Relaxation? What’s that when you’re a mum? I almost think it’s insulting when someone tells me to… just relax. Um, hello? I’m a mum of two kids, I have another on the way, I have a household to run, to clean, to mend, to maintain. I have groceries to buy, food to cook, washing that needs washing, drying, sorting. There’s no time to relax!
Ok, so we all know when you’re a mum the chances of booking in a weekly (or even yearly) massage or spa treatment are pretty bloody slim (unless you’re an A list celebrity with a nanny perhaps!).
But that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own little relaxation hour at home one night a week when the kids are in bed. Yes, there will be things that need doing but these things won’t get done productively if you don’t take some R&R and you don’t sleep well. Just like a car, we need a service at least one night a week (and the type of service we need isn’t the naughty kind that hubby might be thinking…thank you very much!).
As a mum, taking time out is very important to our health and wellbeing because we all know if the captain goes down the whole ship sinks with her (or however the saying goes).
It’s important, that even just once a week, you take an hour to at least try to relax and switch off your brain, listen to your mind, body and spirit and connect with all three again after a crazy “mama life” day/week. It will help you prepare for a good night sleep, which will then prepare you to face the daily grind / morning mayhem / school drop off / toddler birthday party / work meeting / grocery shopping / housework / pre–schooler tantrum etc… tomorrow.
Winding down after a manic day (or week) is the key to balancing the way we can properly nurture others and successfully take care of ourselves. We need a break too! Even if it is only for one hour!
Here are my tips for including a “relax hour” one night a week;
1. Choose a night and time that best suits you to fit in the hour session and stick to it. No ifs, buts, or maybes!
2. On that night resist the temptation to sit on the couch and watch TV and instead head to the bathroom.
3. Turn off ALL technology, i.e., TV, iPad, computer, phone (unless you need your phone to play some relaxation music).
4. Light some fragrant candles in your bathroom and turn off the main lights. You will need enough candles to light up the bathroom dimly.
5. Pop on some relaxation music. Make a playlist of some soothing tunes. My faves include Little Chief by Xavier Rudd, Bones by Josh Record and Wait by Patrick James. Again, be sure to make a new relaxation playlist, I soon learnt my lesson after “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” came on suddenly during a shuffle one night and totally ruined my Zen. Another option is to download the Pandora App and put on a relaxation station, I love Spa Radio; it takes me to another world!
6. Hop into the shower or the bath. Personally I prefer the running water in the shower, it helps me let go of tension easier. Sprinkle in some salts if you’re having a bath or if in the shower lather on some exfoliate.
7. Once finished (after taking your time!), get dry and moisturise everywhere. Keep the lights off, the candles burning and the music on and moisturize your entire body with something that smells like a day spa. My moisturizer reminds me of past pamper trips to Endota Spa (pre kids of course! Why did I need one then, I do not know!).
8. Pop on your fave comfy PJs, switch on a lamp in the bedroom (don’t forget to blow out the candles in the bathroom!) and keep the relaxation music going while you pour yourself a cup of evening tea or any herbal tea and slide into bed.
9. Then, just sit for a while. I know it’s hard to imagine just sitting and doing nothing, no phone, no Tv, just sitting, but I promise it can be done! Just enjoy the music while you sip on your tea and let go of the day… ready to start a fresh tomorrow. You could even pop on the Smiling Mind app and do a little meditation if you wish. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for the busy mama!
10. If you do have a lot on your mind and still can’t seem to switch off (which to be honest would be most of us) write a “to do list” so all the tasks you have still on your mind can leave your brain and don’t have to think about them anyway. Then finally, lay down, snuggle up, shut your eyes and drift off to sleep using a technique I learnt in pregnancy yoga which involves focusing on different parts of your body from your tips of your toes to the top of your head (Smiling Mind can help you with this too). Follow your focus all the way through each part of your body, tensing and then letting go until you drift off to sleep.
I know – since adding this ritual to my weekly routine – I have felt better prepared for the day ahead and, if nothing else, my skin is super soft from the lathers of extra moisturizer!
After all, what mama doesn’t deserve a pamper (even if it is DIY!).