Parents

Reset your routine: 5 ways to create 'me time' (even if you're super busy)

TODAY Parents is devoting two weeks to starting the school year off right, by creating healthy new routines and breaking bad habits. From easier bedtimes and drama-free homework sessions to healthy meals and fun ways to keep the whole family fit, check back every day for a new tip and join us on our journey toward a healthier year! First up: How to create "me time"... even when you're already crazy busy.

The arrival of back-to-school season brings so many extra demands on our time. We are filling out oh so many forms, stocking the fridge with snacks and lunch fixings, and making sure homework somehow gets done.

But as busy moms, it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves. Why not reset your routine this school year to include some well-deserved “me time”?

Yes, it is possible. It's even necessary.

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Ahhhh — 15 minutes of me time!

After all, tending to yourself makes you a happier, healthier person and a better mom as well, says Jessica Turner, a mother of three and author of “The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.”

“We tend to be the ones we push to the side and make ourselves the lowest priority,” says Turner, 33, who works full time and also maintains a blog. “When we do that over time, we burn out, and we aren’t able to be our best selves. It’s really important to take care of ourselves for our well-being as well as for everyone else in our life.”

Turner recommends that women find “pockets of time” that are underused or wasted, and use them for themselves instead. How to get started? Track your time for a week and identify the minutes or hours that can be better spent nurturing yourself.

Some specific ideas from Turner:

  1. Rise and shine. Wake up 30 to 60 minutes before everyone else and do something you love, like reading or writing, that you couldn’t do when the kids are awake. Not an early riser? Get up just 15 minutes earlier and enjoy that cup of joe in peace.
  2. Make waiting time count. Women often spend up to 45 to 60 minutes a day waiting for a doctor’s appointment, a meeting to start or idling in the school pick-up line. Rather than scrolling through your phone, read a book, knit, or do what Turner does, and dash off a handwritten note to a friend.
  3. Take your lunch break. Go for a walk, read or make lunch dates with girlfriends.
  4. Look at your evenings. Do you complain you have no time but spend two hours a night watching TV? Try dedicating one evening a week to a crafting project or a soak in the tub instead of more time in front of the tube.
  5. Skip the chores. OK, not forever, but take a night off to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Check back every day for a new "Reset Your Routine" tip. TODAY.com contributor Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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