How to recharge your batteries, no matter how much (or little) time you have

Woman taking selfie photograph

Too often, mums run on low batteries. We spend all our waking hours chasing around after others, trying to keep the house running, juggling kitchen and cleaning duties while barely finding the time to empty a straining bladder.

But it makes no sense – finding ways to take a break from the endless monotony treadmill of family life is important. We simply can’t run on empty forever. We need to put something back into the tanks and the best and fastest way to do this is with a little self-care. 

So no matter how much – or how little – time you think you can find, make it a priority this week to do something for YOU! With a bit of regular time spent nurturing yourself, you’ll be amazed by how much more joy you get out of the everyday stuff.

If you have an hour to spend

If you are super time-poor, chances are that you are in urgent need of some down time. Make the most of what you have – even if it’s just an hour – and start by making a plan. It’s too easy to lose what little time you have available to you by wafting around being indecisive. So with this in mind, think about what’s doable and then go do it!

Easy ideas include:

  • Grabbing a book and leaving the house – spend an hour soaking up the sun at your local park or beach.
  • Taking a stroll to a local coffee shop and soaking in the atmosphere without having to worry about spilled babyccinos.
  • Enjoying the serenity with a silent hour spent in the bath undisturbed.

If you have a couple of hours to spend

What can’t a busy mum squeeze into a couple of spare hours? Just don’t fall into the trap of being too ambitious with your time. Remember that you’re meant to be recharging your batteries, not wearing yourself out trying to tick too many boxes on your Me-Time list! Pick one thing and do it well.

You could try:

  • Making a movie date with yourself. Choose the movie that YOU want to see, and buy the movie snacks you want to eat. Bliss.
  • Booking a hair appointment. Or a massage. Or a pedicure. In a nutshell, make time for some quality pampering that will give you a glow for hours after.
  • Indulging in a little window shopping. For a couple of hours, you can pretend there are no bills to pay, and instead daydream about what you might buy in this pretend world where all your money is your own.

If you have a day to spend

If you find yourself in possession of one unprogrammed day, guard it well! Don’t be seduced into thinking you can do a few necessary chores and then you’ll have all the rest of the day to do what you want – before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a queue at Bunnings holding some sheets of sandpaper wondering what happened to the day.

Instead, think about:

  • Heading out on a mini road trip. Grab a girlfriend and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. Stop for lunch. Take a bush walk. Poke around in unfamiliar towns or suburbs.
  • Having a tourist-in-your-own-town day. Find out what’s happening in your area and then go and check it out. It’s always amazing how often the locals miss out on the great stuff going on.
  • Hiding under the covers. If you can manage the trick of handing the kids to a willing helper, you can revel in the silence of an empty house, have a long steamy bath, order UberEats and fire up Netflix. Heaven.

If you have a night to spend

Free nights are something very special. If you’ve managed to sneak out on your own and leave everyone at home, you are already a winner before you embark on any Night Out Celebrations! Knowing that going too hard on a rare night out is paid back twice over the next day, it’s wise to keep your plans modest yet achievable.

How about:

  • A cocktail or three and a movie. Gold Class, if you can manage it. Because ordering snacks and drinks while watching a movie of your choice is pure heaven.
  • Dinner out. Sitting in a restaurant and ordering a meal of your choice is a no-brainer when you have a night off, because NOT being responsible for producing food for a bunch of ungrateful family members is the great gift a tired mum can get.
  • Booking tickets to a comedy show. There is nothing that recharges the batteries quite like a good long belly laugh.

If you have a weekend to spend

If you’ve hit the jackpot and managed to score yourself an entirely free weekend, then there is very little you cannot do (other than leave the country, of course, unless you really WANT to spend more time in transit than at your destination).  To make the absolute most of a free weekend, you do need to make an actual plan, but it is so worth it.

Think about planning:

  • A staycation. It might feel a bit mad NOT to go anywhere when you can, but how good would a sleep-in, followed by a lazy breakfast reading all the papers and mags you want, followed by a walk, followed by lazy lunch, followed by an afternoon siesta, followed by dinner and a movie be? And then repeat on Day Two. Good, huh?!
  • An escape to a retreat. No matter where you live, you won’t have to look far from home for a retreat that offers all the yoga, meditation and mindfulness you’ll need to recharge those batteries. Destinations such as Billabong Retreat, nestled in glorious bush surrounds, is a mere 45 minutes out of Sydney and will do as much for restoring your spirit as it will for your body.
  • A visit to a friend’s place. You know that fabulous friend who’s moved away and is always saying you must catch up? Now is the time to do it! Pack a bag, hit the road and spend 48 hours laughing and eating and generally wondering why you don’t do this more often.

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