How to Fit Relaxation and 'Me' Time into Your Every Day

With the new school year on the horizon, taking time for yourself as a busy mama is more difficult, but more important, than ever.  Taking time out to refresh and rejuvenate your frazzled summer holiday mind and body is vital, and should be as much of a commitment as anything else.  Don't let relaxation become yet another thing on your to do list, but do schedule in some time every day for a tiny break that will pay dividends in the short and long run.

Incorporating regular short bursts of relaxation into our busy lives is easier, and actually more beneficial, than devoting a whole afternoon to a spa trip, nice as that might be.  Forget waiting for the weekend, or the next holiday, this is about making the most of your time every day, to find those little pockets of bliss or breathe in the day to day.

Here are my top tips for incorporating relaxation into your daily life:

Get Up Early 

Get up before everyone else and take twenty minutes to stretch, preferably outdoors, and sit with a cup of hot water and lemon before the rest of the world wakes up.

See: How to Sleep Better Every Night

Plan your relaxation time

Put it in your diary like any other appointment, and stick to it.  A longer block is great of you can manage it, but 10 minutes here and there is better than nothing.

Start a gratitude journal

Research suggests 5 minutes writing in your journal each morning creates a better day, but in the evening is fine too if time is short.

Schedule in time to walk in nature every day

Whether you go in the morning, after dinner, during your lunch break, or at some other point in the day, make sure you spend time in a park, by a river, on the beach, or in the forest every day.

See: How to Fit a 20 Minute Walk Into Your Day

Take up meditation

Just 10 minutes sat with an empty mind will boost your immune system and recharge both body and mind.

Mind map

Take 10 minutes to think about how you like to relax.  Reading, a long bath, a massage?  Whatever your idea of relaxation, incorporate those things into your month.

Plan ahead and schedule that massage, hike, gallery visit or night out, or just put 15 minutes into your diary every day for uninterrupted reading.

Give up TV!

Well, maybe not all of it, but only watch what matters.  Get out of the habit of slumping in front of the telly every night and only watch what you really want to.  Buy a TV guide or use your planner to note the programmes you are really interested in, then watch just, those not all the other reality and soap rubbish you watch because it's on.

Exercise regularly

Try to incorporate some exercise into your week, in addition to your daily walks. Maybe running, swimming, a Pilates or yoga class, or a team sport like netball or football.  You could find a whole new side to your social life!

See: 10 Easy Health and Fitness Tips for Beginners

Eat better

Start meal planning and shopping from a list if you don't already.  If you go to the supermarket, take some time out in the cafĂ© there before you shop.  Take your book and have 20 minutes break.

Eat good food and eat mindfully, sitting around the table concentrating on what you are eating, and what your family or friends are saying.  Eating fast and eating junk food or ready meals causes more stress on our already over-worked bodies, eating whole foods and more fruit and vegetables is the first step to committing to a healthier lifestyle and better, longer life.

See: How to Eat Healthily on a Limited Budget

Be mindful

Practice mindfulness, paying attention to what you are doing and how your body and mind feels at that moment.  Eat slowly, appreciating every mouthful.  Do tasks joyfully and enjoy the sight of washing on the line, or the aromas as you cook.

Walk mindfully by observing the weather, the sky, the sights, smells and sounds as you walk.  Sit in nature and just observe and wait, being still in body and mind.  Being in the moment is vital to well-being and happiness, and often the secret of longevity and fulfilled lives.

Sleep better

Go to bed early and get a good night's sleep every night.  Follow our guide to how to have a good night's sleep for tips on how to sleep better, every night.

Everyone's idea of relaxation is different, of course, but most of us don't live as well as we could and with just a few tweaks our best life is achievable.

Valuing your own needs and prioritising your relaxation time and happiness doesn't always come naturally as a mum, but follow our guide and you will soon identify those pockets of time where you can ditch the phone, social media, rubbish TV and other time zappers, and practice mindful relaxation instead.

There is time.  We all have 168 hours a week to spend as we choose.  It's just a question of priorities and putting your needs first for half an hour a day or so.  We can all do that.

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