Life with children can be very stressful.

As parents we are on a constant treadmill of morning mayhem, breakfast, nursery, school, shopping, cooking, refereeing disagreements, arranging meet-ups, going to activities, meals, homework, clearing–up, evening routine, washing, ironing and cleaning. The list goes on and on

As parents we dedicate most of our waking hours to looking after our children, earning money for our family and meeting our children’s every need. But for some of us, when it comes to taking time for ourselves, we feel guilty.

So, why is it important to recharge?

  1. You set a healthy example to your children that being a parent does not mean you have to give up your fun and relaxation time
  2. It helps maintain your energy levels to keep going without burn-out or making yourself ill
  3. You keep your mood up and are happier –and a happy parent means a happy child
  4. You can maintain our interests and relationships with adults which gives you a more balanced perspective on life without everything being child-focused
  5. You’re less likely to suffer from depression or over-eating
  6. You give yourself a short break from caring, which allows you to return with renewed enthusiasm for attending to your children

How can you find time away from the children?

For many parents, time and money are an issue, so finding time away from your caring responsibilities is hard. If you can afford it, finding someone to take-over caring for your pre-school children for a few hours a week is ideal. This could be a nanny, au-pair, paid help, crèche, nursery or child-minder. For many, this is a luxury you can’t afford – so you need to get creative.

Partners and extended family are usually the best people to care for your children. (And a great way for your child to spend time and bond with them – a win-win for everyone) Alternatively swap with a friend. You look after their children in return for them looking after yours. When your children reach school-age it is good to set aside a morning or afternoon a week just to stop and do something for yourself.

50 ways to renew your energy levels

Look through the following list and see what you could try.

  1. Go out for a walk in nature
  2. Spend time in a beautiful environment –seaside, country view, lakeside, etc.
  3. Have a good workout or gym session
  4. Have a long bath
  5. Light some scented candles
  6. Curl up with a really good book
  7. Phone or meet up with a good friend
  8. Savour a lovely mug of hot chocolate, tea or coffee
  9. Lie on a beach in the sun, just listening to the waves
  10. Sit quietly and clear your mind
  11. Follow a guided visualisation (find a CD in the library)
  12. Watch your favourite TV programme or movie
  13. Watch a comedy on TV or live
  14. Listen to some great music
  15. De-clutter a room
  16. Snuggle up with your partner or get friends round and watch a DVD together
  17. Bake a cake
  18. Practice long slow breathing
  19. Get your partner or masseuse to give you a foot, hand, scalp or full body massage
  20. Go for a swim
  21. Do some gentle gardening in your garden
  22. Play with your pet
  23. Write in a notebook everything you can be grateful for.
  24. Spend time with a friend who is positive and fun
  25. Spend half an hour gazing at the stars
  26. Do something you know makes you smile
  27. Watch a sunrise or sunset
  28. Do something creative such as painting, drawing, pottery or photography
  29. Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure or facial
  30. Read an inspiring poem, article or book of quotes
  31. Sun-bathe in your garden
  32. Go to bed early or sleep in in the morning
  33. Gaze at some beautiful flowers, a candle or a lovely photo
  34. Read your favourite magazine
  35. Go for a bike ride
  36. Paint your nails or get someone to paint them for you
  37. Spend time in a book shop or library
  38. Volunteer in your local community doing something you enjoy
  39. Surf the internet, find sites that you love and bookmark them
  40. Go to a disco or dance
  41. Have a candle-lit meal
  42. Go to the cinema or theatre
  43. Write a diary
  44. Eat a piece of cake (or something you love) really slowly, savouring every bite.
  45. Sing in your shower or car
  46. Put on your favourite music and dance in your living room
  47. Wrap up with fuzzy socks and a warm, soft blanket or dressing gown
  48. Give yourself a makeover or try a new hairstyle
  49. Write your goals for the week, month and year.
  50. Learn something new like a language, instrument, painting or cooking
  51. Visit an art gallery or museum. Go round & choose your favourite piece in each room
  52. Buy yourself something small –flowers, a plant, a bracelet, poster or book
  53. Clear up the room where you spend the most time
  54. Do some spring cleaning
  55. Research and book a holiday
  56. Think of your favourite meal then plan when you can have it (eat at home/ restaurant)

Some of these suggestions will take minutes, and some will need a few hours. Plan to spend some time EVERY DAY doing little things you enjoy and some time EACH WEEK doing something bigger which will really give you a boost.

If you find yourself thinking ‘I haven’t got time’, have a look at the start of this article and remind yourself of all the reasons why you need to make time!

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

Need help now? Ready to explore whether investing in some tailor-made parenting sessions would be right for you and your family? Book your FREE 20-minute call with Elizabeth here