Me Time: 4 ways to look after yourself when you have young kids
Having young kids is not easy. I can speak very much from experience as I was up several times last night with my two and needless to say, I am neither looking or feeling my best today. It's hard and as young children demand a lot of attention it's really easy to lose sight of yourself a bit. New Year is a really good time to reassess a little and see if there's anything you can do a bit to re-address the balance a bit. That's not to say that you should suddenly start ignoring your kids (which let's face it is unlikely to work anyway, lone trips to the toilet are pretty much a miracle these days), but things which allow you to still feel like a human being and maybe even on top of your game.
Paint your nailsI am super lazy when it comes to makeup, especially when it comes to winter and the rain will inevitably only leave me with panda eyes anyway so I very rarely bother, painting my nails though has been a bit of a revelation. Why? Well, I can do it in a couple of minutes while crashed out on the sofa, it stops me biting my nails and more importantly it makes me feel like a woman who has got her act together. Every time I look at my grey, pink or lilac nails I feel like I ought to be putting a picture of them on Instagram. I am a woman who is Instagrammable, not a woman who looks like a zombie - that's got to be worth two minutes of my time.
Get a kindlePre-kids I used to have a lot of books, 10 thousand to be exact (well, exact-ish, I sold secondhand books on Amazon.) But when I had kids I not only got rid of them all, I stopped reading too. Frankly, I didn't have the time or energy but strangely I did manage to find way too much time to flick through Facebook instead. Having recently treated myself to a kindle I've started to read again, when I'm stuck waiting for school to finish or if I have to sit in the dark because my kid has decided she won't sleep on her own and you know what? Neither thing seems quite so bad anymore, actually, I quite enjoy it.
Do some exerciseI'm a little wary of encouraging exercise as I'm no gym bunny myself but here's the thing: you don't need to do exercise because you need to lose your baby weight (or preschooler weight in my case). You don't need to do exercise because fitting in a dress a size smaller is the thing the route to all happiness. Nope, why you need to do exercise is because it gives you a quick break away from the kids in which you are doing something just for you, getting a bit stronger and healthier. When you're totally knackered from the kids it is crazy hard to do anything but on the days when you do have a bit of energy, it really does help. It doesn't even have to be long either, something that easily fits into your routine.
Do something for someone elseSomething small, something that will make you feel happy. You don't need to be head of the PTA, planning the fundraiser for nursery and running a hostel for all the local wildlife in order to give back in some way, especially if you're already spinning 15 plates (and several cups of coffee) trying to keep up with your kids. We live near the sea and if we go for a walk at the weekend I always take a bag with me to pick up some rubbish from the beach, just doing a two-minute beach clean makes a difference both to the area and also to my state of mind. Other easy ways to help out are to pop something in a donation box for your local food bank, buy local and support local businesses, give something to a charity shop or leave a note in a library book for the next reader - extra points if it's in a parenting book and you tell them they're doing an awesome job.
How do you ensure you get some 'me time' to relax and recharge? Let us know your TLC tips in a comment below, or find out how to beat the January blues for tips you can use all year round!