Self care for parents with no time for self care.
Remember self care? (Face masks. Massages. Yoga classes. Netflix and naps.) It was the best of times! It was before you had kids. It was before you had 93 loads of laundry to do.
When you have little humans running around, demanding endless snacks and refusing to sleep, finding a sliver of time to do something for yourself can seem impossible. You know: it’s important to recharge your batteries, it will make you a healthier, less-stressed parent, and your kids will benefit from seeing you care for yourself. But you also know: you have zero time for a facial and a pedicure.
So we put together a list of simple, speedy acts of self care. Save them! Add your own! And next time you get a laundry-free moment to steal, seize it.
If you have one minute…
Take a deep breath. An easy defence against daily stress! Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Try to make your exhale longer than your inhale.
Watch a funny video. Fact: Laughter relaxes the whole body and improves your mood for up to 45 minutes. Also fact: This will never not make us LOL.
Think of a daily win! Something you’ve done that you’re proud of. Even if it’s a tiny victory, like changing out of your night PJs into your day PJs.
Hug someone. Aim for more than six seconds to release the maximum feel-good hormones (oxytocin and serotonin) and give your immune system a nice boost.
Drink a glass of H20. And if you can, sit somewhere quiet while you sip, and enjoy the serenity, screen-free. (Resisting the urge to get lost in an Instagram deep dive.)
Self-massage. You can’t escape to the spa for a 90-minute hot stone massage. But you can give yourself a neck, shoulder, scalp or foot rub. And that’s (ah, almost) as good.
Light a candle. Make your room feel all warm and soft and nice-smelling, for at least 60 seconds until the rest of the family rumbles through.
If you have ten minutes…
Send a text. Reaching out to a friend to chat about life/kids/the new series of Workin’ Moms can help you feel instantly less lonely and isolated.
Have a ‘big shower’. Wash your hair, exfoliate your body, double cleanse your face, emerge feeling like a completely new person.
Sit in the sun. A few daytime rays can reduce stress, improve sleep and strengthen your immune system. (It can also toast your skin, so for-the-love-of-sunshine wear SPF.)
Put your favourite song on. Think about what you need: A dance? A cry? A quick trip back to the ‘80s? And select your tunes accordingly.
Stretch your body. Roll out a towel or a mat and move your limbs in a way that feels really gooooood. Not sure where to start? Try this little 10-minute ditty.
Bask in a mask. Sure, you haven’t slept past 5am in months. But! You are still a luminous beast. So take 10 minutes for a face mask and get your glowy skin back.
If you have an hour…
Enjoy a meal. Preferably something that isn’t three half-chewed nuggets and a stick of carrot. And preferably not interrupted by a gang of tiny pasta thieves.
Watch a TV episode. Put your phone down, lay horizontal on the couch, pick something from your Netflix list and try your best to stay awake until the finish.
Read a book. If that’s your jam! Some time away from screens can be hugely relaxing and refreshing. But if reading’s not for you, find that thing you love and do more of it.
Take a nap. Don’t let the little snooze cats have all the fun! The best nap length for most people is 20 minutes (restorative sleep, no drowsiness) but choose your own adventure.
Go for a walk outside. You’ll get fresh air, you’ll get your body moving, you’ll get a hit of vitamin D, and if you walk to the corner store, you might get a Cornetto.
Tick off your to-do list. Not the whole thing, but a simple task that’s been there for ages, taking up valuable mental real estate. Scratch that lurker of the list.
Plan something fun. A future holiday, a date night, a family outing, a little treat that you can start looking forward to.
If you have a whole day...