In the army, there is the term R&R, which stands for rest and recreation, which usually comprised a long weekend, and as parents, we don’t always find that we have the opportunity to truly rest because we are feeling stressed about so many different aspects of life, from rising bills to issues in school. But we have to remember that one of the fundamentals of self-care is truly learning how to look after ourselves when it all gets too much. Having proper rest and recreation is vital, but we can’t always have a real break away from the children. What are some of the best ways to have some quality time away?
Schedule a Night Away
For many parents, the toughest thing is about tearing themselves away from their children for fear that one night away is going to cause ructions in a household. The reality is that the house is not going to explode without you there. You just have to make sure that you have everything in place before you leave.
Half of the reason we don’t relax when we get away is that we believe the house is going to collapse without us holding it up. Instead of worrying, make sure that no stone is left unturned, and if a grandparent is looking after the child, make sure that they have no reason to get in contact with you, unless it’s an emergency. But when it comes to getting away, you also need somewhere that doesn’t feel like home. A lot of people are not going to hotels because hotels can be a very uncomfortable experience, but this is where companies like Villa Pads can make a big difference because you have luxury services that mean you don’t need to lift a finger. Scheduling that night away is tough, but in order to make sure that you enjoy it, you need to communicate everything to those looking after your children, even if they know your child inside out.
Getting Up Before Your Kids
A proper break away from your children is about having that time to yourself, even if your kids are in the same building. One of the most sacred times of the day is when everything is peaceful. Getting up before your kids could be the last thing you want to do, but if your children are old enough and they are now at the point where they are sleeping better, you can get some peace and quiet in here.
Some children have that radar that automatically wakes them as soon as they hear a parent wake, but even having some quiet time in bed can really make a difference to us. Of course, it’s not that easy if you are dealing with sleep-deprived kids, however, there is something very sacred about those quiet mornings before your kids wake up, and can be something to look forward to.
Create a Space for You
This is essential to ensure that you feel like you have something for yourself. The toughest thing about having time to yourself is about getting a physical space. You could benefit from getting an outbuilding if you feel you cannot get away properly. You may find it difficult to lay the ground rules, but if you feel that your mental health is suffering as a parent, you will need to start putting boundaries in place.
Some children respond better to emotional boundaries, but others need to learn the lesson that mommy or daddy needs some quiet time. If you do not have an extra room in the home, you may feel strange about spending time in a closet or even in the bathroom, but you need to communicate to your kids that, whenever you step into your space, it’s mommy time and they cannot speak to you.
You could always set up a corner of the room with a chair and personalize this space to set the scene, especially if you want to start some relaxation practices like deep breathing or meditation. When you start to associate a space as a place that is just for you, and the more your family begins to respect the space, the better it will be and you will start to feel better about yourself.
Find Public Spaces Where Your Kids Can Play
Getting out of the house is critical if you feel constrained by the notion of parenting. You can keep an eye on your children from a safe distance in many parks or adventure playgrounds. The most important thing about this option is that when you choose a place away from home, it gives you the opportunity for a breather. Literally, breathing can make a massive difference to how you’re able to deal with stressors.
When the children are constantly talking or they want something from you all the time, it can be too much to bear, which is why you have to use these opportunities to get your children away from you so they can express themselves, and you can calm down. Sometimes spending more time at home can be constricting, not just for you, but for the children as well. So often, a public space where your children can play will allow that all-important respite.
Choosing Activities Just for You
Part of the reason we don’t feel like we have time away from our children is that we’re doing everything for them and nothing for us. This is why we need to maintain our interests. A hobby that is for you and doesn’t involve children can do a lot to make you feel more content in yourself.
Many parents opt for the gym because they know an hour away from their children with a purpose like improving their health will give them something to look forward to and it can only make them feel better. When you commit to something, make sure it is an event that you can struggle to back out of. If you play an instrument, you can join a band that practices, and doing something that you need to commit to means that you have that opportunity to get out and to feel like you are doing something that is benefiting you, and nobody else.
When we are giving our all to everybody else in our lives, it’s natural that we start to view our own needs as insignificant. But it’s critical to remember that for the sake of self-care, you must prioritize your needs or make your needs the same as everyone else’s.
Those domestic roles that we have to fulfill soon expand to fill any of our spare time, which might be why you should schedule your own hobbies because you will work that much quicker to complete house cleaning duties or prepping lunches so you can go and enjoy the thing that is for nobody else.
Much like a hobby that is for you, having something that engages your brain will stop you from feeling like every part of your life is slowly being frittered away. The toughest thing about being a parent is that, in addition to our physical energies, our mental energies go into ensuring that our children have everything, which means that we invariably suffer in the long run.
Lots of parents think it’s better to give their kids everything they need and to devote all their energies and then find the time to rest and recuperate after the kids have gone to sleep, but parents tend to find that there is still a myriad of tasks to complete.
It’s unlikely 5 minutes will always get in the way, which is why we should learn to schedule those little notions of distraction throughout the day, as this is a far more consistent way of helping us feel level-headed, so we can give the best of ourselves.
As much as you may think that you have no time to complete things, the reality is that you only need a few minutes every few hours for you to decompress. A little distraction, even if it’s a game on your phone that can do a lot to stop you from feeling preoccupied with all of your duties.
As parents, the amount of things we need to complete can feel overwhelming. So, building in 5 minutes for deep breathing, playing a game, or doing a Sudoku puzzle, are all little things that can make a significant difference to the quality of the life you have. Rather than thinking you are the afterthought, it’s time to make sure that you are on level pegging with everyone else in your family.
The reality is that having a proper break away from your children may not be possible in a physical sense, which is why a lot of these tools and tactics take into account the notion of feeling like you are away. It’s not just about taking a vacation from your role as a parent, but sometimes, it can be about taking a vacation from yourself. Rest and recreation are not always about that physical time away. Some of these components can make a massive difference to the quality of your life, especially if you cannot afford to get away right now. Never underestimate what real R&R can do for you.