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It is no secret that being a mom is stressful and holds challenges we don’t find in other areas of our lives. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all deal with stress. The biggest challenge with stress as a mom or parent is the ability to cope with it. Before kids you could just do what you needed to do to de-stress but as a parent we know you cannot just take a Saturday afternoon to binge watch something, read half a book, go out whenever you want, or however you would release stress and re-energize yourself normally. Personally, my go-to is a wonderful day of movies, good food, naps, and usually some sort of art is involved. As a Mom of two under four I just don’t have the time or space to do that anymore.
With that said when and how do you make time for you? You don’t. Sorry, you’re a mom now.
Just kidding, you need that time to shed the stress to go on with your life and take care of your children. You cannot be the best parent you can if you aren’t taking care of your needs as well. How can you care for others if you aren’t caring for yourself?
Before I jump in to 10 ways for you to unwind we should go over how to make time to do said things.
How to make time for you (when there doesn’t seem to be enough minutes in the day)
You must be thinking “I don’t have time for this, this woman is delusional or she has two nannies”. You know what? I don’t have the time either, I may or may not be delusional that’s debatable, and I certainly do not have two nannies. I do everything myself as a stay at home mom. Some days I have a little more time than others. Maybe my kiddos are miraculously keeping themselves occupied, or maybe just maybe, they both fell asleep at a decent time and at the same time. I take advantage of this time. Whether it is 5 minutes or a couple hours; I use it to take care of me. We make the time to meet our kids needs, take care of the home, make meals, tidy, run errands, and do everything else that comes with running a household. We need to make ourselves a priority as well, like I said, even just a few minutes can do the trick.
If you have a significant other, a family member that can watch your kids, or even a babysitter utilize them! There’s nothing wrong with asking for a hand sometimes. If you can make an arrangement for some you time, do it. Ask your partner to take over completely for couple hours on a day off so you can have that dedicated time to look forward to.
One way we get to go out for a date night every now and then is to ask a family member to watch the kids. I set it up so that they come over once the kids are asleep so it isn’t a big job and we still get to go out to a late dinner or a movie. The same can be done for you to have some time to yourself. Even if you are still home. Offer them a meal or some cash if you need to or can and make use of the time to do something for you.
This is not something you need to do but it is an option for those of you with supportive people to help you out.
Will your partner keep an eye on the kids for 15 minutes while you sit in the bathroom alone with some music and do a face mask? Or have a bath? Simple things, sneak your moments, baby steps. It all gets easier with practice. I know it feels so daunting to attempt this but I promise, it feels so good once you put it into practice.
10 Ways to Unwind (because Mama, I know you need it)
In no order, here is some inspiration to get you started on your self care journey as a parent:
1. Read- I use to read a lot, I would read whenever I felt like it. I could spend hours getting lost in an imaginary world with amazing characters and Incredible stories. While I can’t get in to a book like I use to for hours on end I do make it a point to read when and what I can. Personally, I still like books but I find them harder to get in to. So, I tend to spend a lot of my reading time reading blogs and short articles. When there is something I really want to read I read lesser amounts (maybe a chapter depending on how long they are) a night before bed. Or you could always go with the classic book on the toilet (like I said, you have to find the moments when you can sometimes). Alternatively, you could listen to your books while you are doing other things. I find listening to an audiobook while doing something mindless like the dishes makes it relaxing and allows for an escape from something otherwise boring. To keep costs down on books see if your local library has e-book or audiobook options.
2. Write- Go for it! Writing can be very relaxing or therapeutic. You can journal, do stream of consciousness, write some fiction, or even pick up blogging. Whatever works for you. You can dedicate a few minutes a day to jotting down a few ideas or typing out a few sentences. You can write pretty much anywhere and you don’t need anything fancy for it. You can easily get a pen and notebook from the dollar store.
3. Draw or Colour- This is another thing that can be relaxing and therapeutic. You may have noticed that adult colouring books have become all the rage, and for good reason. If you are feeling particularly stressed out taking 10 minutes to colour in some of a picture can really help. This is something I do, as an artist it has always been my automatic go to, this gives you something else to focus on. You do not have to be good at it. Heck, you don’t even have to colour in the lines. This is another cheap and easy way to spend some time doing something for you. To draw or sketch you just need a pencil and some paper, to colour you just need a colouring book or pages and some sort of colouring utensils. I started colouring in the Secret Garden after hearing so much about it and I recommend it to anyone looking for something relaxing that you can really get in to.
4. Music- whether you listen or play being creative is good for your soul. Break out your instrument, belt out a few tunes, or just tune in to your favourite spotify playlist and you are good to go.
5. Have a meal alone– I know this is easier said than done. This may be one of those things that needs to be planned out fairly well. I really enjoy this one though. It is so relaxing to have a meal in peace. I used to get extreme anxiety about and had no interest in eating alone, especially out somewhere. Now, if I get the chance I happily sit alone in a restaurant and eat a meal. Even if you just go sit on your porch and enjoy a snack, these moment of resting a refueling can do wonders.
6. Sit outside or get outside- depending on what you like to do. I am not the outdoorsy type at all, especially if it is something active but I know many people do enjoy doing things outside. Getting out side can be a great mood lifter. One thing I do like to do is go for a walk, it sounds simple but going for a short walk helps me so much and I feel good that I did it because I know it is good for me. Alternatively, you can amp up the activity level if that’s something you like more. You can go for a hike, run, etc. Even just sitting outside and soaking up a few rays can do the trick.
7. Take a bath – or a shower, whichever you prefer. I don’t have a bath tub that allows for a good soak in the tub but I do love showers. Water is relaxing, healing even. Even a quick 5-minute shower can make my entire day. If you have more time get a nice warm bath ready, throw a bath bomb or something in there and just rest.
8. A glass of something – A glass of wine or tea can be just the thing you need to take a minute to breathe. I love to sit down with a warm tea in the morning, or even an herbal one at night. A nice tea in the morning with a nice healthy breakfast is one of my favourite ways to start my day. It sets the right mood and allows for a more relaxing start to the day, get it going on the right note. I love having a special cup I can use that’s all mine as well. I use one of my own designs off of Society 6 for my travel mug and my at home cup. Using them makes me feel good, I like to look at them and it makes that cup or whatever that much more special and relaxing. Even taking an hour to grab a coffee and catch up with a friend if you can manage the time out alone is an awesome way to rejuvenate.
9. Craft- This can be anything really. I prefer to paper craft (I like to make cards) but any kind of hobby works here. Just something for you, that you can look forward to, get invested in and have fun doing it. You could make jewelry, crochet, sew, etc. Get that creativity flowing!
10. Pamper yourself- Do whatever “girly” thing you have a chance to do or like to do. Whether it is a facial mask you do at home in 10 minutes, getting your eye brows done, getting a massage, nails or hair done, do whatever makes you feel good. I like to get my eyebrows done once a month or so and then I keep up with them at home. It is low cost, doesn’t take much time, but it makes me feel like a million bucks once it’s done.
Let me know how you make time for you in the comments below.
Don’t forget to share this with a mama in need!