10 Budget-Friendly Me-Time Suggestions for Hands-On Moms and Dads
The month of love has started! Our first thoughts usually during this month is how to show love to our loved ones. But the month of love can also be a month when we love ourselves more. I believe that parents are some of the most loving people on earth. We often make a lot of sacrifices for our children. But I also believe that we cannot give what we do not have. And one way to help us love those around us, our children specifically, is to love ourselves first. When our own love tank is full, we have love to spill into the love tanks of our kids. If our love tank is empty, what are we going to give them?
Some people call these activities self-care. Some call these activities me-time. Some call these alone time. Whatever you want to call these activities, if you are a parent, especially if you are a hands-on parent like me, you NEED to practice self-care, me-time or alone time, too. I strongly advocate hands-on parenting even to parents who are working (either outside the home or from home). But I also advocate that hands-on parents like us take some time to nourish ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves because if we do not do that, who will take care of our children eventually if we get sick or something happens to us? I was reminded of this at the Mommy Mundo Mindful Mom Retreat that I attended last year. (You can read about some of my insights and that of other moms here.)
Even Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It means that to love our neighbor, we need to love ourselves first because that would be how we would love our neighbor as well. if we don’t love ourselves, how can we love our neighbor?
So, yesterday, I loved myself through two simple activities that I love scheduling at least once a month. Since it’s quite a challenge for me to go to the salon, I had the salon come to me. I had my pedicure and waxing done in the comforts of my own home while my husband watched over the kids.
Today, I had dinner on my own while the kids watched educational videos. I went to Mass on my own. I went to the Blessed Sacrament adoration chapel after the Mass for some alone time with God. I used to spend Holy Hour at the adoration chapel frequently when I was still single. When I had children, my visit to the Blessed Sacrament had been rare and usually, it was just for a few minutes. But I’m still grateful for those few minutes of silent adoration and prayer. After that, I joined a webinar by one of my mentors. Now, I feel more positive again and energized. That’s why I got up again to write this blog post after praying with my family and nursing my youngest to sleep.
What are some of my suggested me-time or self-care suggestions that won’t break the bank? Here they are.
- Take a shower. – Even a quick shower can energize you. I like this option the most when I need to cool down, like when my kids are starting to get on my nerves.
- Sleep. – Take a nap with your kids. Or make sure that you get to sleep long enough at night. This surely gives us the energy to face our parenting challenges the next day.
- Read. – This is one of my favorites past times or hobbies. I try to read even a few pages from a book or magazine that relaxes me. For example, I read books or magazines on my areas of interest. I also read verses or passages from the Bible or books by my favorite authors, especially Christian authors.
- Write. – I love writing! That’s why I became an author! I love journaling. I started writing a diary when I was in elementary. Writing helps me process my thoughts and experiences. Writing helps me express what I cannot express verbally sometimes. Writing helps me to slow down and be mindful. I recently shared about how I now write my blessing in post-it notes to fill up our Gratitude Bottle. You may read about it here.
- Listen to relaxing music. – I don’t care what kind of music genre you choose as long as it is relaxing to you. I like praise and worship songs, instrumental music, slow or jazz songs.
- Exercise. – 5 to 10 minutes of exercise like stretching and breathing exercises can also help. These stretching exercises literally relax my stressed nerves. Or take a walk alone or with your kids. Let them run wild in the park while you do your own walking also or running.
- Eat or drink something you like/love. – Do you like sipping hot chocolate, tea or coffee? Or a healthy smoothie? Do you want to eat your favorite food? Whatever it is that makes you feel good when you eat or drink it, indulge yourself. Never mind if it’s unhealthy. Of course, it would be best if it is also a healthy food or drink like fixing yourself a salad or a healthy pasta. But, if you will do this just monthly, why not? Make it your cheat day. 😉 There are days when I eat chocolate away from my children! hahaha
- Connect with a friend. – How long was it since you had a meaningful or gut-level connection with a good friend of yours? Or how long was it since you laughed out loud with a friend over some silly stuff? Dealing and talking with children can also be tiring. Sometimes, you just want to crave for mature conversations with like-minded adults. This is especially true for those who stay at home most of the time.
- Dream or stare at your dream board. – Daydream. Or if it’s night time, imagine and let your mind wander and wonder how would you feel to live out your dreams. I once wrote a post that daydreaming was one of my favorite past times. You may read it here.
- Pray. – Last but not the least, pray. I believe that I wouldn’t be able to do ALL that I am able to do if my life is not anchored on prayer. I believe that His grace is what sustains me on exhausting and extra challenging days like today. I love because God first loved me. Through prayer, I let God fill my heart with His love. It is with His love that I am able to love those around me, my family most especially. That’s why I always start each day with my prayer time. I do this when everyone is still sleeping or as soon as I wake up, even when my family members are already awake. I ask God to fill me up first so that I have energy and love to serve my family. the Bible says, His grace is new every morning.
These are all easy on the pocket and doable. I do my best to insert these activities into my day or week. Sometimes, within a day, I insert as many as I can. My days can be so packed and exhausting, caring for 3 small kids with so much energy. It drains me. So, I need to recharge several times a day as well. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the energy to take care of them or serve their needs. Or, I would lose my sanity.
My suggestion is that you make your own list of easy, doable activities that you can plug into your daily and weekly calendar. Use Full Life Cube’s day and week planning pages to this. These planning pages make it easier for you to do this consistently because this system or practice is integrated into the design. You will be reminded daily and weekly to practice self-care.
I first wrote about this topic in my blog Mommy Bares All when I was a first-time mom. You can read about my insights then in this blog post titled Mommy’s Me Time.
So, which suggestions resonated with you? What are your top 3 picks from my list? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.