Wondering what to ask for from Santa this Christmas? How about some time to relax and recharge? Molly shares some great ideas for making the most of a much deserved mum’s day out…
For busy mums, finding time for pampering is a rare treat. When the opportunity to spoil yourself arises, you’ve got to grab it with both hands and make the most of the time when the kids are sleeping, you’ve got a babysitter, or they’re distracted by Spongebob.
No matter if you’ve got five minutes or a whole weekend to spare, there’s always something you can do to indulge yourself. Here are some of our favourite ways to banish stress, from quick fixes to indulgent extravagances.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!
Life’s too short to be counting calories and consulting the Weight Watchers book every time you reach for a cookie. If things are getting on top of you but you’ve only got a few moments to spare, grab your favourite chocolatey snack and dig in. Eating chocolate releases serotonin into the brain, that’s the same feel-good chemical that’s released during exercise, sex and exposure to bright sunshine.
On top of that, chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, chemicals that give your brain a little boost. So, if you’re feeling stressed and sluggish, forget diets and spoil yourself with something delicious.
Soak in a Scented Tub
If you’ve got an hour or so to yourself, run a nice hot bath. For maximum relaxation, you can look to aromatherapy to find the scents that will help to melt away all the stresses of the day. Rose is reportedly wonderful for easing anxiety and grief, lavender calms frayed nerves and helps with insomnia, jasmine lifts the mood, chamomile sedates (might want lay off that one if you want to stay awake) and vanilla is a calming aphrodisiac.
Introduce your chosen scent to the bathroom with bubble baths, scented candles or a few drops of essential oil added to an oil burner or directly into the bathwater.
Lunch with Other Mums
It has been suggested that women live longer because they typically have a far more effective support network of friends and relatives than men do. If you have a few free hours, meet up with the girls and enjoy a catch-up.
A good chat is relaxing and it’s a great way to share funny stories about your broods as well as a few parenting tips. It’s tough to be a mum, but a quick gossip with the ladies will quickly reveal that you’re all in the same boat; knowing that other mums are going through the exact same thing as you can do wonders for sweeping away stress.
Hit the Spa
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with an entire afternoon of ‘me time’ to fill, spoil yourself with a relaxing is it to the local spa or beauty salon. Avoid anything even vaguely strenuous or scary (no yoga or Botox) and go for one of the relaxing treatments. We can heartily recommend mud wraps, manicures, Indian head massage and deep cleansing facials.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous then try hot stone massage or acupuncture. The needles used in acupuncture are so fine that you barely feel them and the final results are well worth it. The bravest mums can try facial acupuncture to reduce under-eye bags, wrinkles and general puffiness.
Enjoy the Outdoors
As mentioned earlier, sunshine stimulates the brain to release the feel-good chemical, serotonin. If you find yourself with most of a day to fill (lucky you!) then gather up a few of your favourite snacks, maybe a good book and head to an outdoor place that you consider to be beautiful.
No matter if it’s a beach, a park or a snow-capped mountain, just go and enjoy the scenery. The sun will do your skin a world of good as well as giving your brain that all-important serotonin boost and the fresh air is always a pleasure. The rare opportunity to enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet in an inspiring place will leave you refreshed, revitalised and ready to face whatever the kids throw at you.
Have a Big, Selfish Day Out!
So, you’ve got a sitter and you have a full day without the kids. Now’s the time to visit that exhibition you’ve been waiting to see, or buy something gorgeous in the glamorous boutique you’d love to go in if you didn’t always have the brood in tow. Take your partner or favourite shopping buddy along with you if you want, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this is your selfish day.
When you get hungry, eat wherever you want without worrying about the quality of the kids’ menu. Take hours trying on dresses you have absolutely no intention of buying. Go to the movies and relish the novelty of entering a theatre to see something that does not star an animated talking animal. In short, do anything that you’ve been putting off or unable to do because you’re busy looking after other people all day. Even mums get a day off once in a while.
A Glamorous Theatre Treat
If you’ve got particularly accommodating parents, they may take the kids for a night, leaving you with an evening to do whatever you want. It’s a rare and precious opportunity, so why not do something special?
A visit the the theatre is an elegant way to spend the evening with your partner or a good friend. With everything from big, brassy musicals to cerebral plays to chose from, there’s always something on worth seeing in your nearest city. If you feel like really splashing out, upgrade from your local theatre to Broadway and book a hotel room, turning your trip into a glamorous, sophisticated theatre break — provided the grandparents can cope!
– Molly, Show and Stay