Why it's important to have 10 minutes to yourself

As a busy mum of two boys it's almost impossible to get just 10 minutes to myself on any given day. It might sound ridiculous but my days consist of doing things for others or working and when I think I may get 10 minutes to enjoy a hot coffee, or read a magazine, the boys are causing havoc and I have to intervene. But 10 minutes to yourself is so important and that's why I'm trying harder for me.

After chatting to Michelle Reeves a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual. My usual waking time is 6:30am but I chose to get up at 6am instead so I would have time to enjoy a hot coffee and watch the news without interruptions or arguments from the boys. 

My alarm went off at 6am and I hit the button quickly so as to not wake the Hubby. I crept out of bed and into the bathroom and hurried through my morning routine as quietly as possible. I then went downstairs, avoiding that one creaky step, aiming for the kitchen. I closed the kitchen door behind and hoped the noise of the boiling kettle would be confined to the kitchen and wouldn't wake the boys. I made myself a coffee and, with coffee in hand, I opened the kitchen door.

Sat on the stairs, with his best smile, was LP.

I'm disappointed to see that smile but I was a little disappointed that my first attempt to get 10 minutes for me didn't go so well.

I think women are natural caretakers. They take care of everybody. They take care of their husbands and their kids and their dogs, and don't spend a lot of time just getting back and taking time out. 

Reese Witherspoon

Why is it so hard to have time to myself?

Being a mum to school-aged boys doesn't mean I get the whole day to myself. The time they're at school I spend doing chores or writing articles for my little corner of the internet. Any free time I find during school days is spent on things that don't need to wait until later, because I want to spend free time with my family. My whole life is about making life enjoyable and happy for my children and my husband, and as a consequence I often forget about myself.

blonde haired woman with her arms in the air, a beach in the background

So how do you get time to yourself?

It's not easy. If you're a morning person you can get out of bed a little earlier and attempt what I did, but it's not a guarantee.

Here is where giving your children chores will give you more time. Perhaps your 10 or 11 year old can load the dishwasher and your 6-7 year old can pick up dirty clothes and put them in baskets. The vacuuming is an easy job to give to your older children and doesn't take long, but it will give you a few extra minutes.

It is amazing how quickly the kids learn the operation of the DVD, yet are unable to understand the vacuum cleaner.

Etienne Marchal

Hiding in the bathroom may work, but you can't really sit in there with a cup of coffee and enjoy peace and quiet while you're hiding from your children can you?

If you have older children you could instigate times during the day when they're not allowed to interrupt you, no matter what (barring emergencies of course). They can entertain themselves while you enjoy a drink and read a magazine.

Why is time for yourself so important?

Having time for yourself allows you to think.

You can be you, without thinking about housework or the kids. Ignore everything but your drink and your magazine or book, or whatever you choose to do in your time. Time to wind down, to enjoy something for yourself, just like everyone else does, can make a huge difference to your general outlook.

That 10 minutes to yourself may help you find a new hobby, learn something new, or even stumble across a business idea.

brunette woman sitting in a yoga position by a lake, relaxing. The lake is in the blurred background.

You are not just a mum. You are not just a wife. You are someone who devotes themselves to making others happy, and allowing yourself 10 minutes every day will make you happy. 

I haven't yet managed to get any free time in a morning. Whenever I try to get up early LP joins me. He's a light sleeper and the sound of anything downstairs wakes him. I'll get 10 minutes eventually, perhaps on the days he has after school clubs. But no matter when I get those 10 minutes I've realised it's important to have time for myself, and I urge you to try too.

Do you get 10 minutes for yourself daily?

How to get 10 minutes for self-care

Self-care can mean many things, but when you're a stay-at-home mum who spends time taking care of other people it doesn't matter what it means because you don't have time for it. But with a little organisation, knowing what to spend time on, and prioritising yourself, you can get 10 minutes for self-care - even if you're a stay-at-home mum.

Why getting 10 minutes for self-care is important

As a mum you put everyone else first without thinking about the effect on yourself. And when you get stressed out and have an outburst you feel guilty. By taking 10 minutes to for yourself you're helping everyone.

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Sitting to have coffee is a form of self-care - when will you do it?
Mmmm, a hot coffee...

  • Thinking time. Getting time to be alone and think is good for you. Whether it's looking out of the window with a hot coffee in your hand, or walking along the canal and watching the ducks, that thinking time helps you. You can organise your thoughts, think through your to-do list, and even check things off that have already been done. All in peace.

Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.

Deborah Day

  • Be you, without obligations. When was the last time you thought of yourself as anything but a stay-at-home mum? You spend all your time looking after others and as a result you tend to lose yourself. Getting 10 minutes for self-care allows you to re-learn who you are, it helps you work out your likes, dislikes, and most of all it helps you know yourself.

  • Learn something new. An opportunity to learn a new hobby, read an interesting article in the paper or online, or taking an educational course, makes you feel good. When you do something that makes you happy you're ready for anything.

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Learning a new hobby will make you feel good!
Learn to take amazing photos!

  • Taking care of you IS taking care of others. When you take care of yourself you're more willing, and even happier, to take care of others. By getting 10 minutes of self-care you're saying you value yourself and that you play an important role - and your family will start to see it too!

Benefits of using 10 minutes for self-care

  • Less stress. When you get 10 minutes for self-care you can let the stresses go. It is easier to cope with stresses when you are getting down time.

  • You're more positive about life. As a result of those 10 minutes for self-care you're happier, and more positive about everything. Something might be going wrong, or there's a mishap somewhere but because you're getting time for you you feel ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Smile - it makes you feel good!
Just smiling can make you feel good.

  • Improve self-esteem. You start to feel good about yourself. You could be taking a yoga class, or delving into a new hobby but you're spending time improving yourself. And that feels good.

  • Improved health. By taking the time to think of yourself for a little while every day you're noticing things that need to change, or things that are a niggling issue and you get them sorted. You may start an exercise class to lose weight. You could notice something hurts and get it checked out by a doctor. Either way, you're taking care of yourself - and that's essential.

  • Improve concentration. When you're not distracted by impending school trips or your Hubby's washing pile, concentration is easier. You feel ready to put your brain to work and concentrate on the job at hand.

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Spending time with your kids can be a form of self-care.

Your kids can make you feel amazing...

  • Better productivity. Have you noticed that when you're happier you tend to work faster? I know I have. Whether it's getting the washing into the machine, sorting out the kids' packed lunch, or seeing the Hubby off to work in a morning, it all goes quicker when you have a smile on your face.

  • You feel more giving. When you take 10 minutes for self-care you are more willing to help others. You're happy, fulfilled, so giving time to a family member makes you happier.  

How to get 10 minutes for self-care

Start small

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Cake and coffee is always going to be nice...

Make small changes to your current routines. Instead of getting straight on with the cleaning as soon as you get up why not take a minute to drink your hot coffee? That's how I started my new self-care routine and it really helps with my motivation in a morning.

Learning to love yourself is like learning to walk - essential, life-changing, and the only way to stand tall.

Vironika Tugaleva

Do one thing just for you

Like I said, that coffee is a must for me but for you it could be something different. You might enjoy a nice breakfast, or watching your favourite show could be what makes you smile. Whatever it is make time for it in your day.

Change your priorities

It really is okay to put yourself first sometimes, even when you're a mum. I know we spend our days putting everyone else first but doing something for you is allowed. I regularly take 10 minutes for self-care - it can be yoga, drawing, or even sitting and drinking my coffee - but I do it regularly so my family know I'm taking care of me and them.

Learn to say no

How To Get 10 Minutes For Self-Care | Learn to say no!

Whether it's the friend who always stops by, a family member who asks for your help too much, or even the kids asking for snacks - it's okay to say no. By saying no to some of the demands on your time you're giving yourself that time back - which you can then use on self-care.

Create routines to get 10 minutes for self-care

The very best way you can get 10 minutes for self-care is to create routines for yourself. Daily chore checklists, the kids' routine for school. It will take time, believe me, but if you do the same things every day and establish a routine you'll soon find that you have those 10 minutes for self-care - then you just need to work out what you're going to do with it!

As a busy stay-at-home mum you need to start prioritising yourself. Not all of the time, but for at least 10 minutes. Self-care is important - it makes you happier and that means you're more ready to deal with the day-to-day stuff that comes with being a stay-at-home mum

I hope this article has helped you see how to get 10 minutes for self-care and I would be happy to hear how you've been spending those 10 minutes.

When was the last time you got 10 minutes for self-care?