Some of you may or may not know me, but I’m Carol from Grit & Glamour Club, a busy mum of two young boys and our beloved terrier CJ (Carol Junior). Studying journalism at university, I’ve also worked as a full-time writer and then after children, a freelance one. I write monthly for Mumsnet’s Swears By section, as well as other lifestyle websites, plus I have the weekly blog for Grit & Glamour Club, so it’s all go go go!
In a recent poll taken from parenting coach Hayley from Little Ones at Home a staggering 96% of us revealed we struggle to take a much-needed break (both mentally and physically) from parent duties. I’m definitely a mum within these findings. Life can feel far too busy to prioritise such things.
What this poll also suggests though is that many of us are not practicing any self-care, defined as a physical act or mental one, which is no good, because if we burn out and fail to give ourselves a little bit of what we need too, we will crash and burn eventually. Mental health is so so important and effects every ounce of our being, so taking a break really is important for our emotional, physical and social wellbeing. It mustn’t be overlooked.
A friend once said something when I was on maternity leave and home all day every day with my son that has always stuck with me. She said:
‘Everyone needs a break from their day job’. This couldn’t be truer, because we do and often need reminding, as when there is so much to juggle within the family routine, we go further down the list, when actually we need to remain at the top.
Here are a few suggestions that help me to put my tools down and practice a bit of TLC, which I hope will help you too.
Put your phone down
As most of us are pretty much attached to our smartphones, this one really helps me. I urge you to try it. Just for 30 minutes a day, put your phone in another room and create some distance between you and the outside world. It can feel like there are a million people to get back to, google searches for organization, social media updates to do, but just stop and put it away. Screens are linked to stress levels so although you may feel like you’ve lost a limb at first, you’ll soon learn to
enjoy this peaceful time. You can just sit in silence and gather your thoughts or go for a walk without your phone. When I’m on the school run, I often don’t take my phone and it’s nice to break and get that peace and just take a breath. Putting your phone down every day for a short period can really help you reconnect with yourself and recognise what your needs might be.
Go outside alone
We all know that nature can help decrease stress and anxiety and make you feel more positive so leave your home on your own and have a little wander through some green spaces, maybe a woodland walk with the dog, or a local park. Time away from the house will benefit you and provide a physical and mental break from a never-ending to-do list. It’s also important to recognise that things can wait and sometimes they need to for your own sake. Instead of telling yourself you don’t have time. Turn that into a positive affirmation and say: I have time and will make time. It doesn’t need to be for long at all. Give yourself a break and do it without focusing on your to-do list, or beating yourself up. Grab yourself a coffee. Remember, this is time for you.
Make a physical date
Many of us find it hard to leave our children without feeling guilty but going out with friends, a partner, or colleagues will do you the world of good. When I first had children, I found it very difficult to get out of ‘mum mode’ and would find every reason I could to not go out (I’ve got nothing to wear, nothing to say), but when I finally did, I actually really enjoyed it, and I was able to switch off from home. It works both ways too as children will learn that through brief absences the bond remains and that it’s ok to have a bit of independence and time away from parents. It’s also fine for the routine to not be exact during this time, it’s not going to change anything long term.
This will help you look forward to something in the week. Weather it’s a weekly gym class you enjoy, a crafts class or a quiz, keeping this time slot to do something that makes you happy will work wonders for your emotional wellbeing. A family member will love that you’ve asked for some help and you’ll return refreshed and connected with yourself. We all must take a break from domestic chores and there’s no better reason than you for doing so.
Listening to your favourite music really loud is another great way to take a mental break. Also, if you can grab a morning cuppa before the kids get up, or have some extra downtime before bed, you should. If your kids no longer nap, establishing quiet time in the day regardless can work a treat for catching your breathe and having a mini break. I’ve always found after lunch is a great time to build in quiet time into the routine. When they are quiet, stop all household chores and just enjoy the downtime.
Written by Carol – Grit & Glamour Club
To read more about how carol finds the balance in motherhood, articles about self care and home- work balance as well as honest insights from other mums head to her homepage at Grit & Glamour Club, or check out Instagram, facebook, Twitter or Pintrest.