instagram — but in reality, it’s an extremely approachable workout that’s awesome for easing into exercise. Bonus? It’s particularly beneficial for moms, thanks to all the improvements to core strength (less back pain, plz/thx!), pelvic health (meaning it can help with issues like urinary incontinence and diastasis recti) and muscle tone (say no more). And best yet, you can find Club Pilates’ warm, inviting studios all across the country. Rates start at $25 for a single session, but don’t sleep on the discounted class packages or unlimited monthly/yearly options for more savings. Pssst: Right now, Club Pilates is offering a freebie intro class *and* waiving the sign-up fee at participating studios.
10. Express yourself with a (temporary) tattoo.
Once seen as edgy acts of rebellion, tattoos are finally getting mainstream credit as beautiful works of body art. But they’re not only about aesthetics. “Tattoos have taken on a wellness point of view,” explains Shape beauty and wellness editor Erin Reimel, who spoke with multiple women about their tattoos for the magazine’s February issue. “Tattoos can serve as talismans of inner strength and personal growth.” If you aren’t quite ready for your own ink, a temporary tatt can be just as meaningful on days when you need some extra inspiration (and they’re a great way to experiment with the idea of something more permanent). INKED by Dani offers themed starter kits (like “Inspired” and “Destination”) featuring waterproof designs all made in the U.S.A. and cruelty-free.
11. Supplement your way to a sounder snooze.
One out of every seven women reading this article is doing it at 3 A.M. when they *should* be sleeping but simply can’t shut their highly overstimulated brains down. (That is a completely made-up fact, but…honestly it’s probably pretty accurate.) If you need to reduce mental clutter, destress and fall asleep faster, try a melatonin-free supplement (aka no drowsiness) that uses botanicals like valerian root and holy basil leaf to regulate cortisol spikes during the sleep cycle. “I suggest taking MindYourMind about two hours before your head hits the pillow,” says Janna Ronert, a mom of twins and founder of Hush & Hush. As always, just remember to ask your doc before starting any supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
12. Take a brain-boosting shower.
When shower time is sparse, you need to maximize those precious minutes with a few tactics that’ll boost your beauty *and* brains. First up? Turn down the water temp. Yep, it might sound awful, but studies show that cold showers can alleviate and help prevent depression by stimulating a part of your brain called the “blue spot.” To reap the rewards, researchers suggest two to three minutes of cool 68-degree water, preceded by a five-minute gradual adaptation to that temp. And when you lather up, treat yourself to some relaxing aromatherapy: Skip the standard bar soap and snag this luxe body wash made with organic and pure plant-derived ingredients (like eucalyptus and vanilla, plus sacha niche, rahua and palo santo oils) for a fresh, earthy scent that’s very haute hippie.
13. Wear a message with meaning.
We love the idea of meaningful jewelry that can help you stay focused on a special intention, capture a memory or honor a loved one. Capsul makes it easy to design completely custom pieces (necklaces, bracelets and rings) that can be engraved with basically whatever you want: your own handwriting of a special word, roman numerals of an anniversary, or even a visual soundwave that represents a significant name or phrase. Just try not to smile all day long when you take your little one’s scribbly handwriting…but make it fashun.
14. Make it easy to practice mindfulness.
What comes to mind when you think of mindfulness? Maybe it’s sitting in silence. Maybe it’s your Calm app. Maybe it’s something you’ve never even considered trying. The practice is proven to relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and alleviate GI issues — but it doesn’t need to feel like *another* thing to add to your to-do list. Mindfulness on the Go Cards: 52 Simple Meditation Practices You Can Do Anywhere feature a fun or interesting challenge on the front of each card, while the back explains how the benefits work. “This card ‘game’ is a fantastic concept to practice mindfulness in a lighthearted yet deep way,” says Amazon reviewer Liam. For example: Use your non-dominant hand for a few ordinary tasks each day. (The clumsiness you’ll experience instills compassion and reveals impatience.) Another card asks you to take three deep breaths before answering a call or text alert on your phone. (It allows you to let go and arrive fresh to every new encounter, and eventually the habit spreads into other areas of your life.) Instant zen.
See? Shopping is good for your health! Now check out the latest and greatest gifts — doctor’s orders.