Five Quick and Easy Ways to Give Yourself a Break as a Parent

Author: one tough job

Our children have recess, snack breaks, and a book before bed worked into their routines – but parents can benefit from similar breaks throughout the day. Even five-minute breaks between tasks can help you re-energize and be ready to tackle the next thing on your list. Carve out some time—and give yourself a break—with some of these tips.

1. Break Your To-Do List Into Chunks and Reward Yourself

Use a method called the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is to work on tasks for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a five-minute rest. After four sets of these 30-minute intervals, take a longer break. You and your child can work on this one together. Perhaps you are helping your kid with homework, and you can both utilize this technique. Don’t be afraid to employ this for yourself, too! Separate your workday into chunks or give yourself a break after rounds of cleaning the house.

2. Move Around

Your kids get a scheduled recess time to run around and socialize with friends before refocusing on school tasks. Give yourself a recess, too! If you are a regular exerciser, continue to schedule this into your day or join a running group with friends. Walking each day also provides benefits, so don’t stress if this is not you. Park further away in the grocery store lot or walk around the neighborhood or workplace in between meetings. Incorporate time to do this with your family or spend time enjoying a peaceful walk with a podcast.

3. Nature Bathe

Spend some time enjoying the fresh air and soak up some vitamin D. Sit on a park bench for a few minutes or take a walk around a local forest. You can take short breaks to do this throughout the day or try a longer outing on the weekends. This can be a family or group activity but simply taking the time to sit outside and smell the air, feel the wind on your skin, and observe the color of the leaves can be quite calming.

4. Take a Break From Screens

We worry about our kids staring at screens too often but forget that taking time away from our precious computers, games, and television shows can be a great stress reliever. Set times for yourself where you don’t look at a screen. Perhaps read a book before bed instead of scrolling through Instagram or catching up on your favorite television. Don’t feel guilty if you take time to sit on the couch and watch some adult shows while your kids are asleep but be mindful of giving your eyes and brain a rest.

5. Hydrate and Nourish

We sometimes focus so closely on our kids’ needs as a parent that we forget the importance of our own. Caring for yourself puts you at your best. We make sure our kids take a water bottle and lunch when they leave the house but forget to grab snacks for ourselves. Keep some snacks and water in places like your car, desk, or bag so that you have things on hand for not just your kids but yourself.

Give yourself a piece of that love and care you provide for your kids each day. Your kids will learn from your example. They will see that it is good to take breaks and care for themselves and their body. A little break can go a long way to keep you cool, calm, and collected as you move through your day.

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