As a working mum of two kids under 5, I can fully understand how hard it can be to find even a scrap of ‘me time’.
Women in general are born carers and often end up so busy looking after other people’s needs, that we don’t have much time for our own. This just leads us to feel stressed out, tired, overwhelmed and possibly even under appreciated.
So how can we get our mojo back and find some time for ourselves when responsibility calls almost 24 hours per day?
Firstly, know that you are not alone, even if you feel like it. There are thousands of other women at home feeling worn out too, even if they don’t appear to be on social media or at the school gates.
If you feel like you really need more time for you, more time to be you, chances are it exists but there is something keeping you from it… Let’s see how you can claim some of that time back. It’s not selfish, it’s essential and it will allow you to care for others even better when you are feeling your best.
- Make sleep a priority – If you don’t do this, then you will find that your awake hours are far less productive and will pass by in a daze. When the kids go to bed, sometimes it is better to leave things and just go to sleep when our body is calling for it. If you are tired, don’t push yourself to do more housework or faff around on social media until late, it is not worth your wellbeing. Give yourself a 20 minute power nap during the day (sleep while babies do) if you need to.
- Write your today’s to do lists every morning, mentioning the top 3 things you want to do or complete that day. Don’t move onto the next task until you have completed the one you are on (remember it’s on the list because you need/want to complete it). If you have a distraction, go back to it until it can be ticked off your list.
- If you have a whole bunch of little jobs to do and it feels overwhelming, give each small task a set amount of time and stick to it. For example in just one hour you could do maybe 20 minutes on the washing, 20 minutes on the kitchen and food prep for later, 20 minutes on the bedroom etc, so that you don’t pass hours pottering about and still feel like you have loads to do. You will be surprised what you can fit into 20 minute blocks of time. Even giving the ironing pile 15/20 minutes is better than watching it pile up until it will take hours of your time to complete. Break all big tasks down into smaller tasks wherever possible and give yourself a certain time limit to finish.
- Of course, if you can afford a helping hand with the cleaning and housework once per week then by all means go for it! Even just knocking one job off your list will free up some time for you. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and it can be less expensive than a takeaway every week…
- Find flexible childcare (family, friends or professional) or a drop in play centre – If you don’t have anyone that could take the kids for a little while, you may be lucky enough to live in an area with a drop in centre for toddlers and young children if you need just an hour or two to do whatever the heck you want, even if it is to go and sleep, have your hair done, take an exercise class, or just walk and grab a coffee somewhere, meet a friend, anything that will leave you feeling good with no responsibility attached. We all need it now and again.
- Have other mum friends who feel the same? Why not ask them if they would consider hosting a playdate without you for a few hours if you do the same for her in return, then you both can look forward to some time for you.
- Say No – Sometimes we end up overloaded with things to do because we don’t want to say no. You too may not want to let anyone down or disappoint others so you say yes, even when you feel like you just sacrificed the last few hours you had left free in your week. You don’t have to say yes to everything if it means negatively affecting how you feel. If you have trouble saying no to people without feeling guilty or changing your mind, give this a whirl.
- Give yourself a break – Some of us just need to be kinder to ourselves. Is no one giving you a break and just expecting you to keep going the way you have been? Sometimes the more you give, the more people expect from you and sometimes people have no idea that you feel the way you do. Either way, to keep your own sanity, listen to your body, don’t burn yourself out by never taking that break, otherwise it may not be offered and you could start feeling resentful of those around you that have a spring in their step. Even just 5 minutes of deep breathing can really help to invigorate your body and mind.
- Indulge in things that make you feel good afterwards instead of foods that will leave you feeling guilty or sluggish. How does this give you more time for you? Well, it helps to keep you feeling good emotionally and physically so you will have more energy and a better state of mind to keep you going through the tough and busy weeks. If you mainly treat yourself with junk foods, this will lead to a vicious cycle of feeling awful and not having the energy to be as productive as you need or want to be. In other words less time spent feeling good.
- Feel like you never have time to exercise because of the kids and being at home? There are tonnes of fab home workouts you can do at home with the kids so you don’t have to miss out and the little ones will think it’s fun to join in with too! (Babies can watch!) It gives you a good dose of endorphins, makes you feel like you have achieved something and helps to keep you fit and healthy. That means more time feeling good, less time feeling like you need more time off.
- Finally, if you think none of these tips will improve the situation because you are simply just too busy, check this out.
Well done for reading these, you just invested in you! It’s thanks to busy, caring women like you who make the world go round. Just remember to look after yourself too.
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