Most parents get so caught up in the process of bringing up their children that the thought of taking a break doesn’t even occur to them. The few who do think about it suffer from pangs of guilt at the thought of leaving their young one in the care of someone else to indulge in a few moments of ‘me’ or ‘we’ time. As a result, a lot of parents keep following the same monotonous routine even at the cost of their physical and emotional well-being. What parents need to understand is that taking a time-out isn’t about abdicating ones’ responsibilities. It’s all about making time to do a few things that can make them feel that life is worth living. Also, such time-outs will re-energise them so that they can perform their duties better.
Let’s look at some simple things that you can do to take a break and re-energise yourself.
- Take a walk: This is the simplest of all activities that confers the highest number of benefits. Several studies have found that there is a connection between walking and feeling good. According to scientists, walking helps in boosting the level of endorphins, which makes us feel good by reducing stress levels and anxiety, and improving mood and self-esteem. So, take a few minutes out every day to go on a walk around the neighbourhood or on your terrace.
- Write a diary: Journaling is not just about maintaining a record of the events that transpire in your life every day, it also helps in relieving the pent-up tensions. Sloan et al published a study titled, ‘The durability of beneficial health effects associated with expressive writing’, in the journal Anxiety, Stress, & Coping. They found that, “Participants assigned to the expressive writing condition reported less depression symptom severity at the two-month follow-up assessment relative to participants assigned to the control condition.”
- Take a nap: It has been known since ages that a good night’s sleep has many beneficial effects on both the mind and the body. However, the habit of taking a nap during the day has always been associated with being lazy. But, that is not the case. According to the article, ‘The Secret (and Surprising) Power of Naps’, by Jennifer Soong, “Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep – napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes – is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions.”
- Go for a drive: For some of us who enjoy driving, it can be a therapeutic experience. Driving, especially through areas where there is a lot of greenery, can help individuals de-stress and wind down. However, the level of benefits that accrue from driving also depends on an individual’s driving style and traffic conditions.
- Have a play date: Remember those days when you were a child and spent a lot of time playing with friends. At the end of it, you felt happy. Didn’t you? Playing a sport can relax the mind and invigorate the senses. So, call your friends over for a game of cards or meet at the local tennis club to play a few rounds or go for a swim at the local swimming pool.
- Just relax: If you don’t want to do any of the above, just lie down in a cosy corner of your house with your eyes closed and relax. Take your mind off everything that is bothering you and think about the good times that you have been a part of. To some, doing nothing can be as relaxing as indulging in something that is fun.
Although taking a time-out may seem impossible for parents, it is worth making an effort to try and take a break from the daily schedule. Not only will it help you recharge yourself, but it will also help you take care of your family in a better way.