What mom doesn’t deserve some time reserved just for herself? Whether you’re a first timer caring round-the-clock for a newborn, or a seasoned veteran juggling kids and a career, chances are you’ve put your own needs on the back burner and deserve a couple of hours to do as you choose.
While spending a day by yourself or with your girlfriends is a nice Mother’s Day gift, it won’t be long before you are back in the throes of changing diapers and packing lunches. Here are some ways to savor out-of-the-house experiences and recreate them once you’re back at home—and back to being mom.
You may have received a gift certificate to a local spa or salon for a day of pampering. But how can you decide which treatment will make you feel your most beautiful self? At Ska:ná Spa at Turning Stone Resort (www.turningstone.com/spa/skana) in Verona, NY, certain spa menu items are tailored toward busy moms. A custom pedicure includes selecting a favorite scent from a collection of calming aromas, along with a shade of nail polish. In addition, the spa’s Oneida Custom Massage offers an hour of relaxation that promotes circulation and eases tension, while a signature facial cleanses and exfoliates along with a shoulder, scalp and neck massage.
Not only are these procedures relaxing, but they are teeming with health benefits. “Massages and facials help to release tension from muscles and improve sleep habits,” says Shane Bird, director of spa operations. “Simply taking time to unwind, relax and give back to yourself are some of the best things a mom can do to lower stress levels and improve mental health.”
Before heading out, treat yourself to a few items from a spa’s retail shop, so you can pamper yourself at home (at the Ska:ná venue, calming tea blends, skincare products and massage oils are available for purchase).
Stretch to De-stress
If you’re ready to dust off your yoga mat, you can adapt a routine with three basic poses that can be done in succession. Tatyana Souza, owner of Coolidge Yoga (www.coolidgeyoga.com) in Boston, Mass., offers this trio that works well right before bedtime. Begin with a supported fish pose by laying one yoga block under your shoulder blades and another under the back of your head. Relax your arms at your sides and take slow deep breaths. “This pose opens up the front of the chest, shoulders and lungs, which get compressed daily in our modern routines,” she explains.
Next is the supine twist, during which you lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Let your knees drop to one side while relaxing your arms and chest, take slow deep breaths and then repeat. Finish up with the legs up the wall pose by reclining on your back and resting your legs on a wall for at least five minutes. “This pose is a gentle inversion and helps to relieve tired legs and also any swelling from a long day on your feet,” says Souza.
Applying what you practice during yoga to everyday life can be a long-term sanity saver for moms. “In yoga, we learn how to pay attention to the breath…to be patient with our progress, to not criticize ourselves and we witness our own progress over time,” she notes. “When a challenging situation arises, focus on your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply. Avoid criticizing yourself and rest in the knowledge that with patience and dedication, life’s challenge can also progress forward.”
Take a Hike
Whether pushing a stroller, grabbing a buddy for a lunchtime jaunt around the office complex or fitting in a walk before school bus pick-up, walking is good for both mind and body. “A number of studies show that moderate intensity activities can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancers and diabetes,” says Wesley Trimble, program outreach/communications manager, American Hiking Society (www.americanhiking.org). “Walking in nature can reduce depression and anxiety and improve memory.”
Moms looking to team up with other like-minded walkers can check out Hike It Baby (www.hikeitbaby.com), an organization that helps connect young families with the outdoors across the United States. “It’s great for those that don’t have a lot of experience and helps them stay safe,” notes Trimble.
Regardless of whether you prefer to hike solo or with friends, walking in nature shouldn’t intimidate anyone. “Unlike other activities, there’s a low barrier to entry with hiking,” he says. “When people think about hiking, they think of national parks or trails, but from our perspective, it’s simply about getting out into nature as a whole.” Trimble recommends starting small on paved paths in the park or easy trails close to home and then building up to a bigger hike or steeper trails down the line. “You don’t need to spend a full day,” he adds.
Sounds perfect for any mom’s schedule.