I have been put under the parenting pump recently. The kids are at the age (3 and 20 months) that result in me barely sitting down, rarely getting a hot shower by myself or being able to stop – even for one second. Every moment they are awake is devoted to keeping them happy, fed, entertained and most importantly, alive. That leaves very little time for me, myself and I. So when I have some ‘me’ time, I take it very seriously.
Before I continue, I should state that I am a big advocate of forcing oneself to have some ‘me’ time, especially when said person’s day is full and busy. It has taken practice, but I give myself at least 30 minutes to an hour a day (whether in one hit or in little intervals) where I do something for myself. Not for the kids, dogs or the house – just me. This ensures I am feeding my soul or simply keeping my mind from exploding from the stress of life.
I have included a list of things I choose to do in my time. I recommend each and every one of them but that’s just me. Find something for yourself.
1. Take a bath
I do this one either when it’s just Flynn and I at home and he has a nap, or after the kids go to sleep. I light a candle, put something LUSH in the water and get out my book (but more on reading later). Sometimes I take a red wine or a herbal tea, depending on how stressful the day is. The idea of taking a bath actually seems like a lot of effort at times, but every time I have one, I regret not doing it every night.
Some of the products I use in the bath include:
Bathbombs (this one is my favourite)
Magnesium Salt Flakes (This is brand I use)
Lavender Oil (Try this one)
If you don’t have a bath, I recommend some of these shower products to make it a little more relaxing:
Life’s a Beach Scrub
2. Sit outside without technology
This one I tend to do when it is raining. I have an old school swinging lounge on my patio, which I force myself to sit on for 10-15 minutes when the kids go to bed. I have always found the rain calming, so this one is an easy option for me. Even on a nice evening, sitting outside in the fresh air helps unwind and calm your mind. Especially with the soft swinging of a lounge chair. I tend to do this 2-3 times a week. Its an easy unwinder for me.
3. Take care of your skin
I have found being consistent with my skin care ritual makes me feel that everyday, I am doing something for me. At night I ensure I cleanse, (exfoliate when its time), put on a serum, face oil and moisturiser. Every week or two I also do a mask (I recommend this LUSH mask or if you are feeling extra dull, go for this Mecca mask). I think with my days being full of nappy changes, trucks, diggers, dirt and super heroes, ensuring I dedicate some time to my skincare every night allows some femininity to seep back into my day. I feel good about myself and its also calming to focus some time on something that is just for me and no one else.
If you are interested, my favourite skincare is by far Go To Skincare – I have been using it since 2014 and can’t fault it.
I am an avid reader. I love reading and although I tend to favour crime/psychological thrillers, I have recently expanded my horizons and have been dabbling in all genres – which only makes me a more passionate reader. Regardless of how tired I am, I always dedicate time to read before I fall asleep and if I am really into a book, I make sure I only spend a small amount of time in front of the TV before forcing myself to put away all technology and read.
Reading really forces to me to take some time away from my day and enter the life of the character. If the book is interest enough, with my face in a book, I don’t have room to worry about my day or To Do list.
These are my current recommendations if you are looking for a new book.
Reader, I married him – collection of short stories inspired by Jane Eyre
Brain on Fire – This is Susannah Cahalan’s recount of the time she went ‘insane’. A reporter by trade, she uses her parents recounts, her medical documents and video footage to write about her experience. Amazing read.
Modern Lovers – about friends/bandmates from college, their relationships and grown up lives. Really well written and I loved every page.
Eileen – follows the life of Eileen who is a little bit strange, a little bit funny and a little bit troubled. I love Ottessa Moshfegh and this was a winner.
H is for Hawk – about a girl dealing with her grief after her fathers death. She becomes obsessed with raising a goshawk. You need to concentrate for this one but it is fascinating and worth your time.
Along Came A Spider – James Patterson’s character Alex Cross is my favourite. Every book is amazing and leaves me wanting to read another book. This is a series and I um currently up to book 8. If you love crime, the Alex Cross series is mint.
5. Unwind with some TV
TV is the easiest tool for unwinding. You don’t need much brain power to watch a show. My favourite shows at the moment are Ballers, Ray Donovan, The Good Wife and Iron Fist. I also love Bones, Criminal Minds and The Knick. My secret obsession? The X-Files if you love a bit of Sci-Fi. I simply put my kids to bed, eat my dinner, lay down, let my face and brain relax and let the TV do the thinking for me.
6. Colour in
I am surprisingly still colouring in even though the fad has faded. I have always enjoyed drawing, writing and colouring so this one is an easy choice for me. I use this if I am really stressed/worried/anxious about something. Colouring requires my full attention as I am terrible at staying within the lines therefore there is no room left for outside noise. Although I love Johanna Basford, my favourite colouring book is the Harry Potter Colouring Book.
Although you might roll your eyes at this one, I have started to use exercise circuits as a ‘me time’ activity. Since getting to the gym is impossible for me at the moment, I have had to resort to doing circuits at home if I don’t want to go backwards in my fitness.
I have previously done Kayla Itsine’s workouts, but I found that my motivation to stick to her workouts fading over the weeks. My solution? I cut it in half. I do 2 x 7 minutes (instead of 4 x 7 minutes) workouts based on her circuits. I found it easier to rap my head around and I am more likely to complete them since I do them after the kids go to bed. I do them 3-4 times a week and so far I haven’t missed a circuit.
I find doing them later in the afternoon means I make better choices for dinner and post-dinner snacks. I also use them to justify having that glass of wine or that bit of chocolate i have across the course of the week.
If you don’t have access to Kayla, I recommend @bubs2bikinis on instagram – Anna does some amazing at home circuits that last between 15-30 minutes. So no excuses. Your physical health is closely linked to mental health, so give it a go.
So, give one of these a go. You will feel good giving yourself a treat and a break.