Make the Most of Your "Me Time"

Health & Wellness on 03.17.11

Photo: k4dordy/Creative Commons 

If you feel like you're spending all your time caring for other people -- your kids, your partner, your parents -- you might be right: A new study of 1,000 mothers in England showed that the average mom has only 26 minutes a day of "me time." 

More than half the women in the study said that they felt they had less free time than their own mothers had; The Telegraph says that's because the time gained by "labour-saving devices" is now used by most women to work outside the home.

We realize that getting 26 un-interrupted minutes in a row is a rare occurrence, but taking even a quick break for yourself can make you happier, healthier, and less likely to snap the next time you find the milk in the pantry and the peanut butter in the refrigerator. Here's how to make the most of your me time (no matter how short it is).

With 5 Minutes

Drink a Cup of Tea: The antioxidants and nutrients in tea have been connected with cancer prevention, visibly healthier skin, weight loss, better digestion, and a stronger immune system; taking a few minutes to sip some green, white, black, or chamomile is a relaxing and refreshing way to get your daily dose.

With 10 Minutes

Stretch: Whether you settle into your favorite yoga moves (like these eight poses that have been shown to improve happiness) or just do some basic squats, toe-touches, arm reaches, and head rolls, you can loosen muscles, improve circulation, and clear your mind in less time than it takes to clean out the refrigerator.

With 15 Minutes

Call a Friend: A strong social network can keep you happier and healthier -- and you don't need a two-hour chat to boost your mood. A quick reminder that you aren't alone can make you feel more secure, improve your self-worth, and decrease stress. 

With 20 Minutes

Take a Power Nap: A quick power nap gives your brain and body a break -- and can decrease stress levels, boost productivity, and improve your memory. It can also make you more creative -- which your kids will appreciate when you suggest new crafts and activities.


With 25 Minutes

Exercise: The CDC recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week to see the health benefits -- squeeze in 25 minutes six times a week and you can hit that goal with ease.  


What's your favorite way to spend your me-time? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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