A Busy Mother’s Guide to Finding Time for Yourself

This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com.

Where does all the time go?

As women we wear many different hats: partner, mother, daughter, co-worker, friend, carer, coach, teacher, motivator, nurse, homemaker, driver. Our days can become never ending ‘to-do lists’ and trying to meet everyone needs.

By the time we finally sit down at the end of a long day, we’re too exhausted to be creative or make a decision beyond ‘shall I have a chocolate chip cookie or a jaffa cake?’

Then we feel guilty as we’ve promised ourselves we will eat no chocolate so that we fit back into our summer wardrobe! Sound familiar?

Or maybe the list is over-whelming and you don’t know where to begin. Quite frankly for a couple of years I had a daily fight with ironing.

I know it is ridiculous – and I never won, because no matter how much I wanted to beat that ironing mountain, on the very rare occasion I got to the bottom of it, the very next day it started again.

For the record.  THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE!!

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Check out this guide for all you busy mothers out there! This one is for you. Learn how to find time for yourself, relax and rewind.

Hi, I’m Grace!

After focusing on raising my three children for twenty years, I realised creatively I was running on empty. As I reflected, I realised I had left all my dreams, passions and would be adventures behind, though as my kids often remind me ‘we are the adventure!’ and that’s true … to a point.

Joking aside, I felt I had a couple of points to prove, one was to cook professionally which I now do, and the other was to be happy with myself. I started the blog ‘Live with Grace’ after completing a coaching course, and now hope to inspire and share stories to other women who want to live their best lives.

It sounds trivial who could be bothered by ironing? Yet I would see this pile every day and it was a reminder that I hadn’t achieved all that I had set out to do the day before. That no matter what was on my list for that day, I probably wouldn’t succeed. 

This inner struggle wasn’t really about the ironing, it simply acted as a symbol for me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t cope. This mindset is incredibly negative and damaging. 

After a few years of soul searching and exhaustion, I realised I needed to change my thinking and adopt practical solutions.

I got help, my husband’s and son’s shirts are professionally ironed. 

It’s relatively inexpensive and saves me a couple of hours per week!  The professionals do a far superior job and I do not resent the time I’ve given up.  GAME CHANGER.

I taught my older children how to iron.

I iron a lot less, I simply don’t iron half of what I used to. I fold and give the pile of laundry to whoever it belongs to put away.  If I have sorted the washing, put it in the machine, hung it out and folded it, (rarely ironed) someone else can at least put it away.

The ironing pile, it is out of sight, it taunts me no more.

I allocate maybe an hour a week now to ironing (maximum), rather than an hour a day. I have saved SIX hours right there.

Once I was in the correct headspace I could see the potential of changing my daily lifestyle and replacing it with a daily routine that included ME TIME! 

This is what we all need to do, understand and find way to manage our time.  Adopt practical solutions and understand you may be spending more money but you are buying more time!

image of busy woman, working and multi-tasking. Using laptop and iPad, no time to herself.

Once we have the time, think carefully how you spend it.

I found the time! My youngest was a baby then and come naptime the temptation for me, was to collapse and do nothing.  I would make a cup of tea and switch on the TV for an hour. 

After finally coming to terms with the ironing mountain, I rewarded myself with TV!! Any TV, probably rather dreadful TV, but if I am being honest I did look forward to it.  Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to say, it was definitely the highlight of my day.

The thing is when we get to this point we can be pretty close to running on empty and convincing ourselves that providing we are meeting everyone’s else expectations, our own passions, interests and dreams can become forgotten.  Now I had found the time I needed to use it to best serve me.

This is where I was about six years ago.  I had been a full-time mum for twenty years, (with a small gardening business) and after someone asked me how I spent my free time, I genuinely struggled to come up with anything. 

Even the things that I loved to do: cooking and gardening, they had become part of my day, things I had to do.  Rather than things I enjoyed and relaxed doing.

It was a starting point for me to examine my life more and work out what I wanted to do, how was I going to carve back some ME TIME.

I decided ME TIME wasn’t meeting up with my friends, that to me is essential and separate from what I’m talking about here.  Socialising with our friends be it a coffee, a drink, a walk or a weekend away are important, vital!

ME TIME is about that nag at the back of your mind, when you’re lying awake at night, thinking there must be more to life.  It is remembering the dreams we had and finding ways to explore these yearnings.

I’ve yet to meet a mum who can understand where all the time has disappeared to since she had a baby.  It simply doesn’t come back.  We need to reassess how we spend our days and prioritise.

I cannot magic you more than 24hours a day, but I want you to really understand where those 24 hours go.

Also think about how you would spend free-time if you had it. (It can be tempting to scroll endelessly through our phones, or put the television on, but these won’t nourish you). 

image of two women chatting and socialising whilst out shopping. Happy women often spend time with friends to get a break from stress at home.

I promise you if you start making time for yourself you’ll feel better and this will have a knock on effect on those around you.

Often, others can see women at home with their children, many juggling jobs as well, and think they can’t or shouldn’t want anything else. ‘They have enough to do.’ I would argue our society quite likes us to feel like this, it stops us getting ideas! 

When our lives are full it is when we most need to find our own time.  We should never be running to empty, not even close.  A bath, maybe a good way to finish an exhausting day, but you need more in life than a good soak to look forward to.  (Also use the lock on the door, or you’ll be pestered constantly).

I believe we must grow and move forward.  Nurturing ourselves, benefits all around us.  Communicating how we feel to those that love us is so important.  It can easily become a competition of whose had the most uninterrupted sleep or who went out last. 

By making our partners aware how much we need time for ourselves it can be the most important step we make in finding time for ourselves and ultimately become happier.

If you’re a single mum or dad is rarely at home, reach out to extended family and/or also your friends.  Consider looking after each other’s children once or twice a week. Make it a fixed part of your routine.   

The ultimate guide to learn how to get some me-time for yourself, no distractions.

Once our children grow up, and time may at last seem more plentiful, it is our confidence that can stop us from trying out new things.  It may be a long time since we have learnt a skill or taken up a creative course.

Please try something new, you may not enjoy it at first, especially if you’re out of your comfort zone.  Remember this is normal but remember also that you owe yourself to give it a chance. 

Learning new skills can be intimidating especially if we’re in a group environment.  Yet it is vital that we listen to ourselves and if you have always wanted to paint, sign up for a class.  I think you’ll love it, but seriously, what is the worse thing that could happen?

You create a painting that you’re unhappy with, (I’m positive your teacher will find elements that they like and will be encouraging) you may have to go back next week and start again, maybe you even get paint on your jumper. 

Image of a woman finding time for herself to experiment with hobbies and fun activities. She is trying out pottery as a creative outlet from her busy home life.

YOU can cope with this!  

Worse possible outcome is you not going to that paint class and never finding out that you love painting, just like you knew you would.

Another possible outcome, five years from now you sell your first painting, in a local exhibition, it gets posted online and someone calls who loves your painting and asks could you do something similar for them.  

This is how we make life interesting.  Think of the skills you have learnt on the way, the like-minded people you may meet and where this one six week class may lead.

It is exciting, isn’t it?

From amazing guest blogger Grace, learn how to get some alone time without the guilt. You deserve to get some self-care into your routine, and here's how.

Right now I’m offering a free two week course, for you to do at home, where you document how you spend your day and how it makes you feel.

By the end of the two weeks, I hope you understand how you can carve out time for yourself each day and also have a small challenge in place.

Let me know how you get on and when I hear back from five amazing women who have signed up to a new challenge in their lives, I’ll sign up for that painting course I just spoke about – I’m about to finish a course on nutrition, so there will be room for something new!!

My email is [email protected]  Simply leave your name and email and I’ll ping over the course.  It is as simple as that.

After finishing the blog today, I had a quick look at my Instagram account @grace_and_live_well and this was the first post of the day! 

‘If you use your time well, you have more time for making your difference in life.  That’s why we’re all here’. 

Brendon Buchard

How perfect is that?!

Live well

Grace x

This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com. To read more from Grace, please follow her blog link and send her your support.

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Drink More Water – The Benefits + How to Establish the Habit

Hello and welcome to this week’s blog post! I’m back again, and today I want to discuss the benefits of a basic human need…drinking water.

Some readers might think this is a topic that doesn’t need a discussion, as it is quite imperative to our survival.

But it is really surprising how many of us drink little to no water daily.

Want to skip ahead?

1. The Physical Benefits
2. The Psychological Benefits
3. My Personal Experience
4. Establish Drinking Water
as a Habit

5. How Much Water Should
We Be Drinking?

I was one of these people for a long time and have only recently changed my ways.

Over the last 3 months, I have really noticed a difference in how I feel and positive changes in my body. And this is all because I began drinking more water.

I want to discuss my personal experiences with the wonders of hydration later on in this article.

But for now, let’s get into the sciencey bit.

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learn how to drink more water and why you should establish the water drinking habit for your health and fitness benefits

The Physical Benefits

By ‘physical benefits’, I am referring to the changes we notice to the external parts of our bodies, these are usually the changes and benefits most talked about when it comes to water consumption.

1. Boosts your performance during exercise

Physical exertion is the number one reason people stop exercising. They are too tired to carry on. But what if there was a way to extend the period of energised movement?

There is…drinking water is the answer.

Your physical performance can be almost instantly improved by hydrating.

This is especially important when exercising intensely or in hot conditions (see here).

Drinking a good amount of water can prevent reduced motivation and exhaustion.

I have also found, it makes exercising feel less difficult, physically and mentally.

2. Speeds up weight loss

Water is a fast and easy way to boost your metabolism. It is so simple, drink water and lose weight quicker and more efficiently.

A boost in your metabolic rate, helps your body to burn more calories on a daily basis. Therefore, resulting in weight loss.

A great tip is to drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your next meal. It can make you feel fuller and as a result, you intake fewer calories (see here).

water splash drinking drink h2o aqua bottle droplets liquid benefits health fitness
Photo by Samara Doole on Unsplash

3. Keeps your skin bright and tight

When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.

Drinking more water can prevent this from happening.

Keeping your body hydrated, will keep your skin hydrated and, in turn, promote the production of collagen.

The Psychological Benefits

The psychological benefits of staying hydrated refers to the affects on the brain and behaviours. These changes are not as commonly discussed as the physical changes as they are often not as obvious.

1. Improves your brain functionality and boosts energy levels

Studies have shown that just mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1-3%) can negatively affect your energy levels and mood, resulting in a poorer performance of your brain and memory.

This is because your brain is highly influenced by your water consumption.

Therefore, increasing the amount of water you are drinking, and staying hydrated, helps your brain and energy do the best they can.

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2. Prevents the risk of headaches and can treat existing ones

Dehydration and headaches often go hand-in-hand.

Getting a headache is one of the number one symptoms that you are not drinking enough water (see here).

Studies have also shown a correlation between drinking water and the relief of headaches.

3. Can enhance your mood

Similarly to improved brain functionality, keeping hydrated can also positively affect your mood.

Dehydration has been linked to an increase in fatigue and confusion. This unhealthy state can also progress to feelings of anxiety.

Therefore, as a result of drinking water, your mood is likely to be more positive.

we've all heard that drinking lot of water is good for us, but to what extent? How can it change our lives for the better and what unusual benefits are there? Find out here. blog blogger newbie beginner blog post writing community website health fitness water benefits drinking drink beverage h2o aqua liquid advantages life-changing establish encourage instil habit healthy drink more glass cup litres recommended

My Personal Experience

As I’m sure you know, there are a tonne more benefits to drinking water and staying hydrated. The list could go on forever.

If you would like to find out more about the positive effects, go ahead and click here.

Along with the enhancements listed above, I also felt a lot of changes to my mental state and overall energy levels.

Firstly, I noticed improvements in my bodily functions. Everything just seemed to work a bit smoother and more efficiently (although I definitely needed to use the toilet more).

I think because my body and its functions felt better, so did I.

My energy and efficiency seemed to double overnight. I now have more energy to be productive and more energy and drive during exercise.

These changes over the past months have also positively affected my mental health. Having more energy and getting more things done, has made me feel happier than I have in forever.

I have loved the differences I have found in myself due to my perseverance with drinking more water and instilling this habit.

Establish Drinking Water as a Habit

Remembering to keep drinking water throughout the day, hasn’t always been as easy for me as it is now.

For someone who only really had a drink with a main meal, it was very unusual for me to be drinking throughout the day, and to choose water over a fizzy drink.

It has taken me about a month to really get the hang of this habit and imprint this into my way of life.

So here is how I did it so you can too!

Invest in a quality water bottle or flask

I purchased a Chilly’s bottle and can not recommend it enough. It is great value for money, as the quality is outstanding and the bottle keeps my water cold for longer than I even need.

I love my water bottle so much, I actually want to drink from it. This investment really kickstarted my waterdrinking and has continued to remind me to stay hydrated.

I seriously recommend everyone gets a reusable water bottle. Not only for yourselves, but also for the environment.

7.7 billion single-use water bottles are used each year, in the UK alone. Most end up polluting our rivers and seas, often endangering wildlife.

Set yourself a goal

In the early days of establishing your habit, it can be very important to set yourself a goal to keep in mind throughout your journey.

For me, I started by simply having a sip of water from my water bottle whenever I remembered.

Eventually, when I was doing this regularly, I set myself a new target to consume a certain amount of cups per day.

Every time I reached my goal, I celebrated my success then set a new one.

Finally, I managed to drink the NHS’s recommended daily allowance with ease.

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Photo by Pontus Ohlsson on Unsplash

Track your daily water intake

This was a big one for me. Tracking how much water you drink, can encourage you to drink more by giving yourself a sense of achievement.

You should celebrate every day that you get closer to your goal and the days you reach it.

Tracking your intake is also important to make sure you are on the right track and are consuming the amount you set out to.

If you have a diary or bullet journal, I recommend creating a monthly habit tracker and making a note of how many glasses you are drinking each day.

Have a glass of water with every meal

By using food as a reminder to drink water, you are much more likely to remember to do it.

I used to always have a fizzy drink or fruit cordial with my meals. This meant I was consuming more sugar and not getting as much water as I needed.

By ensuring you only drink water with your food, you are adding to your daily total whilst keeping yourself hydrated throughout meals.

Keep water by your bed

Having a drink of water just before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up is a great practice, and one which benefits your body in many ways.

Make sure to fill up your water bottle or glass before you get into bed so it will be waiting for you in the morning.

This is an easy reminder for yourself, as well as being a great way to kickstart your mornings.

we've all heard that drinking lot of water is good for us, but to what extent? How can it change our lives for the better and what unusual benefits are there? Find out here. blog blogger newbie beginner blog post writing community website health fitness water benefits drinking drink beverage h2o aqua liquid advantages life-changing establish encourage instil habit healthy drink more glass cup litres recommended

So How Much Water Should You be Drinking Daily?

Unfortunately there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question.

Many different scientific studies has revealed many different results. Results which are all similar and prove the benefits of drinking water, but have lead to slightly different recommendations.

The recommended amount of water to intake daily, mainly differs from country to country. This can be linked to different climates; the warmer the climate, the more you should drink.

For this article, I use and refer to the UK government’s recommended 6-8 cups or glasses of water per day. This is equivalent to around 1.2 litres.

This includes drinking low-fat milks and low-sugar drinks, including tea and coffee. However, I personally only track my pure water consumption.

But if you would like to, or feel the need, to drink more water than this, please do. You would have to drink between 0.8 to 1.0 litres of water per hour to be at risk of over-hydration.

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