Me-time

5 Ways To Score Some Alone Time These School Holidays

I’ve always greeted school holidays with mixed feelings. Yay to not rushing to school in the mornings! No more school lunches! And if I can convince my kids to get their own breakfast, I might even be able to sleep in one day. But then… where did my alone time go?

RELATED: Fun Things To Do With The Kids These School Holidays

While parenting during the school holidays is more relaxed, it’s still hard work and we, mums, still need our alone time to recharge. Here are some ways you can recover your alone time, even if you’ve missed out on those precious school holiday care spots.

1. Swap child care

Kids love playing with their friends and it often makes your job easier, too, if they have a friend around – they don’t need you to entertain them. Arrange to swap a couple of hours or a whole day of day care. You child’s friend’s mum needs alone time as much as you do and will be only too happy with these arrangements.

2. Swap your skills

Another way to get some child care without paying for it is offering your skills in return. Maybe show your teenage neighbour some makeup tricks or offer to cook dinner for your friend in exchange for babysitting.

3. Hit the gym

The gym crèche is an inexpensive way to have someone look after you kids for an hour or so, and don’t assume it’s only for the littlies. Talk to the creche staff about the ages of the kids they’re getting. Most likely your kids will find lots of school-aged friends to hang out with while you’re working out.

4. Visit grandparents

You know your kids will watch TV and eat sweats the whole time they’re there, but you can pretend that you don’t know. Just sneak out for a few hours and let Grandma handle it.

5. Sign them up for classes

There’re all kind of kids’ classes you can find during school holidays for varying budgets, from art to sports, to science. Choose the ones that your kids are most interested in and more importantly, the ones that don’t require the parent to be present. Let the kids have their school holidays fun while you’re enjoying your alone time.

Image via Pixabay

April 6, 2015

5 Ways To Find More ‘Me’ Time

We’re all so busy with work, school, family and home that it seems selfish to even dream about more ‘me’ time, let alone make it a reality. Yet, when you take enough time for yourself, you find that you’re happier, more productive and have more patience for the people around you, so everybody wins. But how exactly do you fit ‘me’ time into your day?

RELATED: Time Alone: The Ultimate Extravagance?

1. Ditch the guilt

Easier said than done, but what if you run an experiment? Take some time out for yourself, then pay attention to how it changes you and your interactions with others. Are you coming up with more creative ideas at work? Are you managing to stay calm when your kids are pushing your buttons? No doubt, you’ll collect proof that ‘me’ time is good for you and good for everyone else, so there’s no reason to feel guilty about it.

2. Accept that you can’t do it all

Occasionally, I’d unexpectedly get some time to myself and instead of enjoying it, I’d find myself frantically going through my to-do list trying to complete as much as I could. Of course, the list wouldn’t get any shorter and I’d miss out on a precious opportunity to relax and do something fun. Does this sound like you, too? If you’re as busy as most of us, it’s rare that you’ll ever get your to-do list down to zero, so instead of stressing about it, accept that you can’t do it all and make ‘me’ time a priority.

3. Ask for help

You’ve managed to ditch the guilt and accept that you can’t do it all, but there are still times when life is so busy that ‘me’ time goes out of the window. You don’t have to do it all alone. Ask your other half or a friend for help, or hire help if you’re desperate.

4. Use pockets of time

When we have 15-20 minutes of free time, we often discard it as insignificant and fill it with meaningless tasks like checking Facebook or folding laundry. Instead of looking for distractions, ask yourself, “What would I like to do?” and start doing it. You’ll be surprised just how much can be done in a short amount of time, plus completion is not the point here. You’re not trying to finish a project, but to engage in an activity that makes you happy and energises you.

5. Invest in your ‘me’ time

If you’re finding that you’re always skipping your ‘me’ time in favour of something else, schedule it in a more formal way and even put some money on the line. Book a class you’ve been wanting to do. Sign up for a workshop. Set up a session with a personal trainer. Then you’ll have a great reason to show up – if you don’t, you’ll have to pay cancellation fees!

Even a little bit of regular ‘me’ time can make a world of difference to your happiness, energy levels and relationships, so make it happen!

Image via Pixabay

February 25, 2015

Time Alone: The Ultimate Extravagance?

“Time and silence are the most luxurious things today” – US fashion designer and film director Tom Ford

Have you ever felt like you desperately needed the clear the clutter; to drown out the incessant noise of the everyday? To take a mini-break, just for you? I did just that today – I took off by myself for an indulgent night away, flying solo, for some much-needed R&R away from my beloved husband and two toddlers.

The mother guilt was palpable as I drove away from loved ones with crumpled faces. But, by God did I need some “me time”! Indeed, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a new mother of two: if you don’t get a day off to yourself to recharge every now and then, you ain’t good to anybody. How can you look after everyone else, if you yourself are too tired and broken?

And so it was that I drove off to my 5-star hotel, with the blessing of my lovely husband, who will shortly be taking his turn to escape to same resort, upon my return. We’ve decided our littlies are too young to leave with anyone overnight and so we’re resigned to spending nights apart, when we can, to restore our sanity. And I’ve had the most fabulous day– I have thoroughly enjoyed some quality travel time alone: sitting in the sun, being still, pampering self with a beauty treatment and drinking wine and feasting on my private balcony. Bliss!

I even actually listened to music and watched a favourite trash TV show uninterrupted – crazy!?

I just desperately needed to find my Zen; sleep deprivation as a new parent can be very debilitating and I couldn’t remember the last time I had a whole day off to myself. However, the psychologist in my family, who shall remain nameless, was a little scathing on the concept of “alone time” – which got me thinking; is this because as late-starting mums in our 30s, with we women increasingly delaying marriage and child birth, are we so used to our own space that the gruelling demands of parenthood are more of a shock?

Do we expect more from motherhood than our parents’ generation? Are we trying to do more: juggle motherhood with a career? Or, are we just better at taking care of ourselves than our parents’ generation? You know when you’ve reached the end of your tether – when you feel like you need to crawl into the foetal position, with a bottle of wine, in the pantry. Life can get so crazy busy, you can lose your sense of self, if you’re not careful.

Today, I needed time, space and silence to be me, first and foremost. Not a wife or a mother – just me. And it’s been absolute heaven! Now, I feel restored, revitalised and ready to return – in fact, I’m terribly missing my little family. For what it’s worth, here’s the tough love from the psychologist: “I don’t think spending time by yourself is necessarily the answer,” she says. “If you come back the next day and your thinking hasn’t changed, then you’ll be just as stressed as before.

“Conversely, you can do the introspection and self-analysis necessary to improve your emotional state without leaving your family … Our thoughts have an extraordinarily powerful impact on our emotions. So, the way to improve the situation is to examine your thinking/self-talk and work out what is causing the stress or anxiety and address these issues. Write all of your concerns down.

“Are you being reasonable and realistic, and if so, what can you do about your stressors? If you don’t do this self-analysis, you can go away a dozen times and nothing will change.” Bit of a Debbie Downer, isn’t she?

What do you think: is time alone necessary? Do you need regular solo getaways to recharge?

Images via pixabay.com

July 27, 2014

How To Find Time For Your Creative Projects

Do you have a project (or a dozen of them) that you’ve wanted to do forever, but never quite managed to fit into your busy schedule? If after all this time your project still on your mind, it must be something you really want to do, so go for it! Here’s how:

Choose one project

This is the stumbling block for many of us. You feel that, if you choose one, you’re saying ‘no’ to all the rest of your projects and ideas. But if you don’t choose, you’re saying ‘no’ to all of them. Just pick the one you feel most drawn to at this time and run with it. It’s not a lifelong commitment and if it helps, you can put a time limit to it. For example, you can decide to stay with a project for 30 days, then move on to something else. And if you’re still struggling to pick one, then pick two. Or three, but no more than that.

Schedule 15 minutes a day

Often we wait until we have a chunk of time that we think is reasonable – a couple of hours, a day or a weekend. And then there’s always something else, more important, to fill that chunk of time with. But if you take just 15 minutes a day (everyone has 15 minutes, right?), you’ll be surprised just how much you can get done and how quickly the minutes add up. Can’t find 15 minutes every day? Make it every second day. As long as you give your creative endeavour attention on a regular basis, you’ll build momentum and you’ll see your project grow. Now get a timer, set it for 15 minutes and go!

Protect your creative time

Once you put your 15 minutes on your schedule, stick with it. Say ‘no’ to unexpected requests. Turn off your phone. Don’t check your email. If you find yourself constantly interrupted when you’re at home, take yourself to a café or the local library. You may feel guilty and uncomfortable at first, but you deserve your creative time and the truth is, most of us can step away from our day-to-day lives without causing a major disaster.

As you engage your creativity, you’ll find increase energy, focus and passion that overflow into other areas of your life. Both you and the world around you will soon see the benefits of nurturing your creative side.

Image by ziggy2012 via pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

June 29, 2014