First, Have a “Take Care Of Me” Mindset
We get it. You love your family. And if you have a job, that’s also a priority. Between the two, you (that’s you!) can get lost and a bit undernourished. But, if you’re not happy and you’re not taking care of yourself, sooner or later you’ll burn out and not feel well. And then you’ll have very little to give to others.
One of the first things, then, is to have a mindset that you need to find some time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, there need to be priorities (we’ve already touched on that). But, you are also a priority. So, work that schedule creatively and get help from your spouse so that you can take care of yourself. Feel good about that.
Find Power in the Nap
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, then there’s no shame in taking a power nap during your child’s nap. What you don’t want to do is doze off without a way to keep it a nap (versus a two-hour sleep). You don’t want to get your sleep schedule messed up. From Gizmodo —
A power nap is a sleep session that happens during the day (ideally between 1:00 to 4:00 PM) lasting between 10 and 30 minutes. Any longer and you run the risk of developing “sleep inertia” — that unpleasant groggy feeling that takes a considerable amount of time to shake off. And naps later than 4:00 PM can disrupt your regular nighttime sleep.
Maybe that means not getting in bed for the nap, because you might get too comfortable and sleep too long. A sofa, a reclining chair, or even the floor with a pillow are options.
Magical Mornings or Nights
Many parents find that if that can get up a little earlier than their children, there’s an hour or two of glorious adult time that gets your day started off just right. Or, if the kids go to bed early, you can have a couple of hours to yourself at night. From FamilyShare.com —
Everyone is asleep. You are alone — finally. So what do you do? Clean up the pizza plastered to the kitchen floor? Finish the last load of laundry? Or give yourself a small moment to relax before, or after the mess is cleaned up? Remember, you are worth it.
Know What Relaxes You
Is it being able to read fiction? Is it yoga for an hour? Is it bathtime just for you with herbal tea? Is it time with friends, away from the kids and home? Here’s an idea from Nina V. Garcia if you’re a working mom —
Use your lunch hour for fun and hobbies. Sit in a coffee shop for impromptu writing or journal writing. Other moms use that time to exercise or have lunch with friends and coworkers. Still others find a library to sit and read.
Involve Kids In Things That You Like/Need Too
If you like going outdoors, make it a family affair. If you like reading, going to museums, gardening, whatever, find ways to involve the whole family so that they become part of your life.
Rachel Norman has the right idea about getting in her exercise. She settles the kids in the same room and gets right to it — no gym needed.