Life with children can be very stressful. As parents we are on a constant treadmill of morning mayhem, breakfast, nursery, school, shopping, cooking, refereeing disagreements, arranging meet-ups, going to activities, meals, homework, clearing–up, evening routine, washing, ironing and cleaning. The list goes on and on
As parents we dedicate most of our waking hours to looking after our children, earning money for our family and meeting our children’s every need. But for some of us, when it comes to taking time for ourselves, we feel guilty.
So why is it important to recharge?
- We set a healthy example to our children that being a parent does not mean we have to give up our fun and relaxation time
- We maintain our energy levels to keep going without burn-out or making ourselves ill
- We keep our mood up and are happier –and a happy parent means a happy child
- We maintain our interests and relationships with adults which gives us a more balanced perspective on life without everything being child-focussed
- We are less likely to suffer from depression or over-eating
- We give ourselves a short break from caring, which allows us to return with renewed enthusiasm for attending to our children
How can we find time away from the children?
For many parents, time and money are an issue, so finding time away from our caring responsibilities is hard. If you can afford it, finding someone to take-over caring for our pre-school children for a few hours a week is ideal. This could be a nanny, au-pair, paid help, crèche, nursery or child-minder. For many, this is a luxury we can’t afford – so we need to get creative. Partners and extended family are usually the best people to care for our children. (And a great way for your child to spend time and bond with them – a win-win for everyone) Alternatively swap with a friend. You look after their children in return for them looking after yours. When our children reach school-age it is good to set aside a morning or afternoon a week just to stop and do something for ourselves.
So what can you do to renew your energy levels?
Look through the following list and see what you could try.
- Go out for a walk in nature
- Spend time in a beautiful environment –seaside, country view, lakeside, etc.
- Have a good workout or gym session
- Have a long bath
- Light some scented candles
- Curl up with a really good book
- Phone or meet up with a good friend
- Savour a lovely mug of hot chocolate, tea or coffee
- Lie on a beach in the sun, just listening to the waves
- Sit quietly and clear your mind
- Follow a guided visualisation (find a CD in the library)
- Watch your favourite TV programme or movie
- Watch a comedy on TV or live
- Listen to some great music
- De-clutter a room
- Snuggle up with your partner or get friends round and watch a DVD together
- Bake a cake
- Practice long slow breathing
- Get your partner or masseuse to give you a foot, hand, scalp or full body massage
- Go for a swim
- Do some gentle gardening in your garden
- Play with your pet
- Write in a notebook everything you can be grateful for.
- Spend time with a friend who is positive and fun
- Spend half an hour gazing at the stars
- Do something you know makes you smile
- Watch a sunrise or sunset
- Do something creative such as painting, drawing, pottery or photography
- Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure or facial
- Read an inspiring poem, article or book of quotes
- Sun-bathe in your garden
- Go to bed early or sleep in in the morning
- Gaze at some beautiful flowers, candle or a lovely photo
- Read your favourite magazine
- Go for a bike ride
- Paint your nails or get someone to paint them for you
- Spend time in a book shop or library
- Volunteer in your local community doing something you enjoy
- Surf the internet, find sites that you love and bookmark them
- Go to a disco or dance
- Have a candle-lit meal
- Go to the cinema or theatre
- Write a diary
- Eat a piece of cake (or something you love) really slowly, savouring every bite.
- Sing in your shower or car
- Put on your favourite music and dance in your living room
- Wrap up with fuzzy socks and a warm, soft blanket or dressing gown
- Give yourself a makeover or try a new hair style
- Write your goals for the week, month and year.
- Learn something new like a language, instrument, painting or cooking
- Visit an art gallery or museum. Go round & choose your favourite piece in each room
- Buy yourself something small –flowers, a plant, a bracelet, poster or book
- Clear up the room where you spend most time
- Do some spring cleaning
- Research and book a holiday
- Think of your favourite meal then plan when you can have it (eat at home/ restaurant)
Some of these suggestions will take minutes, and some will need a few hours. Plan to spend some time EVERY DAY doing little things you enjoy and some time EACH WEEK doing something bigger which will really give you a boost.
If you find yourself thinking ‘I haven’t got time’, have a look at the start of this article and remind yourself of all the reasons why you need to make time!
I would love to know your thoughts, and anything which really helps re-charge your batteries.