OPINION: 6 tips to find the mythical me-time
Written by Jody Allen, founder of Stay At Home Mum blog
AS STAY at home mums we so often put everyone ahead of us on the to-do list of life.
Most women declare they just don't have the time in this season of life to do the things they would enjoy, the things that fill them up and restore them.
Ahh, the dire excuses you tell yourself why relaxation is a remote idea.
"My son has too many therapy sessions."
"My daughter is still so young, she needs me."
"My husband works long hours. I have to do everything at home with no help from him."
"I have 5 kids and there is always someone interrupting me or needing me to do something. I can't even go to the toilet alone."
But, we all have time. We all have needs - even if you have ignored them for so long you no longer remember them.
But it's also okay to prioritise yourself high on the list. It is more than okay - I say it is essential.
Just like any job, you need to have breaks, recharge your batteries and make sure you can continue to do your job without burning out.
1. Just let it go, one thing at a time As a simple first step to building a self-care routine look at your existing week's routine and try to let go of one thing each day. Find something that is either for others or is something unfulfilling (like your daily time wasters - whatever they are for you) and replace it with something you enjoy and will fill your "tank" even a little bit.
2. Take time to be creative Iron less or not at all and create something instead - a scrapbook page, a journal entry, or spend 15 minutes with your camera if you want to be creative.
3. Curb your time on social media Cut out 15-30 minutes of your aimless online time and focus on enjoying something with your full, undivided attention - drink an entire cup of something hot and savour it, sit outside and take in nature and let your heart rate slow down, go for a walk, eat your lunch slowly, or make a phone call and connect with someone.
4. Rekindle your love for reading If you love to read, but never have time alone when you actually have energy to read - wake up 15 minutes earlier and read in bed when you can, or maybe create a quiet reading time with your family in the afternoon or evening where everyone reads or looks at picture books for 15 minutes (or more) while you enjoy a chapter of your own book. Kids can learn to be with you without needing your 100% attention for 15+ minutes. Give them the chance to learn this skill.
5. Early lights out Shut down all technology 30 minutes early and do something you have been missing lately - a warm bath, some exercise, draw, write in your journal, listen to music, have a chat with your other half over a glass of wine, bake a treat for the next day, get extra sleep!
6. Developing a 15-minute me-time habit If you currently spend no (or little) time on yourself start with 15 minutes a day and build from there. Ask yourself what you need most and honour that. If you need or want something that requires more time make it a priority and find a way. Consider swapping babysitting time with another mum, clear dates in advance with your family and mark your time in bold red letters on the calendar. Me-time can be alone or with others, the key is to spend time focused on yourself however YOU need it.
Everyone's self care routine will be unique as our needs are highly individual. If you are not used to taking time for yourself it can feel selfish, but reframe any guilt and accept that you are investing in your own health (physical, mental, emotional) so that you can be the best you for yourself and for your family.
Don't wait until you are sick or burned out and resenting your family.
These me-time ideas for weary mums, like you, could impact the entire family in many unimaginable ways.
Make it part of your routine and role model to your children that you are an individual as well as a mother.
Talk to them about your interests, show them you can go out on your own and will return, share with them your happiness in your own ways.
How do you spend your me-time?
See more from Stay At Home Mum here.