Moms Need Downtime, Too

Tearing up the trails on a beautiful day is my favorite way to relieve stress.  But sometimes escaping to the woods doesn’t fit into my work day. That’s why it’s good to have 5-10 minute stress busters at my disposal. Frequent, short breaks throughout the work day help me stay focused and productive.

Hailing from the UK, my guest today is sharing her suggestions for grabbing a few minutes of ‘me time’ throughout the day to stay sane, whether you’re rushing to meet a deadline or chasing a toddler.

It’s not easy being a mom, juggling the balance between kids, work, running a home, and being part of a couple, too.

There’s a tendency for work-at-home moms or full-time moms to think they don’t deserve time off because they’re at home all day, but that’s all part of the big guilt complex that comes with motherhood.

If you don’t take a few moments for yourself now and then, you’ll end up frazzled and tired which translates into being cranky with the people that you care about most – your kids and your partner.

It’s far better to accept that everyone needs a bit of downtime, regardless of whether they stay home or not. Of course, it’s not always easy to generate that time to spend on yourself, so that’s why it’s good to be able to grab little sections of time during the day.

There’s no rule that says you need to fill nap time with chores. It makes sense to do that, as it’s often easier to get things done when the kids are asleep, but why not take that time for yourself once in a while? All you need is 5-10 minutes to reap the rewards.

Unwind & Relax

There are plenty of ways to unwind without having to go to a yoga class or a massage. With little ones, classes often involve planning ahead, booking a babysitter, and actually getting out the door on time!

Little things like giving yourself a quick pedicure or manicure can help you unwind and relax, even if you only spend ten minutes doing it.

Take five minutes to do some stretching and deep breathing; it’s amazing how invigorating five minutes of concentrating on your breathing can be.

As the weather gets warmer, stepping outside for even a few minutes will boost your mood and enhance your productivity for the rest of the day.

Breath_Peace

Play a Game

Gaming is no longer the sole domain of geeky college coeds, and Bingo isn’t just for grannies in church halls and cruise ships. Games like Candy Crush and Words with Friends are sweeping the globe, and online Bingo has become all the rage for mums across the pond.

With chat rooms integrated into the games, many stay at home moms play bingo so they can strike up friendly conversations with other players. New games start every few minutes, making it easy for UK moms to play online bingo at 32Red and other popular international sites.

Feeling a little nerdier? Puzzle games like riddles, crosswords, Sudoku, and solitaire provide easy entertainment and a sense of satisfaction while taking your mind off the day’s stress. Set your watch for 10 minutes, and give your brain a boost.

Turn on the Tunes & Bust a Move

Music is a great way to get in touch with your emotions. Create a playlist of your favorite songs, crank up the volume, and tune out the rest of the world.

For an even greater benefit, kick off your shoes, let your hair down, and bust a move. A dance party, even in your own living room, is a great way to get your endorphins pumping and relieve stress.

Dancing_Happiness

Find Me Time

It doesn’t matter what you do in those little ‘me time’ moments; the important thing is that you take them.

Don’t put off giving yourself a break because you feel like you simply don’t have the time. People in an office aren’t expected to work straight through the day without a break – why should a stay at home or work at home mom?

Do you incorporate 5-10 minute sanity breaks throughout your day? What’s your favorite ‘me time’ activity that only takes a few minutes?


Gemma Collier is a working mom of two who is constantly trying to juggle her work and family. Luckily she has a great fiancé who is quite happy to run around after the kids while she has a nice hot bubble bath every now and again! Parenting isn’t an easy task, but Gemma believes sharing the household chores is the best way towards a happy home.

30 thoughts on “Moms Need Downtime, Too

  1. This is so, so important! I always have my clients think about how much down time they take for themselves- as you mentioned, it’s connected to stress, cortisol, emotional well being, which is all going to come out in their health and food choices as well. I rarely have a moment in the morning, but take time before bed to relax and read or do something just for me.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Detox trends and WIAWMy Profile

    • Mornings are pure chaos in our house, too! I try to take sanity breaks throughout the day, but I need to be better about winding down before bed. If I work too late into the evening, my mind is racing, and I have a hard time falling asleep, despite being absolutely exhausted (see: pure chaos!).

  2. Moms do need down time too, and I usually forget to take it! It’s so important though, for stress management! We’re in the middle of a wind storm here, so I think I will head to the treadmill for my down time right now! Thanks for the reminder!
    Michelle recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: DoorsMy Profile

    • It’s easy to get sucked up into the day and let it slip away. Yesterday I was so busy with back-to-back meetings that when I looked up, it was 3:00 and I realized I hadn’t eaten lunch yet!

  3. My hub and I both work from home. I’ve gotten very good at taking 5-15 minute breaks.

    One of my easiest ways is when he needs to run an errand, I ask if he’ll please take our daughter with him. She adores her Daddy, so 1:1 time is good for her, too.

    Those little breaks can enhance a day… even if it’s just my reading on one side of the room while they snack or watch videos on the other side.
    Wendy recently posted…Visualizing FamilyMy Profile

  4. Great advice here. Working from home, I can do this regularly and it makes such a difference. I’ll take a doggy playtime break and get some time in with the pup, which works for both of us!
    misszippy recently posted…March MadnessMy Profile

  5. We take too much pride in being too busy. It takes a toll on all our systems. I love the idea of taking time out. I play disc golf every day I can. No matter how ‘busy’ I am. I found shooting free throws mid-morning is also a good way to get away.

    We should also remember our kids need that, too. I try and remember that when they have tons of homework but stop to have a snack and watch Spongebob. They’ve had a long day, too.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted…Make Your Own Holiday Day, in 6 WordsMy Profile

  6. Setting the timer works well for me – when it goes off after 10 minutes I know it’s time for my break to end. It’s hard to do when you’re at home – there are so many distractions from the things I need to do. And while I need some breaks, they can be counterproductive if they last too long.
    Dana recently posted…Suburban haiku – 17 syllables of perfectionMy Profile

    • I think sanity breaks are just as essential for the office, Abby. When I worked in an office, I used to take a walk during lunchtime. It was great to get outside and clear my head.

  7. Great post!!
    I was the exception for all the years that I stayed home with my boys. When I put them down for their afternoon nap – I poured a Diet Coke, grabbed some chocolate an plopped in front of the TV to watch my recording of Days of Our Lives. I did this almost every day and that time rejuvenated me for the rest of the day – this was really important when my husband was deployed and I had to make it through all day every day with just me and the boys!!!
    Kim recently posted…Am I Still a Fitness Blogger?My Profile

    • I love that you had a daily sanity routine! Years ago, one of my colleagues shared her daily sanity routine. She also worked from home, and every day she’d take a lunch break and watch What Not to Wear!

  8. It’s so true that when you work at home, you often don’t feel you “deserve” a break when, you probably need one more then someone who works outside the home! I would definitely put exercising on the top of my “me time” list but, when I can’t get out of the house, I try to steal 5 minutes here or there to read a couple pages in whatever book I’m reading. It’s amazing how those few minutes can alter my mood!
    Allie recently posted…Remember Those New Year Resolutions?My Profile

    • I really believe that people who work from home end up putting in more hours than those in the office. You don’t have the office distractions of people coming up to your desk or chitchat at the water cooler. Plus, it’s hard to turn it off when it’s in your house. So, yes, lots of sweat therapy and little sanity breaks are a MUST!

    • I’ve definitely been in the overwhelmed camp as of late, and I’m with you on getting out in the sunshine for an uplifting escape. In fact, I’m excited about an entire week of Vitamin D absorption when we leave for spring break. Woohoo! There won’t be much ‘me’ time but right now what I really need is ‘no work’ time!

  9. Oh yes! I need those sanity breaks! I had two sick kids all last week and my husband surprised us with a puppy on Friday! What the what? That first day with all three, on Monday, was one of the most challenging mornings ever!
    I love to steal five minutes to read, or sneak chocolate! I really can’t wait for the warm sun because my true favorite “me” time activity is to sit outside for ten minutes with a book.
    Tamara recently posted…In The Light and Dark Spaces.My Profile

  10. I love this. So often I feel guilty when I try to take a little “me” time…and that’s so pointless. It is better for me (and my family) if I take a little time every now and then to recharge. I’m probably even more productive after that anyway. Thank you for this timely and important reminder!! –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…Spoiler Alert: Tony DiesMy Profile

    • Lisa, let’s start a campaign to ditch mom guilt once and for all! It’s ridiculous that we ever feel guilty about taking time for ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves to take care of the ones we love!

  11. I just joined a book club this year and I’m so happy about it because it forces me to take time out to read, rather than find yet another thing I “have” to do that isn’t nearly as enjoyable. Great post by Gemma! :)

  12. Since my blog is called Time out for Mom – I had better say Yes! I do this! All of them. LOL
    The truth is, I do. Whether it’s a few mini breaks throughout the day, or like today because I have been feeling run down and a sore throat all week: 2 movies I have been waiting to see since last year. Movies when the kids are here are always for the kids/family — why can’t I make use of a day they are all out of the house to catch up on my own preferences? I can fold laundry while I watch (I didn’t. ha!)
    The truth is, everything that needed getting done – got done. Taking time for you doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing.
    Rorybore recently posted…I Don’t Get Out Much….There Might Be A ReasonMy Profile

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