Let me tell you something: I am freaking overwhelmed lately! Like “get the padded room ready because my head is going to blow” overwhelmed. Some of it is the good kind of stress. My job, for example. It rocks. I love writing for my site and working as editor-in-chief for OurFamilyWorld and My Kids Guide. It really is my dream job, but it does get a little overwhelming sometimes! Then there’s the bad stress. The “oh my gods, I’m having major surgery in two months” stress. The “I just paid $400 in car repairs, there goes the electric bill money” stress. On top of all that, I’m dealing with relationship issues, school issues and friend issues. Yup, totally ready for that padded cell.
Rather than check in to a rather costly mental institution and miss work, I ran away today. Mind you, I only ran 7 miles up the road to browse at the local flea market (which is depressingly slow in the winter) and I was back within an hour, but the act of running away did me some real good. Before that, I couldn’t even write a sentence this weekend and was getting horribly behind. During my runaway time, though, I came up with like 50 new ideas! Most I’ll never write about I’m sure because they were a little on the depressing side, but still, at least it got me motivated!
So it got me thinking, if I can feel that much better after an hour to myself, then maybe I should make it a priority to try to get away from everything a little more often. I know I’m not the only overwhelmed mom on the planet. I’m probably not even remotely the most overwhelmed. So I’m writing this post to give all you other overwhelmed mamas (and dads!) ideas for quick one-hour getaways to help reduce your stress levels and keep you out of that padded cell. I tried to do a mix of things you can do in the home and things that actually get you away from the house. For me, a “getaway” is anything that takes me outside my normal routine. Sometimes I can’t leave the house because I don’t have a sitter.
Quick one-hour getaways for moms
These first five are things you can do outside the home.
- Head to your local thrift store or flea market and browse for things you can repurpose later. I’m really into the whole repurposing thing lately. Not just because it’s great for the environment, but also because I’m broke and need to start reusing things that I either have or can get cheap. While my local thrift store kind of blows, we do have a great flea market right up the street. Vendors sell a mix of old and new stuff. I went looking for essential oils for an upcoming project. While I struck out, I did find new sunglasses for me and a $1 Diary of the Wimpy Kid book for Jake.
- Take your camera for a walk. I don’t walk nearly enough these days, mostly because I have way too many hills. Also, I’m not one of those people who can just head out the door for a leisurely stroll. I need a purpose! Since I got a new DSLR camera, I really enjoy finding things to photograph. Whether you have a fancy schmancy camera or a point-and-shoot, grab it and go looking for inspiration! It will help clear your head and give you some potentially great shots.
- Drink fancy coffee all by yourself. Go to the best coffee shop in your town and order that super fancy coffee drink you’ve been wanting to try. My favorite coffee shop has a huge list of amazing drinks that I never get because I always go there when I’m running errands. I usually just grab the cheapest caffeine and move along. If that’s your usual MO, get that expensive drink, then sit down all by yourself and enjoy it. The $6 is totally worth it.
- Take the road less traveled. Sorry to get all Robert Frost on you, but one of my favorite things to do before I had Jake was find a road I’ve never traveled, then take it. There is something so adventurous about the unknown, even if it’s just a little road off your beaten path. Since you only have an hour, choose one close by and be sure to bring your GPS in case you get lost. If you have more time, though, travel a little further.
- Take a class. Learning a new skill can give you a great boost in self-confidence. Most classes last about an hour, making them the ideal getaway for frazzled moms. The key is to learn something you’ve always wanted to do for you. It doesn’t count if you’re taking, say, an accounting class because you need it for work. Take a cupcake decorating class. Learn karate. Master the breaststroke. Do yoga. Just do something that you enjoy! Can’t get a sitter for an hour a week? Take an online class. Craftsy (affiliate link) has some great classes for everything from sewing to baking. Some are even free!
If actually leaving the house by yourself is just not in the cards, try these in-home getaways.
- Lock yourself in your bathroom and give yourself a spa treatment. Unless your kids are too young to be out of eyesight, go ahead and actually lock that door. Take a bath, give yourself a facial and flat-iron your hair. You’re already gorgeous on the inside, so go ahead and make yourself feel gorgeous on the outside.
- Play a totally pointless game. While I spend 99% of my computer time actually working, playing a game for ten minutes here and there really helps relax my overwhelmed brain. I’m totally addicted to Royal Story on Facebook. I also love playing fun Windows 8 games like Cattergories.
- Have a good laugh on Pinterest. One of the most relaxing things for me to do is browse the humor section on Pinterest. I think my humor board is probably my largest by far. Not only is it an amusing way to spend an hour, but it has taught me that there are other people just as weird as me.
- Have a good cry! It may sound counterproductive, but when I’m overwhelmed sometimes I just need to cry. The problem is, I spent so many years as an emotional wreck that I’ve conditioned myself to not cry over things so easily anymore. So I get all these emotions stuck inside me and no way to let them out. Last week, after a particularly bad night, I spent an hour watching videos of soldiers coming home from deployment. I bawled, but they were kind of like happy tears, so I wasn’t left feeling miserable and depressed when it was over.
- Watch that show you’ll never admit to watching. We all have that one show that we don’t want people to actually know we like. Perhaps you’re secretly a Jersey Shore fan (why, though? I mean, just why?). Maybe you love watching people yell at each other on Springer (is he still on TV?). I really like that one pawn shop show (the one in Vegas, not the one where they’ll all mean and yelling at each other). I also kind of really like Storage Wars, even though it doesn’t seem like something I’d be into.
These are just a few ideas for how to shut off your brain for an hour and just relax. I’m sure you have your own ideas on how to get away from everything for an hour! I’d love to hear them!