As parents we get very little time to ourselves. Between caring for our children, work, spending time with our partners, keeping up with our friends, social media, and housework there is little, to no time, for us! Here are 7 simple routines that can be added into anyone's daily routine.
There are numerous meditation apps for your phone, fitbit or tablet. My favourite is the one for my fitbit. It vibrates to let me know when to breathe in and out. It takes 5 minutes and I usually do it before I go to sleep. Meditation can take anywhere between 1 to 30 minutes depending on how deep you want to take it. Sometimes we just need to breathe for a few minutes and we have a clear mind.
2. Listen to music
We can do this almost anywhere. Between devices that use bluetooth from our phones, while we are driving or even while we are wearing ear buds, music can be part of our day all the time. I love music. I have different music that I listen to depending on what I am working on or doing. When I’m writing, it is usually Savage Garden’s self titled album from 1997 (many of my university papers and my thesis were written while listening to this on repeat). While I am working, I prefer 90’s alternative, and while I’m cleaning, give me anything with a good beat (Dance or RnB). We constantly have music on at home and in the car. What is your favourite music to listen to?
3. Gratitude Journal
Gratitude Journals can be done in many different forms. From writing one sentence from the day to writing lists or drawing. I know some people who use bullet journals for their gratitude journals while others use a notepad on their phones. Journals are great during times that are stressful or might cause more hardships as we can look back on all the good things that we have in our life.
4. Time in Nature
This is from my therapist. She always recommends a walk in nature. If it’s a trail, down by the water or just walk around the block. You can pop your child in a stroller and off you go. Breathing in fresh air and letting go of what you need to do can help to clear your mind and allow you to re-energize.
5. Engage your senses
I use this to help with panic attacks and with my 4-year old when she gets upset over something (for her I modify and use just the first 3 things and only 3 items of each). It is a grounding exercise to help calm.
Breath in and out slowly 3 times.
Then ask yourself and answer out loud
What are 5 things I can see?
What are 4 things I can touch?
What are 3 things I can hear?
What are 2 things I can smell?
What is 1 thing I can taste?
Afterwards you will find that you are more relaxed and calm.
6. Be alone
Take a drive, get a tea/coffee, or lock yourself in the bathroom. Find a few moments always from anyone else and be alone. I have given myself many Mommy Time Outs to remove myself from the situation and be alone. It helps if someone else is home but can be done if they aren’t. I remember when our daughter was 5 months old. She went through this period of time where she would cry for hours on end. There was a night when my husband was out with a friend and I could not get her to calm down. I needed to pump and my stress was through the roof. I ended up putting her in the crib, I walked out of the room, and I cried outside her door and after 3 minutes I felt much better. I picked her up again and she settled a lot better. She could tell that I was stressed out. But I needed that few minutes of alone time.
7. Friends and Family
Making plans with family and friends. I have a group of girl friends and a year in advance we book our girls nights. We meet up bi-monthly and do something. We each take turns planning the night. My sister and I get together for sister nights. This is an important tip. Lots of us forget who we were before we had children. We lose touch with the relationships we once had and push things off to the side. Trust me, I have pushed many people away in the last 4 years and I am trying to mend those relationships now.
Of course there are many other ways to add self-care into your routine but these are my favourites. I would love to hear how you add self-care into your day!