Sometimes we all need a little time out. A weekend, a day, a few hours or even minutes can make all the difference. Downtime refuels energy, relieves stress and in general improves our perspective on things.
So how does a busy mom find a few precious moments to herself? Sometimes it means making sure your kids are safe and then hiding in the bathroom. Grab a book and a towel to stuff under the door so your kids can’t shove notes like “When are you coming out?” or “We’re hungry?” under it.
Or take a momentary time out by lying flat on the floor and elevating your feet with pillows. Place a cooling gel mask or soft cooler pack over your eyes and/or forehead. Relax and take deep breaths for ten minutes.
You may also need to turn to a neighbor to spell you off so you can take a walk ALONE. Imagine it – no kids, no dogs, just you alone with your thoughts. A few steady strides, some fresh air and several deep breaths can do wonders for a stressed out parent.
Better yet, talk to your significant other and see if you can send him and the kid’s packing for the day or if possible the weekend. You deserve it!
Here are some of my favorite ways to nurture my soul. This list is only meant to inspire. Doing everything will leave you exhausted. Select the activities that appeal to you and forgo the rest.
Plan to acquire all the tools ahead of time so you don’t end up spending your ‘time out’ in search of the perfect items to make your day or weekend spectacular.
Go (just a little) wild
Inside each of us is a woman just dying to cut loose. Nurture your wild side – rent a convertible and explore the local countryside. Or take a tango or swing-dance class and flirt outrageously with the instructor. (In innocent fun of course.)
Go on a treasure hunt
Scope out local flea markets and antique shops to discover something wonderful.
Explore your artistic side
Being artistic is an effective form of mediation. It helps get your mind off your problems and allows you to explore from the inside out. Create a self-portrait or sketch your fruit bowl.
Loaf around the kitchen
Bake some bread the old fashioned way. Awake your senses. Feel the soft dough between your fingers and knead away any stress that lingers. Take in the comforting aroma and indulge in a thick slice with lots butter.
Simplify your life and your mind
There’s no doubt about it, when you de-clutter your life you also de-clutter your mind. Take the opportunity to put stray photographs into albums, reorganize your jewellery box or weed through that stack of magazines you’ve been saving.
Let the sun stream in
Open up your mind and your home by inviting nature indoors. Roll up the blinds, pull back the curtains, crank the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine steam in.
Grab a good book
Revisit your book shelf and dust off one those books you’ve been meaning to read. Or, curl up with a classic from the local library.
Watch a chick flick
Escape to the world of make-believe by renting a DVD or going to the movies. Solo movie watching means you can see whatever you want, eat the whole bag of popcorn yourself and weep unabashedly without that familiar smirk on your hubby’s face when he hands you another Kleenex.
Start a gratitude journal
Write down all the things you’re grateful for. Or, create a stream of conscience. Write for five minutes straight, scribbling down whatever comes to mind. Forget about grammar and punctuation. Just enjoy the experience.
Bare your souls (feet that is)
Rub some sandalwood or spruce essential oil into the bottoms of your feet, inhale deeply and remain barefoot for at least an hour.
Hit the trails
Maybe a foot massage isn’t your thing. What about a going for a nice long walk? Walking slowly, breathing deeply and focusing in on your surroundings helps to calm any mental tension. Find joy in small treasures like a smooth pebble or a fragrant flower. Think of each step as a deposit in your emotional bank account.
Take a catnap
A late afternoon nap can do wonders for your outlook. Draw the blinds, kick off your shoes and snuggle under the covers. Close your eyes and image you’re in a sailboat about to embark on a journey. Sail along the smooth seas. Once refreshed, slowly rise, splash water on your face and give yourself a good stretch.
Now I’m not suggesting you sprawl out nude on your back deck, instead honour yourself with a delicious glass of wine. Toast your best qualities and enjoy some quiet moments of relaxation.
Tune in some tunes
To relax yourself even further, grab your iPod or tune in your favorite radio station.
Go soak yourself
Pamper yourself with a luxurious bubble bath. Set the mood with music, candles, and maybe the odd chocolate or two. Mix drops of lavender oil into the water (it’s a natural relaxant) and submerge yourself.
Gaze at the stars
Lie on your back, look up at the sky and try to locate the Big Dipper. Follow the light of an airplane as it slowly streaks across the sky. Picture its passengers on their way to some exotic, far off destination.