When you’re one-quarter of the way through your third round of Baby Shark in a single day, it’s fair to question whether you have ceded away any semblance of personal time to the lovable terrors you refer to as your kids. When your baby keeps you up at night perfecting her in utero gymnastics routine, you may think, “This is it. I’ll never sleep again.” When your teenager rolls his eyes and proclaims you know nothing about being young, no one would fault you for starting a TikTok account to prove just how much you can embarrass him.
Children are rewarding. They’re also exhausting. But before you resign yourself to screaming into a pillow or sparking the newest TikTok dance craze, try setting aside a little time that’s just for you.
Self-care, exercise, and meditation vision boards are typically a December/January pursuit, and perhaps you opted out of resolutions entirely this year. (We’re not judging.) But taking time for yourself can help you recharge—it’s good for you and for your family.
With that in mind, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you make the most of the time you find for yourself.
Yes, it’s hard to slip into the REM cycle when there are young humans in your home. Most adults, generally, could benefit from more sleep, but mothers tend to be an especially sleep-deprived bunch. Getting the right amount of sleep will help you feel happier and healthier. Consider setting a bedtime alarm in addition to your wakeup alarm. (Both Android and iOS phones have this option.) Just like you heed your alarm to get out of bed, listen to it when it tells you to close Facebook, turn off the lights, and catch some Zzzs.
Have a hard time unwinding? Try an app like Calm, which features soothing music and bedtime stories to lull you to sleep.
Elle Woods was right: Exercise does give you endorphins, and endorphins do make you happy. Taking a workout break can help you release stress, feel more energetic, and sleep better. (It all comes back to sleep, right?)
Even if you don’t have the luxury of leaving home for a workout, tools like the TRX Suspension Trainer make it easy to train from almost anywhere. (Affordable? Check. No drilling or expensive installation required? Check!)
If you like to take control of your routine, here’s a cheat sheet of three easy formats for programming your own workout. Prefer to zone out? Try a TRX Live class.
Pick up a book
After a year of safer at home precautions, you may have finally reached your limits on television across the eight streaming services you accumulated after cutting out cable. Try swapping your evening Netflix time for reading. Cutting out blue light from screens can help you sleep better, and reading can get those creative neurons firing.
“But wait!” you say. “What kind of mom am I if I’m not multitasking?” If you’re absolutely intent on doing two things at once, try listening to an audiobook while you do something relaxing. Audiobooks pair well with everything from a bubble bath and a glass of wine to painting to folding laundry.
Explore a Hobby
Kids get to compete in sports and dance, make art and play music. Remember how much fun that was? Ever wonder why you stopped?
It’s never too late to find your passion, and there are more virtual classes than ever to help you kickstart a new creative pursuit. Learn a language in those quiet hours after your kids go to bed. Pick up an instrument. Find what fuels you and commit time to it.
Sleeping, exercising regularly, and setting aside time for fun activities will help you recharge, making you a happier person and better mom. So when you’re building out the next activities calendar, be sure to block out time for yourself.