Women need time outtime out from children, time out from household chores and even time out from their partners. Here is how to get it.

What do we mean by time out?

By ‘Time Out’ I mean you time. Time to do whatever you need to do to feel good, rested, rejuvenated and valued.

Women are constantly putting other people first, particularly if they are mothers also. For some women it is rare to get a moment to yourself, let alone a few hours or a night away. Some women wouldn’t thank you for it and feel that leaving the children would be stressful in itself. I fell into that category after my first child, but I have to say three kids later and necessity has changed my mind completely.

There is no right and wrong here. Women often feel judged in their approach to bringing up their children. This is not about telling you what you should do – it’s just offering some friendly tips.

How often do women need time out?

All women need time out on a regular basis – just knowing you will get it is half the battle and half the joy.

  • It may be a holiday every few years.
  • It may be a weekend every 6-12 months.
  • It may be a night out once a month.
  • It may be a coffee out every week.

There’s no right prescription, it all depends upon your family routine and your individual needs.

What would I do with a little time out?

Some women need time out to be alone:

  • To read a book
  • To watch a film
  • To walk alone and think
  • To get on with some tasks that they really want to get done but can’t when the children are around
  • To enjoy a hobby

Some women feel a need for time out from the children to spend time with their partner, to rekindle the romance and how life used to be before the kids came along. They feel this is vital to their marriage:

  • A coffee together in a café once a week
  • A walk or a run together
  • A weekend away
  • A night out
  • A holiday together

Some women need time out to spend with their girlfriends:

  • There’s nothing like a weekend away with the girls for a laugh and relaxation with friends
  • A trip to the cinema to see a film their partner would hate
  • A quick coffee
  • A week away in the sun

How you spend that precious bit of time out will depend upon what appeals to you.

Don’t let anyone pressurise you into telling you what you need. Only you know that so spend that time wisely. There’s nothing worse than arranging the childcare/shopping/lifts to sport and parties … and then wishing you had not bothered!

What are the benefits of women having time out?

The benefits of time out are huge to everyone:

  • You will feel valued and appreciated when you return
  • A change is as good as a rest, so whatever you do you will come home feeling rejuvenated
  • A lie in will be great for your health (remember sleeping and not being woken by an alarm clock – human or otherwise)
  • An evening out with a girlfriend will help your relationship, not hinder it. A great film could be just what you need to put you in the mood!
  • Time away from your children is not a bad thing. It will probably make you love them more
  • The time you do spend with your children will hopefully be better quality time as you’ll enjoy their company more, having had a break from the routine.

What are the risks of never getting that moment to yourself?

  • By never giving yourself a moment to yourself, to do what you want to do, you may end up feeling tired and resentful. (You may not and that’s fine and good for you.)
  • Never getting a rest means you are not getting a chance to re-charge the batteries and will make you more prone to colds and infections.
  • Everyone needs time to reflect – upon priorities, family dramas, issues with children, highs and lows in a marriage – time out can give you an opportunity to fix ‘stuff’ before it is too late. This could be time well spent!

A few tips

  • Do leave a list of chores, or you may come home to a domestic disaster which will wash away all that relaxation as you walk into the sitting room!
  • Plan it well (yes I know, spontaneity is a tricky one!) so that you can walk away feeling calm and organised!
  • Plan the next one!

Go on, treat yourself!

In this fully revised edition, a naturopathic physician shows women how to use the latest in natural therapies to heal your body and promote good health. This essential illustrated natural health resource for all women shows how women can use nutrition, lifestyle and natural therapies to keep themselves fit and well.

Useful articles

Women and Exercise gives some ideas on how to spend that time out effectively to leave you feeling great!

For more information on healthy eating habits, visit our article Women and Diet.

 

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Paula Skelton is a qualified NZ nurse and midwife, a midwifery & childbirth educator and the mum of three lovely girls.

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