As parents, we are busy. Busy with work, busy with kids, busy with stuff that always needs to be done around the house. We are always rushing. Always trying to get all the ‘stuff’ done.
We finish something earlier than expected. Do we sit down and relax for a bit? Enjoy a hot cup of coffee? Read an extra story to the kids? Stand in the sunshine and daydream? No.
We try and get something else done. A task. Another thing to do on the never-ending to do list.
You know what? We need to stop. We need to take a breath.
We need to basically just calm the f*#k down.
I read something the other day about a mum who heated something in the microwave for a minute and felt guilty for just standing there, watching the timer count down, instead of getting something else done.
A minute. Wow. When did it become ok to feel guilty about standing still and just breathing for one minute?
No wonder we feel stressed, stretched to the point of breaking. Is it really a surprise that we (as parents) get sick from burning out? That most of us are probably living in such a state of busyness that despite feeling exhausted, can’t fall asleep at night because our brains are still whirring?
I’m not saying that I don’t pause. I do. Sometimes. I blame my Type A personality for making me try to squeeze as much out of the day as I can.
Do I like waiting in queues? No. I always think of all the other stuff I could be doing during that time instead. Do I stand and just watch the microwave timer count down? Sometimes. Most of the time though I try and see if I can unstack the dishwasher before the timer beeps. Or chuck on a load of washing. I don’t like to feel I’m wasting time.
But it’s not really wasting time if we’re looking after ourselves. If we’re taking a moment to breath properly, or to look out the window and turn off your brain for a minute.
I’ll be the first to admit I need to take a moment more often.
So let’s take some time out to recharge and look after ourselves. It doesn’t have to involve a week-long holiday somewhere exotic, as lovely as that would be. It is as simple as taking half an hour for just you.
Here are some great ways to help slow down, unwind and recharge yourself:
1) A bath. But not just any bath. Clear those kids bath toys out of the way so you’re not sitting on an anti-slip crocodile mat. No plastic zoo animals to stab you in the leg. Close the door, fill up the bath and relax with a glass of wine or cup of tea, grab a trashy book or magazine and make it clear that no one is to disturb you for half an hour. Obviously this is much easier once the kids have gone to bed! I tried this the other week and lost count of the interruptions and questions being shouted through the door.
2) Sit down with a good book and lose yourself in it for a little bit.
3) Make a cup of tea or coffee, and drink it while it’s hot.
4) Go for a walk, run or gym session.
5) Call a friend for a chat.
6) Write it all down. If your brain is racing a million miles an hour, jot all those thoughts and things you’re trying to remember to do down on paper. Brain dump.
7) Put on your favourite music and dance.
8) Watch a movie.
9) Lie down. You don’t need to sleep, but just lying still can help.
10) Bake or cook something you love to eat. Then make sure you enjoy it too.
11) Stand outside and soak up the sunshine.
12) Do a guided meditation.
Yes, we’re all busy. Life is busy. But life is too short to race from one thing to the next and not take a moment every now and then. Let’s be kind to ourselves a bit more.
I promise I’ll try and be kind to myself more often. Will you promise to try and look after yourself more too?
What are some of the things you like to do to slow down, unwind and recharge yourself? Please share in the comments below.