As a busy mom, finding time for yourself is challenging. There never seems to be enough hours in the day for everything on our to-do list, much less finding time to relax and ground ourselves. It's a good night for me when I get more than 4 hours of sleep!
Then there's the guilt of taking time away from your busy schedule to do nothing. When I make time to slow down and do "nothing" I feel rejuvenated, rested even. When I got shingles almost two years ago, I learned that stress can cause a break out. Since then, I've tried to listen when my body tells me it needs to slow down. Shingles is not a fun experience. I wouldn't even wish it on my worst enemy.
Slowing down and finding a few moments for yourself doesn't have to be hard or time consuming. Here are some of my favorite ways to grab some me time.
- Get steamy. When I smell the relaxing scent as my bath salts hit the hot water, my shoulders visibly relax. I know for the next 15-20 minutes is all about me my a book or magazine. When I'm not so busy, I try to take a soak in the tub at least twice a week. When I'm busy, I'm lucky if I can get one or two a month. If you're not a bath person, take a hot shower. Throw in an aromatherapy shower tablet to help you relax.
- Ground yourself for 5 minutes. After you make that cup of coffee or tea in the morning, enjoying the process of drinking it. Inhale the scent as wrap your hands around the mug and feel its warmth before you take a sip. Tune out the kids for a few minutes. They'll survive. If you don't drink tea or coffee, do this with a piece of your favorite chocolate or candy. Something that involves as many of your senses as possible.
- Play with your kitty. Nope, that's not a euphemism. Ok, you could do that, but I'm talking about your pet. Whether you have a cat, dog, mice, whatever, stroking with your animal friend is relaxing. There have been studies that owning pets are good for your health. My cat Jasmine hops on my lap anytime I sit down. She nudges me until I'm forced to pet her. Once she starts purring, I feel like such a good human owner. The fact that she forces me to sit still for more than 60 seconds gives me time to chill out. I guess that makes my cat the boss of me.
- Add some color to your life. Grab some paper and your kids' crayons. Doodle. Don't stress on what you're drawing or scribbling. If your kids are there, let them join you. Let your mood choose your color. If doodling or drawing is too much pressure for you, print out coloring pages or borrow your kids' coloring books. Concentrating on the act of doodling or coloring is like meditating. You'll clear your mind and get a few minutes of zen as you channel your child artist.
Creating rituals are key to me time. Once you do the above items a few times, your body and mind will recognize the signals. You'll start to relax as you're starting.
No matter what, I struggle to find the balance between my family, work, and time for myself. It's a continuous battle, but everything happens in cycles. There will be crazy busy times when I can barely keep my head above water. That means there will be slower times when I can take more time for myself
Remember a happy mom means a happy family! (Borrowed from my friend TeachMama!)
How do you find down time?