It’s summer! Hello to BBQs, pool parties, movies in the park, vacations, and family adventuring.
But — take deep breath here — goodbye to the relief you felt during the school year knowing that your children would be taken care of for at least a few hours every day.
For many parents of young kids, these precious hours are the few moments we have for self-care. It’s time for a mom/dad entrepreneurs office tasks, working out, errands, doctor’s appointments, and all the other items of everyday life that are just easier to do without littles by your side.
Add to that the challenge of summer’s typically later bedtimes, and the time left for your own self-care dwindles even more. No sooner are the kids in bed then it’s time for you to hit the sack too.
So, how in the world can you carve out some me time?
Two words: be quick. Here are a few tips that each take no more than ten minutes, but go a long way towards keeping your sanity.
Hot Water Bottle Trick:
Get one of those old-fashioned water bottles, fill it up with hot water (I use my electric kettle for quick heat), and place it behind the small of your back for 10 minutes. I have been doing this weekly, sometimes nightly, for the past year. It decreases stress and allows for a comforting pause. (Bonus: every time I feel like I’m getting sick, I do this and it often helps my body fight back.)
70 Beats a Minute:
Did you know that your body switches between fight or flight mode, or rest and relaxation mode? So when you feel a sense of tightness in your upper body or feel that you can’t take a deep enough breath, remember that you have control and can change your body’s reaction. One of the easiest ways to decrease anxiety and calm your body is listening to music set to 70 beats a minute. Science has shown that your heart rate will decrease and begin to match the music for an optimal level of calm. (Check out the “70 beats a minute” playlist on Spotify.)
Research suggests that the best way to wake up, feel invigorated, stay focused, and clear brain fog is by taking a cold shower. I know, I know. But here’s the good news: your entire shower doesn’t need to be cold, just the last 30 seconds or so. I dare you to give it a try.
Lemons are another way to wake up. I’ve been drinking a glass of water with a half of a lemon every morning for a few weeks now —and I ALMOST don’t even need coffee
Does It Bring You Joy:
Yes, Marie Kondo is all the rage right now, so I’m not going to suggest the obvious “fold your underwear into squares” or “roll your pants.” However, I will suggest you use this mentality to create a jar full of activities that bring you joy and do one a day. Self-care is like your daily multivitamin. Just take it. Having a list or jar of things handy will make it feel more doable.
Here are a few of my favorite self-care quickies: do a mani-pedi at home or salon, brunch with friends, look for items in nature of a particular color, eat a mindful meal, use a soothing face mask, read, do pilates, enjoy ice cream, get lymphatic massage, meditate, crochet, organize, journal, FaceTime out-of-state friends and family, or try a new recipe.
Self-care looks different for everyone. Keep trying new things until you find your go-tos. Whatever you do, don’t let the summer pass without some rest and relaxation.