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5 Tips for Taking 5 Minutes as a Mom

A psychologist shares her 5 tips for taking 5 minutes as a mom because taking care of yourself helps you take care of others.

Published September 10, 2019

by Elizabeth Hentschel, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist, Perinatal Mental Health Specialist
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We all know there’s always a laundry list of chores (which happens to always include laundry). We also know mamas tend to run out of time before getting to what they want to do for themselves (like showering). Since taking care of yourself helps you care for everyone else, we should probably move “figure out taking 5 minutes as a mom” to the top of the to-do list.

5 Tips for Taking 5 Minutes as a Mom:

1. Batch where you can.

Think of the things you do every day, like making food and getting dressed. If you could do all of one task at once, that would save time every other day for you to do something else.

For example, I wear an outfit to work every weekday, and on the weekends, I still have to find some leggings. The old way, I would spend at least 5 stressful minutes every morning looking for something clean, fit, and coordinated. Batching means I spend about 10 minutes on Sunday choosing 5 work outfits and setting out a few comfy clothes.

Don’t even get me started on the advantages of batching food prep, which otherwise takes time in my mornings, days, and nights. That stress and monotony, plus the time spent taking things in and out of the fridge and pantry every single time, adds up quickly. Save it! Batch what you can, taking 5 minutes as a mom with the time you’ve saved.

2. Take your time doing chores you don’t mind.

It may surprise you because it did me, but mindfully doing chores can relieve stress and inspire you. There are some chores we just have to do. Dishes can’t sit in the sink forever. Laundry can’t sit in the dryer indefinitely. You get the idea.

Pick the chores you don’t hate, and find what’s interesting about them. Take doing the dishes as an example. Appreciate the warmth of the water. Notice the rainbows in the bubbles. Listen to the clanging and swishing sounds. Smell the scent of the soap. You won’t spend any more time doing the thing you have to do, but you may get a whole lot more out of it.

3. Get up 5 minutes earlier or stay up 5 minutes later.

Starting and ending the day feeling in control sets the tone for your day. As sweet as it is, when my toddler wakes me up in the morning, I rarely feel ready to jump up and take on the day as he does. I find that setting the alarm for just a few minutes earlier than I think he’ll wake up gives me time to take 3 deep breaths, set my intention for the day, and generally recognize who I am as separate from all the people who need me—same thing at night. Running ragged until bedtime means going to bed with a racing mind and body, neither promoting good sleep. Find the time that can be only yours, taking 5 minutes as a mom at the beginning or end of the day.

4. Plug in some stories or music to the time you’re already spending.

If you prefer peace and quiet on your commute or while doing chores, relish in it. If you’re like most of us, though, you zone out a lot throughout the day. You get things done but don’t know how you did them. Take these times to listen to a new album, a podcast, or an audiobook. You’ll still be getting things done and may enjoy the time more.

5. Communicate your needs.

Unfortunately (and fortunately), people can’t read our minds. It may be obvious to us that we need a break, but that doesn’t mean it’s obvious to anyone else. Once you realize you want to carve out a little time, ask for help. Brainstorm and develop a plan with your partner, a family member, or a friend. Maybe you’ll set up a regular time just for you, or perhaps you’ll ask for 5 minutes at the moment you need it. Either way, chances are others will feel happy you asked, and you’ll feel happy to take a break.

You care best for others when you care well for yourself!

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  • Author
Elizabeth Hentschel, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, Perinatal Mental Health Specialist
  • Website

Elizabeth Hentschel, Ph.D. is a psychologist and founder of The Parenting Well. She specializes in working with individuals who are parents or parents-to-be. Elizabeth lives in Houston with her husband,… Read more

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