Someone else is watching your kids right now. High five!
But it’s been so long since you got a break from them, you’re not even sure how to use it.
You don’t want to come to the end and realize you did nothing but scroll through facebook on your phone.
How can you make the best use of this time?
I had the same question, so I made this handy-dandy checklist for myself that satisfies every time:
“Break From The Littles” Self Care Checklist
▢ GO TO THE BATHROOM.
If you’re a mom, you don’t need me to tell you why this is first on the list.
▢ Eat something.
I don’t mean Oreos and alcohol (eh, okay, maybe a little) but also something that will actually help your body recover, i.e. give you energy, and make you feel better. Think: a quick salad or sandwich, some fruit/nuts/yogurt/etc. Include water. Enjoy the quiet and not sharing your food with ANYONE.
▢ Take 5 minutes to calm your mind.
You could go all out and use a guided meditation (there’s a free app called Stop, Breathe, Think) or you could just close your eyes and focus on relaxed breathing. If you’re like me and you dislike thinking about breathing (sorry, Lamaze): just close your eyes and focus on relaxing the different parts of your body. When stressful thoughts come up, acknowledge their existence briefly, then say “bye, Felicia” (figuratively) as they drift away. If it’s hard to relax your tense muscles, try to just focus on relaxing your face, especially your eyebrows and jaw. This can help the rest of your body follow suit. Bonus: you’re probably preventing face wrinkles. You’re gonna look like Christie Brinkley when you get old.
▢ Get one SMALL task done.
I mean really, really small. You don’t want to give yourself time to get distracted…by another task, or a text, or (my favorite) intentional procrastination like Googling efficient methods of cleaning the kitchen instead of actually cleaning the kitchen. Choose a SMALL and completely-do-able-in-5-minutes task (i.e. clear off a table, make the bed, or start a load of laundry). Once you get one small thing done, that feeling of accomplishment motivates you for more, and keeping it small helps prevent early burnout. What does this have to do with self care? Getting something done and off your mind will boost your self-confidence and improve your attitude.
▢ Feeling accomplished? A) Do another small task and let the victories snowball, or B) choose to congratulate yourself with a nap.
Roughly 20 minutes is an ideal nap length for actually benefiting your body while not sleeping so long that you wake up groggy and feeling like that crawling, halved-woman from season 1 of The Walking Dead. So set an alarm on your phone.
▢ At this point, the brain cloud may be starting to clear.
You just might have your own idea of what you want to do next. Maybe you’re ready to start that slightly bigger project you’ve been putting off, or maybe you’d rather spend the rest of your free time doing something you enjoy, like reading, walking, or ranting about reality TV. Whatever it is, you know. Congratulations, you don’t need this list anymore!
image via tumblr