Pop quiz! You've suddenly found yourself with a spare 30 minutes. What do you do?
No! Not the washing. And forget the dishes or laundry or signing those 137 permission slips from kinder – and slip into this list of fun but speedy solo stuff to do, instead!
1. Hot bath, nice drink
I mean, can you even beat a delicious drink of your choice in a steamy hot bubble bath? We think not! Not only is a hot bath a physical way of drawing a line in your day and entering the relaxation zone, there are other body benefits too. The temperature of the water relaxes your muscles, calms the nervous system and give your heart a healthy workout. Why wouldn’t you bubble up?!
2. Yoga boost
There is nothing like a little bit of yoga to make you feel sparkier and much more smug. If you don’t have time to go to a class – or are a wee bit shy – then our friend Adriene of Yoga with Adriene is the answer. Not only does she have free yoga classes ranging from a speedy 5 minute practice to sessions that last for over an hour. Adriene’s of the opinion that when it comes to yoga, “a little goes a long way” and that you should “find what feels good”. So what are you even waiting for?!
3. Tea and pats
Sometimes nothing beats just plonking yourself down somewhere comfy and snuggling up for a chat with your pet. As Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby remarked in her recent Netflix show Nanette, one of her favourite things is the sound of a tea cup hitting a saucer, and honestly we totally agree. Just add a cat. Or a dog. Thirty minutes well spent.
4. Phone a friend
“Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer,” the good folk at Harvard Women’s Health Watch say. In this age of social media, despite the oft-touted connection it offers, we’re increasingly feeling disconnected. Take things old school and go voice-to-voice with somebody you love. Not only does a chat on the phone make you feel closer to your person, it reminds you how easy and fun it is to actually talk to another human!
5. Power nap
Experts tell us that “a 26-minute nap improves performance in pilots by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent”. Now if it works for pilots, it’s got to work for the much more dangerous vocation of parenting, amiright?! Plus, you’ve got 4 extra minutes up your sleeve!
6. Quick TED pick-me-up
Sometimes you need to treat yourself to an inspirational monologue that will shake things up and spark some fresh perspective or ideas. May we recommend:
- The power of vulnerability by Brene Browne
- Want to be more creative? Go for a walk! by Marily Oppezzo
- The power of introverts by Susan Cain
- 10 ways to have a better conversation by Celeste Headlee
7. Sheet mask meets podcast
Sheet masks are everybody’s new favourite thing – just ask Zoë Foster Blake and Drew Barrymore – so why not slip one on and settle in to listen to some grown-up conversation. Podcasts are the perfect sheet mask partner and we suggest the brilliant chatter at Kinderling Conversation, full of friendly advice, interviews and insightful tips for busy/ tired parents.
8. Attack the block (walk)
Put some comfy shoes on, download something brilliant via Spotify or iTunes, head out the front door (don’t forget to shut it and take your keys!) and pound the pavement of your neighbourhood. Remember to breathe deeply and walk at a pace that feels comfortable. We want to get moving and treat you to some fresh air and blood pumping activity. We don’t want you to rupture a valve.
9. Story time
Tell yourself a story for once! Thirty minutes should give you just enough time to listen to at least one chapter of a brilliant book on Audible. There are a bonkers amount of books you can download and cue up over there. May we recommend a few to get you started?
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- The Break by Marian Keyes
- Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan
- The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
10. Random act of kindness
One of the very best ways to make yourself feel good is to do something nice for someone else. In fact, doing something kind gives us a natural serotonin boost so it’s guaranteed feel-goods from the inside out! (Serotonin is a chemical in our system that gives us a feeling well-being – and many anti-depressant medications work by boosting serotonin levels.)
Now just be sure you don’t spend your entire spare half hour deciding which thing to do first!
You can listen to Kinderling Conversation each weekday at midday, or subscribe to the podcast and listen whenever suits you.
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