5 Ways for Busy Moms to Unwind

Sometimes, you need a not-so-gentle nudge to make time for yourself.

Wondering whatever happened to me-time as you sip on your third caffeinated beverage of the day in a locked bathroom whose door is being drummed on by lovable, beautiful, well-meaning children who have lost their shoes, or their book bag, or their favorite shirt, or maybe they need a sandwich, or they need a costume for a presentation happening today? You, dear parents, are not alone. 

That’s half the problem sometimes, isn’t it? I mean we parents are all in this together. As much as it is rewarding and wonderful, it is also hard. (Somewhere my mother is laughing.)

Dive into the content of at least five good therapy sessions. I know because I’ve been, and I’ve gone over and over the stressors of parenting and wanting to get it right, but feeling like you aren’t. It’s called “mom guilt.” It’s very common. There are actually therapists who specialize in it. 

So here we go, in no particular order, my fail-proof ways to destress. (Some of these are harder than others, but you don’t have to do them all, pick the one that feels good for you at this moment.) These things work. But they aren’t magic because you also have to work. Your happiness and your family’s happiness is worth it. 

Take care of yourself. The world needs you. 

Walk outside

Every single day. For at least 30 minutes. The exercise part of it benefits your overall health, reducing stress and increasing feelings of well-being. Being outside will make you happier and reduce stress, too. (I’ve even had a doctor tell me to make sure that my bare feet or hands touch the earth every single day.) If you are walking through your neighborhood, you are bound to see some of your neighbors, which will give you the social connection that is also so important to feeling mentally well. You could also dedicate this time to a phone call with a cherished friend or family member. Win-win-win.

Practice gratitude

Keep a journal next to your bed. Commit to writing about what you are grateful for every single day. You don’t have to write a certain number of words. The joy that you will begin to feel comes from the practice of thinking through the good parts of your day. You will begin to focus on these good parts of the day from habit. You will see the world through rosy glasses, and even better, I bet your kids will pick up on this, too. Everyone wins!

Limit caffeine. Drink more water. Eat healthy.

This one hurts. If this is not something that you already do, it’s hard to make the shift. It’s not like putting on shoes and going on a walk or putting a journal next to your bed. I can often do better in this area of my life, and it usually takes hard work for me to get past unhealthy habits that I fall back into from time to time. (I don’t feel too bad about this because I know that I am not alone here. This is a cultural problem, and limiting caffeine, drinking more water and eating healthy is socially deviant.) It is hard to be healthy in this culture, but we owe it to ourselves and our children. We feel a million times better when we take care of our health — less stress, more energy and better sleep. 


This is my favorite one. It is amazing how this practice can transform your life. I like to meditate in the middle of the day after lunch. I usually pull up a meditation from Tara Brach on my phone. The ones I choose are always less than 20 minutes long, and usually much less. One thing that you will notice at the beginning is how strange it feels to be still and also how necessary it feels. You will begin to crave this special grounding moment every single day.

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Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt brings over 15 years of experience in education, parenting, and travel writing for esteemed publications like We Are Teachers and LA Family Travel. Recognized for her commitment to advancing literacy and writing skills, Steffy is honored to be a Fellow of the National Writing Project. She collaborates with educators nationwide to enhance teaching practices and empower student writers.


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