Moms are busy human beings. Honestly, have you ever heard another mother say she has plenty of time to rest, recharge, relax, or … do whatever she wants? (Re: See our two-part Mommy Burnout series: why moms are so overwhelmed and what to do about it.) For most mothers, it can be difficult to carve out time for yourself—and without the mommy guilt. So we spoke with Katie Sardone, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and owner of Behavioral Health Dallas, and Jessica Jordan, founder of Super Yoga Palace in Dallas, to give us some tips on how to recapture some Zen in your life.
1. Wake Up Before Your Kids
We know we know, but this solo time in the morning gives you the space and opportunity to do something restorative before the day starts. “Even if [it’s] just 15 minutes before [they wake up], make your bed, drink a cup of coffee, [do] five minutes of journaling, five minutes of yoga, five minutes of reading a book for fun,” Sardone says. “Being able to wind down at the end of the day starts at the beginning of the day.”
2. Clear the Clutter
We all have piles in our homes that seem to be chronically disorganized, but it’s worth it to tackle those areas one by one. “Clearing clutter helps lower stress levels and helps clear your mind,” Jordan says. “Cultivating a peaceful atmosphere is magic on attitudes, emotions and behavior. I do this for Super Yoga Palace as well as my very own abode.”
3. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
“Capitalize on rare moments without work and kids,” Sardone says. “For example, the dishes can wait…seriously they can.” And remember, “everyone goes through ups and downs throughout the day, and does things they wish they didn’t,” she says. “No big deal! Don’t beat yourself up. Re-group, re-set and re-start.”
Sardone especially recommends that working moms try to find time to mentally decompress, whether that’s at lunch or the car ride home. “[P]repare your heart and mind to be ready for the transition to home life and full-contact parenting,” she says.
4. Enlist Kids With Evening Tasks
Sardone suggests getting the kids to help with things like making dinner, de-cluttering the house or changing their sheets. “Kids love to be helpful and it’s great modeling for the future,” Sardone says. “The end of the day can be a busy time but also a sweet one with our little ones, if we’re not too distracted by dinner, bedtime routine and other to-dos.”
5. Diffuse Calming Oils
Breathe in, breathe out. For example, Jordan says she enjoys diffusing therapeutic grade essential oils, such as lavender, because it helps calm nerves. “In five minutes, everything else [seems] so much easier,” Jordan says.
6. Play Your Fave Music
Find your favorite Spotify playlist so you can jam out and release whatever emotion you’re feeling at the moment. “Music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and decreasing the levels of stress hormones,” Jordan says.
7. Exercise for the Endorphins
Sardone suggests making time to exercise with or without the kids. “Jog with the little ones, take a mommy-and-me exercise class, enjoy a child-free yoga class or much-needed alone time running while listing to your favorite book on tape,” Sardone says. As the brilliant Elle Woods says, “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy.”
8. Develop a Hobby Apart From Your Kids’ Activities
“Enjoy gardening, a book club or something else that can be enjoyed in small increments whenever you’re free,” Sardone says. Essentially, find something to do that’s truly yours, and then carve out a little time for it to get an emotional boost.
This article was originally published in November 2019.
Top photo of Super Yoga Palace courtesy of Erica Connonly of Shay and Olive Photography