The start of summer can be a tricky time for moms with young kids – mine are four and almost one. Since they are home all day, every day with me during the year, it can feel overwhelming to go into summer and still be 100% in charge of them. After all, you're seeing everyone else send their kids off to camp or go on vacations and you're still at home – wiping noses. It got to me. I was feeling really stressed and overwhelmed. But then, while on a recent shopping trip at Safeway, I decided to pick up the July 7th issue of InStyle while I was checking out and that became my jumping off point for my summer of self-care. I made the decision to devote a small bit of summer to myself and take a moment to flip through the magazine by the pool or while at the park with my kids. I would also find a few small things that I could do to embrace some self-care and destress. Are you in the same situation? Here's 5 ways I'm finding “me time” this summer:
Indulge in reading. Sitting down and reading a book from cover to cover is basically impossible with two little kids. But I love reading and it's a cornerstone for my self-care. So, in the summer, I stick to reading magazines. It's easy and enjoyable and I can read a bit here and a bit there by the pool while my little ones splash around with their grandparents. Magazines like PEOPLE, InStyle, Style Watch, Real Simple, Sunset, and Southern Living have such great writing these days and are so visually appealing – I love tucking the newest copy in my bag and indulging poolside. Right now, I'm devouring the July 7th issue of InStyle and looking forward to trying out a few of the fashion tips for an upcoming conference that I'm attending.
Grill everything. Let's face it. Cooking for a family is exhausting, time-consuming, and then you have to clean everything up. BAH! This summer, I am going to grill all the things and my family is going to like it. Grilling is so easy, the clean up is minimal, and everything tastes like summer. We have a traditional outdoor grill plus, I have a little stove top one that I use in a pinch. My family's favorite grilled meals are shrimp, sugar snap peas, chicken, strip steak, corn, and peaches (yes, peaches – it's amazing). All I do is toss a protein and at least two vegetables and/or fruits on to the grill and then I get to kick back with an icy drink while they cook. When they're done, we eat and then someone cleans up the grill for next time. Bonus points if you serve everything on disposable plates! I think that grilling is a perfect way for me to feed my family and get some “me time” in!
Eat the ice cream. I have a love affair with ice cream that is deep and true. I can eat an entire container in one sitting and enjoy every moment. Since that's not a great idea for my fitness journey, instead I indulge in single serve containers, the occasional drive-through ice cream cone, or an ice cream sandwich. But, I allow myself to enjoy them completely. There is no room for guilt in “me time”.
Take long walk. We have a nice park nearby and the kids like to walk on the trail. So, we do. Sometimes the baby is in his sling or a stroller and sometimes he walks. Sometimes, his sister runs ahead and sometimes she holds my hand and walks beside me. Sure, I'm not alone but just being outdoors and participating in an easy physical activity that always managed to clear my head. While walking, I make sure to take slow, deep breaths and put my phone away. Whenever I do those things, I find that I am better able to focus on enjoying the walk and can feel myself physically relaxing.
Drink lots of water. I have this huge glass that I keep filled with ice cold water and ice cubes and I drink from it all day long. I don't know what it is about water but drinking it always makes my head feel better. And when I drink lots of it, my skin's appearance improves which is awesome. During the summer, I also like to freeze berries or mint leaves in my ice cubes for a delicious twist on plain water. Something as simple as making sure you stay hydrated is a way to take care of yourself and enjoy every little bit of your “me time”. And whenever I travel or spend a day outside the house, I make sure to bring along a refillable water bottle for myself. That way, I know that a little “me time” is just a few sips away.
How will you be enjoying some “me time” this summer”? I encourage each of you swing by your local participating Safeway/Jewel-Osco/Vons/Pavilions/Tom Thumb/Randall’s/Shaw’s/Star Market/Carr’s/Acme Market to receive a $2 J4U/MyMixx offer on PEOPLE, InStyle, and Sunset. And hey, here's a link for the coupon at Jewel-Osco and a link for the coupon at your local Safeway banner store! How handy! Even better? I've got an opportunity for you to WIN a $50 Albertsons gift card! To be entered, leave a comment telling me “Which magazine you like to read while enjoying some “Me Time”; PEOPLE, InStyle, Style Watch, Real Simple, Sunset, or Southern Living?”. A winner will be chosen at random on August 15th and emailed a confirmation.