By Christina Katz
How come other moms always seem to “have it all” and still have time to work out, read the latest best sellers, and spend time with their friends while you seem to be scrambling to keep up with the dishes, the laundry and your daily taxi service?
The truth is, making time for you is an art and, like every art, it requires practice. If you don’t take time to rest and rejuvenate, eventually you won’t have a self to worry about, because that’s how busy you will become with everyone else’s concerns.
Even if you fear the guilt you imagine will come with making time for yourself, carving out space in your own life for yourself is a healthy necessity. Best-selling author of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, says, “We lose ourselves because we are afraid of being selfish, but when we turn around and take care of ourselves, we actually become much happier and more generous.”
Here are 10 self-nurturing activities to choose from that blend well with your everyday commitments. Most can be squeezed into a busy week, during naptime, into the mornings or evenings, or while the kids are busy with an activity.
- Heart on paper -Cameron recommends three pages of longhand writing every day. Can’t do three whole pages? Just do what you can. For moms, any kind of journaling can be illuminating and constructive.
- Move it, move it -Shake your groove thing any time you need a quick attitude change. Shut the blinds. Take off your shoes. Put on your favorite dance music and get down. Dance your heart out for ten minutes. You’ll emerge ready for anything.
- Girl-time – What could be better than walking and talking with another busy mom? Walking is better than doing lunch because it accomplishes two goals at once: connecting and exercising. Make it a standing date if you possibly can.
- And away you go – Nothing beats browsing the bookstore or library to get ideas for future family vacations. Instead of a trip to Disney, check out outdoor activities like sailing, climbing, or spelunking. On second thought, check out that trip to Disney, as well. Kids are only kids once.
- “Dear Susan” – Letter writing is becoming a lost art form. When you write by hand, it’s something special. Take your time, speak from your heart, and rediscover forgotten parts of yourself that your faithful friend always remembers. Start your letter with, “Remember that time we…” and enjoy memory lane.
- Get what you need – Attending a like-minded support group is vital when you need extra help. Whether you are trying to quit a bad habit, grieving the loss of a loved one, or gathering with other busy moms to share strategies, the wide variety of groups available can suit every need. A quick Internet search will help you look up resources in your area.
- Your playful side -While signing your children up for those enriching evening and weekend classes, don’t forget to sign yourself up too. Many programs offer separate classes for children and adults at the same time. Yes, you are allowed to do some things without your kids in tow. In fact, it’s good for you.
- Melt into the table – After you drop the kids off for school or sports, you might head to the local spa for a massage. If you have time, a ten-minute hot tub or steam bath will increase the overall relaxation effect. Treat yourself once in awhile!
- Your very own OM – In the west, meditation can be walking, writing or even dancing. Check out the book Meditation Made Easy by Lorin Roche. You’ll discover that meditation simply means developing your capacity for rich experience. Why not invent your own practice?
- Feel the burn – Exercise is sound advice for everyone, but especially for stress-weary moms. If you need help getting motivated, enroll in a fun class like kickboxing or karate. Spinning, Jazzercize and Bikram yoga are also great for your health.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. The more you plan you-time into your hectic schedule, the happier you will become. You deserve it, mom!
Author, journalist and writing coach Christina Katz is always on the lookout for new ways to make time for herself. Her favorite ways are getting a massage, bookstore browsing, and making treasure maps.