7 Ways to Fit Downtime into Your Schedule

It’s funny: after a big meal, my husband can go to the living room and pick up a newspaper and relax. If I try to do the same thing, I hear a tiny voice in my head saying, “You really should just go ahead and tackle those dishes. You shouldn’t be sitting here. That laundry…those emails… what about the dishes??”

You’ve heard the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.” It holds true for moms! Stop thinking of taking time to rest and rejuvenate as a luxury. If you’re going to be at your best—for your family, your boss or your friends—you must take care of yourself. Here are some tips for finding time in your busy life to recharge.

1. Schedule It.

You schedule just about everything else in life, right? So write your time to exercise, pray or whatever it is you need to feel great into the schedule for the day. Then honor that appointment with yourself just like you would one at the doctor’s office.

2. Start Early.

For many moms, the calm before the storm is the hour before the rest of her household comes to life. Try setting your alarm to wake a bit earlier and use that time to do something just for you.

3. Ask for Help.

Too many moms are martyrs, suffering under a list of chores and to-do’s that could easily be accomplished by other members of the household. If you need a break in the afternoon but feel that things won’t get done if you do, delegate! Assign one child to fold that load of laundry and another to set the table for dinner and take a walk to clear your head.  Our Printable Chore Chart can help you get started.

4. Tag-Team with Your Husband.

Your hubby likely feels the time pinch just as much as you do. Work together to create an escape for each of you in the schedule. He holds down the fort while you break away, and you return the favor for him.

5. Work with Your Kids’ Schedules.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom to young children, you probably have fewer options for time alone than most. If you do have one or two mornings per week where your children attend Moms Morning Out or a similar short-term childcare program, don’t spend your entire three hours without the kids running errands and striking off to-dos. Carve out one of those hours to play tennis with friends or attend a bible study group.

6. Make the Most of Nap Time.

When your children are small, nap time is as precious as gold—It’s your only chance to regroup! Resist the urge to dash around the house cleaning and working the whole time. Take the first half hour after you put them down to read or relax. Those piles of laundry will wait.

7. Keep Outside Commitments Reasonable.

Contrary to what you may have heard, it’s not child abuse to limit the number of activities your children are allowed to participate in. Likewise, it’s not necessary for you or your husband to say yes to every request for volunteer help at the school or church. Keeping those commitments within reason will help you to fit down time into your own life, and the lives of your family.

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