“Parenting” and “busy lifestyle” are synonymous these days. We have kids to raise, partners to cherish, work to complete, errands to run… the list goes on. Who among us has time left to pursue our own interests?
All of that running around and doing for others leaves us drained and stressed. And our children are incredibly perceptive – they feel our moods and respond in kind. When we aren’t in a good place, they aren’t in a good place, either.
But to make time for self-care, we have to give up something else on our to-do list. Maybe the laundry doesn’t get done – your son won’t mind going to school in a smelly shirt, right? Or the dirty dishes remain stacked in the sink – but that’s okay because paper plates are just as good. Your daughter can walk home from soccer practice, your husband can order takeout for dinner, paying the bills can wait until the third overdue notice arrives…
We’ve all been there, myself included. We know we need an extra 30 to 60 minutes to give ourselves a break, but we just don’t have that much time.
But 10 minutes, that we can do. 10 minutes while we are waiting for our dry cleaning, in between grocery shopping and picking up kids, or while the casserole is cooking. We can find 10 minutes just about anywhere.
And 10 minutes is all you need.
Here’s the secret: it has to be 10 minutes of quality time.
So what is “quality time?”
Quality time energizes you. It replenishes your reserves for the next time you need it which, let’s face it, is all the time. At the end of quality time, you feel refreshed and inspired, and you’re ready to tackle the next round of tasks on your list.
What makes up quality time is different for each of us. Try these three exercises to determine what self-care activities would work best for you. The next time you have 10 free minutes, turn them into 10 quality minutes of self-care!
What activities did you enjoy before having kids? Even if you don’t have time for them anymore, what was it about those activities that you liked? Brainstorm how you can create that same feeling in 10-minute intervals.
Example 1: You used to love going on long runs to feel your blood pumping. For 10 minutes, turn up some heart-pounding music and dance!
Example 2: You used to spend hours putting together scrapbooks and photo albums. For 10 minutes, sketch a picture that reflects your creativity.
What activities make you feel extremely energized and happy? Recreate the good qualities of these activities in your 10-minute sessions.
Alternatively, what activities make you feel stifled and bored? Incorporate the missing qualities into your 10 minutes.
Example 1: You always feel enthusiastic after connecting with a friend. For 10 minutes, call someone just to chat.
Example 2: You feel disengaged every time you have to listen to a long presentation at work. For 10 minutes, recruit a colleague for an interactive brainstorming session.
What activities do you excel at or feel passionate about? Give yourself 10 minutes to really let loose and immerse yourself in those passions!
Example 1: You strongly believe in environmental conservation. For 10 minutes, write a list of ideas for “going green” in your home – and then pick one to work on during your next 10 powerful minutes.
Example 2: You are an excellent writer. For 10 minutes, write about anything and everything. Maybe you can even write a reply or comment to this article – we would love to hear from you!
Rachel Bailey, Certified Parent Educator
I am a parent of two children, and like you, I want my kids to grow up to be adults who have strong relationships and meaningful lives. Visit my website ParentingbyHeart.net to join my email list and receive free videos and articles like this one!