It’s no secret that having kids really eats away at your free time. I’ve been a mom long enough that I’m not even sure I remember what free time actually is anymore! Nearly every waking moment of every day feels scheduled to the hilt, except none of it is on my actual calendar and half the time I’m triple booked.
I’ve had to make a real, conscious effort to utilize any and all pockets of ‘free time’ I manage to scrape together, and use them in ways that are fully beneficial to me. JUST me. Because we matter too! Our well-being and wellness matter just as much as anyone else’s, regardless of what our own brains try to tell us sometimes. So when I find 30 minutes of alone time here or there, I maximize the hell out of it. If you’re in the same boat, I hope these self care tips for parents to do alone help you as much as they’ve helped me.
The power of meditation.
I’ll be honest, I used to be REAL skeptical of meditation. I don’t know if I was doing it wrong, or just hadn’t yet found a process that actually worked for me. Because sitting in a quiet room, listening to rain sounds, and visualizing positivity? That ain’t me. But then I realized that meditation can be whatever you need it to be! It can look a hundred different ways, depending on the person. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed or over-tired or over-worked or just plain over it, I go to my room, dim the lights, put on my weighted robe, and pop my AirPods in with a favorite playlist. And I close my eyes and just completely zone out. Deep breathing is really helpful, too; I’m rather fond of 4-4-4 breathing, but there are lots of different techniques you can try. The worst part of meditating, in my humble opinion, is trying to keep from dozing off.
Walk it off.
Sometimes a change of scenery does you good, and if you’ve got 30 minutes to spare, getting out of the house and filling your lungs with some fresh air can be a total level set. Getting out and away, even if it’s just a lap around the block, can be enough to clear your head and focus on yourself for a bit. I’ve got my neighborhood walk route mapped out so I see the most amount of dogs, which is also a form of self-care, tbh.
This is going to sound silly, I know, but one of my favorite acts of self-care involves ordering my fav coffee drink for pick up or a yummy mini meal or snack for delivery, and then taking it to enjoy by myself at a local park, coffee shop patio, or even just in my car while I listen to literally any music that isn’t sanitized for young ears. There’s something about being able to eat your food or ship your drink or scream-sing all the profanities in a song without having to share or worry about potentially scarring my kids that just feels right. This little act of self-care rebellion works best if you can plan ahead, so you can place your food/drink order to arrive right when you get the green light to bounce.
No one has the ability to set you right quite like your bestie, you know? But your bestie prob has their own kids and partner and job and home, and you guys are more like ships passing in the night lately. Connecting with those who fill your cup is absolutely an act of self-care. Maybe the most important one! So when you have 30 minutes and they have 30 minutes, spend it together. It doesn’t even have to be IRL—a FaceTime sesh that won’t be interrupted by kids or partners or work calls with your ride-or-die? Damn good for your soul, and 30 minutes of alone time well spent (even if you’re not, like, technically alone). Bonus points if you do it while getting outside for a mid-day walk.
Skincare as self-care.
I’m not talking about your regular nightly or morning routine. Washing and toning your face isn’t self-care. I’m talking about the sheet mask you got on a whim that’s been sitting on your vanity for a month, or the at-home acid peel that is best done without interruption (safety first!). I’m talking about 30 minutes spent sitting in front of your magnifying mirror, music on, door locked, comedone extractor or tweezers in hand. It’s relaxing and satisfying, what more could you want?
Your time is valuable, I know. But your free time? That’s like platinum-covered diamonds dipped in unicorn sweat valuable. So use it wisely..and by wisely, I mean use it on yourself. It may only be 30 minutes here or there, but 30 minutes spent focusing on your own self-care is the best possible use of your time.