Six ways to treat yourself this summer (and stay sane in the school holidays)

Do you love the long school holidays? Or find yourself stressed and struggling by the end of them? Read six ways you can treat yourself this summer – and stay sane!

School’s out for summer! Which means long lazy days enjoying the (hopefully) lovely weather with your children. It means picnics in the park. Days at the beach. Fruit picking. Warm summer evenings in the garden.

It also means weeks of possibly juggling work or your business with childcare. With trying to find ways to keep your children entertained (and worn out!) on rainy days. With breaking up seemingly endless arguments over a bit of Lego…

Six ways you can treat yourself this summer

So, as well as finding ways to keep the kids happy over the summer, how can you treat yourself? Here are six simple ways you can reward yourself and recharge over the weeks ahead – and stay sane.

1) Read a book

Remember the days when you could spend an entire weekend lost in a great book? These days it feels like a luxury just to get through a chapter!

But reading isn’t just pleasurable. According to research by The University of Minnesota it can genuinely help you to relax and recharge by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.

So try to find 30 minutes’ a day to get lost in a good book – or even read a magazine. The important thing is to ensure you’re reading purely for pleasure, which means no catching up on paperwork, or reading up for work or your business. Even inspirational business books don’t count!

2) Order a takeaway

We’re the first to advocate eating healthily and preparing ‘proper’ home cooked meals. But there are times when your sanity will thank you for taking an easier route.

So if you’re exhausted after a busy or stressful day, or just can’t face cooking, don’t feel bad about ordering a takeaway for your family. As an occasional treat it’s not going to ruin your children. And sometimes you need to prioritise your mental health over a strictly healthy diet.

Don’t fancy a takeaway? Here are five heathy and easy summer recipes your kids will love.

3) Get a pedicure

Ever grabbed a pair of sandals on a warm summer morning, then looked at your toes in horror? As mums we can easily become so consumed in making sure our children are well cared for, that we overlook our own beauty routine.

So, if it’s something you enjoy, book yourself a pedicure. Find someone to look after your children for an hour (or book at the weekend when your partner is around if they work in the week) and indulge in some pampering.

If you don’t like pedicures, or don’t have the option of booking a professional one, give yourself one when the kids are in bed one night. Get some magazines or line up your favourite TV show and indulge in some self-pampering, starting by soaking your feet in soothing, warm water. Trust us, it’s not just your feet that will feel good afterwards!

4) Go on a self-date to the movies

Ever been to the movies on your own? If you haven’t, you’re missing out! There’s something indulgent – naughty even – about going to watch a film with yourself.

And by the end of a long summer holiday, you’re probably itching to watch a film that’s not aimed at someone under 12 years old!

So if you can, book a date at the movies with yourself. Keep an eye out on a film you’d really love to see, then either plan to see it when your partner is around to look after the children, or swap childcare dates with a friend (you have their kids for an afternoon, they have yours for another afternoon, giving each of you a child-free few hours).

Choose your favourite snacks before relaxing on cinema recliners. Then indulge in two quiet hours of getting lost in another world, without anyone tugging on your arm, needing the loo or crying.

5) Take a yoga class

If you don’t like the idea of the cinema, why not use a childcare swap with a friend to go to a yoga class instead? Most yoga classes are 60 to 90 minutes long, giving you time to enjoy the class and even grab a quiet coffee afterwards if you fancy it.

According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate. So you’ll feel much more patient and capable of coping with the rest of the summer holidays after a class!

If you can’t find child-free time for a class, check if your local gym has a creche or childcare. Or try an at-home yoga workout.

6) Go for a walk

Summer is perfect for walks (as long as it’s not too hot)! So get out in the fresh air – even if it’s just a stroll around your neighbourhood or a walk in your lunch break.

If you can get out into a wooded area, all the better; the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is proven to be good for your health.

Taking a stroll can also help boost your creativity. Research from the American Psychological Association found that walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.

And the great thing about walking is that you don’t need to find time to do it without your children. You can round up your kids up on a lovely day (maybe even pack a picnic) and take them somewhere beautiful for a walk. As a bonus, they’ll off some energy too!

What do YOU love doing?

These are just six ideas of what you can do to treat yourself this summer. You may find that none appeal to you – and that’s fine. There are unlimited options!

The point is not to overlook your own needs, and find yourself increasingly stressed and short tempered over the weeks ahead. Instead, by making sure you prioritise your needs, even in small ways, you’ll have more patience, energy and time for everyone else – including your children – making your summer holidays happier for everyone.

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Maile Proctor is a blogger and content editor. She writes articles on health and fitness, family and lifestyle, advice, how-to and more. She earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, CA.