Alright, confession time….sometimes I really just don’t want to be around my kid. I love him and I’m happy to be able to stay at home with him, but sometimes I just want 5 minutes to myself. Really I’d love a whole day but who am I kidding? Having some time to yourself is super important as a parent, well for any person in general, but I think as parents we tend not to prioritize that time. I encourage you to find small ways to incorporate “me time” into your daily routine and we can talk about how to do that in another post. For now, on those days where it’s just you and your kiddo(s) and there’s no alone time in sight, here are 6 ways to “escape” when you can’t actually get away (from your kids):
- Breath- yes, just breath. Next time you’re stressed out or low on patience, check in with yourself. Are you breathing? Are you breathing in and out of your nose? I’ll bet you’re either partially holding your breath, or your breathing heavily through your mouth. Anatomically, we are built to breath through our noses during normal day to day activities. There are so many benefits including warming and moistening the air coming into your lungs, filtering out microbes, allergens and particles, and ensuring that we take in the appropriate amount of air. We are also built to mouth breath when our fight or flight reflexes kick in, in order to rapidly move oxygen to our muscles. There may not be a lion chasing you down, but when you haven’t slept more than a few hours at a time and your toddler is climbing on (and almost falling off) all the furniture, your brain doesn’t really know the difference. Breathing through your nose helps you to relax and avoid this state. If you find yourself becoming frantic during the day, take a second and concentrate on breathing through your nose. You’ll be surprised how relaxing it is. Take it one step further, close your eyes (tie down all the kids first) and try this breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil. It can be a very effective 1 minute escape.
- Color-Coloring is not just for the kiddos, psychologists are pegging it as an alternative to meditation. So pull out the crayons, markers, color pencils and paper or grab one of many adult coloring books found on Amazon. This one may be tough to do if while the kids are awake if you have one who is still more interested in eating the coloring tools than using them like mine, in which case this would be a great post baby bedtime, pre adult bedtime activity. If you’re able to color with your kiddos, join the fun and escape to a colorful land of your choosing.
- Go Outside- You may not be in an exotic location but just getting outside for a little sun and nature can do wonders. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression and increased risk of depression and the best source is that big glowing ball of orange in the sky. While you’re soaking up the sun, take off your shoes, put your feet on the ground and connect to the Earth’s natural energy. It’s called Earthing. We are so far removed from nature most of the time, it can be so relaxing to reconnect. Just changing scenery by getting out of the house can be beneficial.
- Read Fiction- This one may have to wait until the kids are in bed unless they are old enough for family reading time- side note, I cannot wait to read some of my childhood favorite chapter books to Holden as he gets older! I try to make time for 15-30 minutes of reading before bed. Always Fiction and Always Paperback. These two are important. You’re not going to escape from anywhere if you’re reading a self help book or the newest memoir. You need to dive into a place and time different from your own. My favorite genre is Fantasy but you can choose any genre you like as long as it’s fiction. I only read paperback before bed because screens can confuse the brain and cause issues with sleeping and I need all I can get. I also think that reading a paperback is better because you don’t end up getting all those notifications of other things. If you have a tablet that is only a book reader than that might work during daylight hours but if you’re trying to really get into a book and Facebook is sending push notifications every couple of minutes, you’ll never really feel immersed.
- Change Location- I often find myself wanting to get away when I’m stuck all day in the house with just me, Holden and Bella. Even going outside in the backyard or to the park isn’t enough to pick us out of our funk. For these times, we go somewhere- Target (so dangerous), a friends house, the grocery store. I prefer to go to a friends house that has other kids. I can usually relax, sip a beverage (usually water, lol) and talk while the kids play. If you can’t go to a friends house, try to interact with other people while you’re out, this makes me feel more like an adult.
- Play A Game- At the time of this post, Holden and I are visiting my parents. We’ve been playing “baseball” in the back yard the last couple of days. At 15 months this mainly involves an my dad and I hitting an inflated ball with an old plastic whiffle bat, then running the bases while the other person fields the ball, grabs Holden and runs after them to tag them out. No rules, but so much fun! And you know what? I forget about everything I’m worried about when I’m running with my kid. If you have older kids can you play a dress up game with them or maybe teach them a card or board game? Becoming immersed in activities like these can be so therapeutic and you probably won’t remember why you needed to escape in the first place!
If all else fails, make sure the furniture is all secured to the walls, the valuables are hidden away and lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes!