Have 10 minutes to spare? Here are six fun ways to take time for yourself. By Tammy Jacks
Between looking after the kids (which entails quite a bit), working at home or in the office, cooking meals and running errands, it’s no wonder you feel tired and a little worn out. In fact, a recent study commissioned by Welch’s Grape Fruit Juice in the US revealed that if you add up the time the average working mom spends at her paid position, plus her duties at home, it totals to 98 hours per week – the equivalent to two full time jobs per week.
The truth is, as much as you adore your kids, motherhood means you’re always on the clock and few moms can afford (or even want to) spend huge chunks of time away from their families. So, what’s the solution to avoid burnout?
Dance (and listen to music)
Whether you’re into calm, soothing tunes or something a little more upbeat, listening to a variety of music has a positive effect on our minds and bodies. It’s also been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol and give you an endorphin release – especially if you move and dance to the music. The good news is, just two to three songs can have a relaxing effect, so you don’t need an hour away to reap the benefits.
Call a friend
No, we’re not talking about sending voice notes via WhatsApp, we’re talking about taking a few minutes to connect with someone and share your problems, laugh or cry. According to a report by the Mayo Clinic, friendships have a major impact on your health and wellbeing. A good friendship helps to:
- Enhance feelings of belonging and purpose
- Help you cope with stress. Because, let’s face it, mom life can be pretty stressful at times
- Boost your overall happiness
- Help you feel secure
Drink green tea… or coffee
If you don’t have a full 10 minutes to sit down and drink a cup of tea (green tea to be exact), take a minute here and there to sip green tea throughout the day. A Japanese study of over 40 000 people found that if you drink five cups of green tea a day, you may reduce psychological distress by up to 20%. Green tea is also high in antioxidants and amino acids such as theanine, which has a calming effect on the nervous system.
If you’re not a tea fan, taking some time out for a cup of coffee has benefits, too. Although caffeinated drinks have been found to give you energy, caffeine also helps the brain to release dopamine into the part of the brain responsible for mood regulation. This could be why so many moms rely on a cup of coffee to kickstart the day in a positive way.
This is probably one of the most powerful things you can do for your mind and body – because it forces your body to slow down and stay present in the moment. Pick a time in the morning, midday or before bed to close your eyes and take a few deep breathes. If you don’t have time to listen to an audio meditation class, or head to a yoga class, that’s OK – all it takes is five to 10 minutes of quiet time and deep breathing for the mind and body to relax.
Here is a simple breathing exercise by HealthLine:
- Sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees.
- Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest.
- While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps centre your body, and clears your mind.
Jump on a rebounder
This fitness trend has made a strong comeback this year. Rebounding on a mini trampoline is extremely time -efficient and has numerous benefits for moms including stress relief, weight loss; increased immunity; a tighter and more toned body (thanks to how it stimulates the lymphatic system) and it gives the metabolism a huge boost.
Just two minutes of intense rebounding can have the same effect as:
- Running for six minutes
- Swimming for 10 minutes
- Walking for 22 minutes
Have a speed pamper session
Whether you’re a new mom for the first, second or third time, your needs often take a backseat. This often means wearing sweatpants and messy buns for days with minimal makeup or the chance to have a long, relaxing bath. So, if you don’t have the luxury of booking a babysitter to head to the spa or salon, give yourself a mini pamper session at home. For you, this might mean a quick mani and pedi, a foot or neck and shoulder massage (if your partner’s around), or simply applying a soothing face mask and eye pack to remove those dark circles.
Some moms even claim to feel better when they have the chance to style their hair and put on some lipstick! If you have 10 minutes to pamper yourself, make it count… even if you have to wax your legs while painting your toenails.
ALSO SEE: 4 mommy must-treats to try this spring
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .