Stressed Out and Need Time for Yourself. 20 Things To Try Right Now!

20 Things you can do right now guaranteed to make you less stressed.

“No! No! Nooooo! Go away! Go play with your mom! Why are you near me!?” is all I hear as my 3-year-old is fed up with her 1-year old sister trying to come into her fort. As I sit and try to take a quick phone call with my mother, I lose it and yell, “why can’t she come in? She is not doing anything wrong.” Now everyone is crying. I in no way met my goal of quieting the kids so I could enjoy a moment to myself. Instead, I hang up the phone and “mommy guilt” begins to set in. Not just for yelling but for what I said. Baby Girl just wanted to be left alone. She wanted some time to herself. I mean, her delivery could’ve been nicer, but she had a right to her feelings. How could I be upset about that? That’s all I wanted for myself. I expect her to respect my space, just as she expects her little sister to respect hers. As I agonized over this situation, of what to do and how to handle it better the next time (because there will be a next time) I realized the kids have moved on and were playing nicely together. They are excited to show me that they have made up and have solved their problem themselves.

So now I sit bored, thinking. I’m not going to call my mom back, she’s probably busy. What can I do for 5 minutes (because I know that’s all the time I have before their peace treaty expires). Well I took some time to write out a list. I wrote a list of things that I can do that will make me happy. This way, I would have something to refer to whenever I had a moment or desperately needed a moment for myself. Now, I no longer get stuck jumping right into chores that don’t and won’t make me happy. Instead, I can have more little moments to myself throughout the day. Some ideas I came up with were for when I had longer moments like 20-30 minutes, but some can simply be done in 5 minutes. Other ideas were for moments when I had a babysitter. I’m going to share the list with you, in hopes that it helps you find more ways in your day to spoil yourself. Start on something and whenever you have a moment go back to it.

1. Make a list 

Make a to-do list. Make a list of things you need to get done. Then make a list of things you want to get done. Start a list of dreams and goals. Start a running list of positive things that have happen in your day, positive thoughts about yourself and family, then post it up to add to often and refer to during those tough times. This can then turn around and be used as morning inspiration. 

2. Plan 

Like I said in my blog on the importance of self-care, if you don’t plan, it will not happen. Take that little five-minute break and create a plan, write it down. For anything really. Plan a date night with your spouse. Check your calendar and see where you can squeeze in some time to go get a manicure. What ever it is that you’ve been wanting to do. Plan it now.

3. Send a text

First check your text. Make sure you’ve responded to everyone you meant to respond to. Then reconnect with an old family member or friend. Old friends remind us of who we are and who we used to be before children and careers. These are the people that know everything about you and wont judge you when you need to vent. They're likely to know just what you need for some cheering up. They also are more likely to give you the cold truth when you need it most. Plan a lunch date and catch up.

4. Make a Doctors appointment 

Yup. Do that now. Its easy to forget and put off making that appointment. I’m really bad at this. I haven’t gone to my optometrist in over 3 years. I desperately need a new glasses prescription. Now, Baby Girl has broken my glasses and I still haven’t made an appointment. With so many other pressing matters it can be hard to set that appointment in stone. However, I will very soon. I know my health is just as important as my child’s.

5. Write 

Take a piece of paper and just right. With no prompt, no goal, just write all those thoughts out and let them flow. Let the positivity shine on paper or let the negativity out of your brain and rip it up when you’re done. Use this to clear your head. Start a gratitude journal. Write down affirmations. Take time to write a daily reflection. Start writing that book you’ve always wanted to write. I take all the free moments I can to write these blog post. It can take days just to write one. I may write 5 minutes here or 30 minutes there. Then an hour rewriting. Then an hour to edit and organize. All this time is split in 10-minute intervals. I know I could get more done if I had a solid block of time. However, that’s not my reality right now and what makes me happy is writing. Rather it be 5 minutes or 5 hours. Find journal prompts to get you started.

6. Create 

Create something. Draw a picture. Color. As adults we don’t get to let our creative juice flow enough. I love the color-by-number app on my phone. I don’t consider myself to be creative in any way but seeing such beautiful artwork that I’ve completed, gives me a sense of pride. I now purchase color by number coloring books for myself. When I need a moment to calm down or re-channel any anger I pull it out. If your crafty you may enjoy painting, crocheting, knitting, hand lettering, scrapbooking, bullet journaling, sewing, or embroidery. Create a playlist. Start forming those lists for all those special and not so special moments. Make a cleanup list, a bad day list, a good day list, a throwback list, a new school list and a date night list. Taking the time to create these will come in handy.

7. Listen to Music

Creating a playlist is fun. Putting that playlist on at the right time and the right volume is even more fun. Music helps me to focus. Often, I put it on when I am cleaning but mostly when I am working. Working from home means working while my kids are right in front of me playing loudly. I use music to drown them out. A soft low instrumental gives me just the focus I need. Other times when I’m cooking I want the music loud and the bass pumping. It gives me the energy I need to get through cooking with the little people under my feet.  So, the next time your kids are driving you crazy throw on that old school playlist and let your mind drift.

8. Dance 

This is my go-to for some “me-time”. If the kids are really driving me insane I will quickly turn on my Y2K playlist and dance like I’m a teenager back in my bedroom in my momma’s house. Dancing changes my mood quickly. It does the same for my kiddos. Anything that keeps them happy is always a win. They love dancing around to the oldies of 2005 😊.

9. Listen to a podcast

This has been a new thing for me. Podcast are vital for my inspiration. It’s not always easy for people to motivate themselves or find family or friends to motivate them. There are so many podcasts that do just that. Find a station that resonates with you. Topics include everything from family, marriage, kids, parenting, depression, divorce, and business. Everything you can think of. I’m sure there’s a station you will love.  I listen to them all day, while working, cleaning or cooking. I just throw an episode on and put the phone in my pocket. It may take a lot of start and stop to get through one episode, but it keeps me inspired.

10. Read

Read a magazine or a book. I have never been a “reader”. This is something that I truly wish to change. I’ve always said I don’t like reading but I saw a quote somewhere that said something along the lines of “those who don’t like reading just haven’t found what they like to read yet”. This I believe to be completely true. I am not really a novel person. Yet, I could read 100 blogs a day and I love a simple finance book. I enjoy reading self-help books. I don’t take action often (if at all) on the information I get from these books. However, I get a real sense of joy when I learn something knew that I could apply at any moment that will make my life easier. As for you, find the thing you love to read. Pull out those favorites and try some new. Bookmarks were invented for a reason. If your interrupted, you can always get back to it. This gives you something amazing to look forward to. Having something to look forward to gives you one more tilt towards having a joyful day.

  11. Go outside

Take the kids outside. We all know this works. If the day is getting a little difficult take the kids to the park and let them run around. However, during this time don’t feel that the kids can’t use this time to play without you. Make this a moment for yourself. Look over this list, pick something and do it outside. My absolute favorite thing to do is go outside by myself. As a stay at home mom this is a rare thing for me. I try to create a balance between my breaks and Dad’s breaks. He may get a break from the children all day at work, but I don’t want to immediately throw the children at him when he walks through the doors. I like to consider what type of day he may have had at work first.  “Me-time” is important for everyone, not just moms. I try and wait a little while, before leaving the family and taking a moment to go for a walk and be by myself.

12. Take the long way home

Sometimes we just aren’t ready to deal with what is coming to us when we get home. If its one of those days take the long way home. Turn this into your regular route home. Knowing each day that you have added 5-10 minutes of time for yourself to listen to that extra song or finish up that podcast in the car can make you a little more resilient to the stress of home.

13. Go shopping 

Buy yourself something. Don’t be afraid to spend a little on yourself. There is always room in the budget for something a little extra nice for yourself. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It could be a cup of hot coffee or flowers. A new piece of jewelry or shirt. Something that’s going to make your day that much more special.

14. Take a bath 

Yup, I had to include it. I feel like this one is considered to be overshared and most people feel they will never have the time for it. Well, schedule it. Schedule a time and day every week that you know you can have 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time to sit and take a nice warm bubble bath. Light some candles. Play some music and sip some wine.

15. Take a shower 

No time for a bath? Well simply take a shower. Freshen up. Get yourself dressed. Throw on some makeup and do your hair. If you never have time to straighten your hair, do it now. You always want to curl your hair? Do it now. Which ever you never have time for, do it now. Looking good does make you feel better. I don’t wear makeup, never have. I no longer enjoy wearing high heels or dresses, but whenever I take time and put on a pair of jeans I feel amazing.

16. Speed clean 

Sometimes it’s the mess that’s driving us crazy. My children are only 1 and 3 so often times my stress comes from seeing the clutter all over my living room. It bothers them, and it bothers me. It’s so subtle that we don’t realize it’s the reason behind our negative attitudes. So, no matter how much fun it seems like the kids are having, I throw on some music and tell everyone its time to clean up. They start with all the toys they pulled out that they are no longer playing with. I put on a timer for 10 or 20 minutes and just get to cleaning. Usually after ten minutes I tell the kids they can continue playing. Then I will use the last 10 minutes to finish things I want to do, like the kitchen or laundry. Another thing is to take ten minutes and clean one thing. It could be a drawer or a counter.  Maybe even just clean off your dresser tops. Fold the pile of laundry that’s been sitting on that chair. It helps me feel accomplished and it’s what I wanted to do for me.

17. Remodel your house

Okay, maybe not remodel. But change some things up. Add some flowers or burn a candle. Change out the pictures in your frames. Put a new bed set on your bed. Add a couple of pillows to your bed or couches. Rotate some furniture around. Hang a new painting. Do something that will revive your home.

18. Fantasize

Zone out for a moment. Fantasize about the perfect day and the perfect moment. Describe all the elements. What does the air feel like? What does it smell like? Where are you? What are you wearing? Are the kids there? Is your spouse there? What does it sound like? Is there any music? What are you doing exactly? Are you running your business? Is it completely different from what your doing right now? Day dream of your perfect life. Is it entirely different from the life you live right now? Decide if it is something that can become a reality. Consider the steps you must take to get to that point in life. Write it all down. Each time you need a pick-me-up go to this place and relive it.

19. Pamper yourself

Paint your own nails. Drink a glass of wine while you soak your feet in some warm water. Burn a candle and listen to some good music. Take a break to eat a good snack. I love a good ice cream, but you know what they say, you can never go wrong with a chocolate bar. Take a moment to meditate. I’ve tried this a few times in the past but could never calm myself enough. However, many people have found success in meditation and credit many of their successes to it.

20. Workout

Don’t worry about doing anything strenuous or a vigorous workout. You could do some simple relaxing yoga. I find a beginner video on YouTube and do it right in my living room with the kids playing around me and joining in and out. You could do a quick jog. This is something you can do right inside your house. I like to turn on a jog or run video to keep me motivated through it and within 15-20 minutes I’ve had a full workout. You could simply pop in a cardio workout video. A family favorite is to turn on our Just Dance game. That’s a real fun workout. We also have Just Dance Kids which is even easier for the kids but still gives me a bit of a good workout session. We will also reach to turn on our Zumba game. Just do something that will get your blood pumping and relieve some stress.

Bottom line 

Just do it. Get rid of the guilt that you have to be there for everyone else or things will fall apart. You work hard for everyone. Its time you spread some of that energy towards yourself. Create a bedtime routine that will allow you to do for yourself each night to refuel your tank. This routine should be centered around things that make YOU happy. It should not be centered around household chores, your children, nor your spouse. What are things that you want to do everyday that will make you happy? For me, it’s reading a blog post and writing down knew ideas for activities with the kids. Then listening to a podcast while I work on my blog. For you it could just be making sure you get that bath and taking time to moisturize. It could be any number of things on and off this list. The important thing isn’t what you do it’s that you find the time to do something for yourself.

What is your go to way of taking a moment for yourself? Let me know in the comments below.