Okay, mama, I see you. I know those days when you feel yourself literally dragging before lunch time. You had a hard night’s sleep (or non-sleep). You had to will yourself out of bed in the morning, and you find yourself falling asleep playing trains or reading Pinkalicious. Believe me, I have been there more times than I can count! To help us all out as the busy holiday season approaches, I’ve come up with a list of 21 ways for moms to avoid mommy burnout!
Now the beauty of these suggestions is that every single one can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. With kiddos around at all times, it can be nearly impossible to have any amount of “alone time,” right?! Put the littles down for a nap, and the big ones in front of a show (no judgment! I’m just suggesting for a little bit!), and choose one of the activities below when you need a boost during the day.
1. Get some fresh air.
When my hubby was deployed and I had 5 littles in a tiny Japanese house, I would often need to set the baby down and tell the kids that I needed a minute’s peace. I’d step outside our side door and just breathe for a few minutes. Getting outside and breathing the fresh air for a few minutes was all I needed.
2. Make a cup of tea.
I love getting out one of my pretty mugs, heating up some water and dropping in a little tea bag. Swilling it around gently with a spoon just helps me feel relaxed. One of my new favorites right now is Stash’s Premium peppermint tea. It’s perfect for the season and the peppermint gives just a little energy punch that I love. Another year-round favorite of mine is The Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Organic Herbal Tea. So calming!
3. Turn on your favorite song/playlist and bust a move.
You know those moms that you see breaking it down in their minivans to old school rap songs? Those moms are my people. Whether you need a pick-me-up as you drive or a minute to recharge during the day, create a fun playlist and rock out to a song or two, with or without your kids.
4. Get a drink of water.
Aside from waking you up, staying hydrated is known to help your mental functioning and increase your productivity. If you want to make it more interesting, throw in some ice and berries or citrus slices to flavor it just a touch. Most women need about 9 cups of water a day to stay properly hydrated. So get yourself a cute water bottle and fill it up!
5. Text a friend/Leave a Marco Polo.
Reaching out to someone is always a great way for moms to avoid mommy burnout! Women are relational creatures by nature, yet many moms feel quite isolated throughout their days. When we make the effort to establish or nurture a friendship, we are appealing to the natural desire for community that so many of us are seeking. And don’t forget – just communicating with another adult can be enough to help us remember that we are not so alone in this world!
6. Take a micro-nap.
Sleep experts interviewed for The Wall Street Journal shared that a 10-20 minute nap is the best length for someone who seeks to build alertness. If you still have kids who nap, try to nap at the same time they do. Just set an alarm or a timer for less than an hour, and you will wake up feeling refreshed.
7. Massage some hand lotion into your hands.
My absolute favorite hand lotion is this hand cream by Andalou Naturals. The lavender smells lovely and the shea butter and cocoa butter leaves my hands feeling so hydrated and soft. I put it on every night when I pray. I’ll just be honest, without this nightly lotion ritual, I would fall asleep every. single. time. Our hands work so hard all day long. Take a few minutes and give them some pampering that they deserve!
8. Practice 8-count breathing.
This is such an easy way for moms to avoid mommy burnout. It can be done in any setting and in any situation. Simply draw in your breath through the nose for an 8 count, hold for 8 seconds, and breathe it out through the mouth for 8 more seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times, and you will feel renewed.
9. Have a short meditation session.
Find a quiet spot for 10 minutes and try a little guided meditation. Both Headspace and Mindfulness apps have shorter sessions that you could complete in a short amount of time. This post by Healthline has a great list of meditation apps for you to check out! Many of these apps also have a free trial, so if you’ve never practiced meditation before, give them a try!
10. Take a shower.
This is one of my favorites. Just taking 10 minutes to hop in the shower and get yourself clean is such a wonderful pick-me-up! There have been many times that I have set my young child down on the bathroom floor with plenty of toys and hopped in the shower for a short spray-off. You could easily follow it up with a quick make-up session. To read more about why I feel so strongly about moms making the time to get dressed and ready everyday, read this post! There are so many important things that happen for us mentally when we take the time to shower and get dressed!
11. Read a chapter of a book.
For years I believed that I just didn’t have time to read. Then I learned that I have to MAKE the time! Giving the brain time to focus on something new and novel is so helpful as it breaks up the monotony of our everyday tasks. And if there is any profession that is full of monotonous tasks, it is motherhood, is it not?!
12. Write down 5 things you are thankful for.
The effect of gratitude on our daily lives is huge! Try to be specific in recording your thanks. Writing what we are thankful for helps us to stop focusing on all the negative things happening during our day. Instead we begin to focus on all the things that are going right. Those who practice gratitude on a daily basis report living happier and more fulfilled lives.
13. Give yourself a facial or try a new mask.
If you’re like me, trips to the spa can be few and far between, but just refreshing my skin with a new mask or facial leaves me feeling recharged. I have a daily mask that I use from Rodan and Fields, but I am a big fan of the Detoxifying Charcoal Face Mask from Lemongrass Spa as well.
14. Do some yoga.
I am recovering from a back injury and have absolutely loved learning yoga during my rehab! Some great and simple poses for this would be supported child’s pose, downward dog, various vinyasa flows, sun salutations, and the like. You can search on YouTube for some great yoga sessions. I really like the yoga course offered in the my SWEAT workout app as well.
15. Give yourself a mini massage.
I tend to hold a lot of stress in my forehead (hence the wrinkles). But I’ve been learning how to softly pinch my eyebrow with the pointer finger above my eyebrow and the thumb below. Then I slowly pull my fingers outward toward my temples, following the curve of my brow. Give it a try. Feels good, huh? You could also massage your hands, head, and ankles if you carry tension there too.
If you have a treadmill, hop on for 10 minutes and walk or jog. Do some squats or sit ups, jumping jacks or lunges. Again, I love the SWEAT app. It offers everything from quick at-home workouts that take about 15 minutes to longer, gym-based workouts.
The adult coloring trend has some really great health benefits. Studies have shown that coloring leads to a decrease in stress and anxiety, improved focus and better sleep. Journaling is a wonderful way to relax and can take just a few minutes at a time. Done consistently, it will leave you with a wonderful record of your days.
If you feel restless, do some simple standing stretches. Stand with your arms high above your head, touch your toes, slowly swivel your head, rotate your arms, or stretch your legs. This post from Healthy Women has some super simple stretches listed step by step. Stretching helps relieve tension in our muscles and is such a simple way to avoid mommy burnout.
19. Give yourself a mini manicure or pedicure.
I know a full up mani takes a lot longer than 10 minutes, but you can break it down into smaller time chunks. Start by soaking your hands in warm water with a teaspoon of coconut oil for 3-4 minutes. Push your cuticles back and trim your nails and cuticles as desired. Apply your favorite lotion. In another 10 minute session, gently push your cuticles back if needed, and apply your polish. Dry with a hair dryer to set it quick. I almost always do my nails right before church because I know I’ll be sitting still for a while!
20. Do something that makes you laugh.
I love to watch a few snippets of Jimmy Fallon on YouTube from time to time, talk to a friend who I know will make me laugh, or watch America’s Funniest Videos with my kids. A study in Norway reveals that those with a good sense of humor live longer than those who don’t! Laughter is a wonderful medicine!
Notice that none of these suggestions mention social media. Trust me, I love Instagram as much as anyone, but I have also come to learn that it is not an avenue for my relaxation! Keep that in mind, my friend. It is such a natural response for us to pull out our phones every time we sit down, but I encourage you to try some of these other suggestions the next time you need to do something to avoid mommy burnout.
Finally, while these ideas are great for helping moms to avoid mommy burnout, one of the very best things a mom can do is to wake up BEFORE her kids. Trust me mama, if you can make this a habit, it is one you will never go back on! I share all the little details about how I have managed to change from a complete night owl to a morning person in this post here: Insider Secrets to Waking Up Before Your Kids.
What other ideas do you have to help moms avoid mommy burnout?!