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Challenge: Taking Care of YOU

Sometimes Ya Gotta Make Your Own Happiness

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The days are long, but the years are short. How many times have we heard this as parents? I know the time flies by; it already is unfathomable that the boys are almost 2.5 years old. Which means they're basically three...in which case, they might as well be teenagers studying for their driving tests and looking at colleges.

suits-e1634300525945.jpg?w=1024See? They're basically already 40yr old professionals in the corporate world.

However, all those days in between are LONG. Like, oh-my-god-how-is-it-only-9am-and-we've-already-negotiated-World-War-Three-in-the-playroom-and-when-is-your-dad-going-to-be-home-from-work-please-stop-spitting-on-my-windows long (no, just me?).

Whenever I feel down, my mom always tells me to find little things in the day to look forward to. They don't have to be extravagant or expensive, but essentially, ya gotta make your own happiness some days. And that's ok.

Here are six ways to help you refresh, recharge, reset, and create your own little gems of happiness throughout the day (or maybe just a few hacks to stay sane). Because let's face it, you deserve it too.

1. 30 Minutes: I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? But carve out just a small pocket of time each day to do something that makes you feel good. Prefer to drink your coffee hot and in peace? Do it. Like to fit in a workout? Get after it. Enjoy a good book? Crack that baby open and read a few pages.

I like to take a shower and put on makeup in the morning (and maybe fit in a quick workout if I'm extra motivated). I don't do it to impress anyone and I don't apply like I'm about to go out for date night (haha, what's that?). Jack and Nick could care less if I'm wearing mascara, but it just makes me feel more put together. Which makes me feel ready to tackle the chaos of the day.

I also like to curl my hair. Believe me, I'm not trying to be fancy. It's really because by some miracle from the hair gods, my hair will hold a curl for like 3-4 days. So with the help of every girl's BFF, dry shampoo, I'm set for the week. Follow me for more hair hacks, ladies.

2. Nap time: Make nap time your time once a week. Don't be a martyr frantically running around the house attempting to accomplish every single task on your to-do list. What ends up happening? You still haven't taken a moment to breathe and the kids are still going to wake up. Once a week use that time to do something for you, even if it's just eating your lunch in peace, catching up on one of your fave shows, or just mindlessly scrolling on your phone.

I like to combine all those activities to really get a good bang for my buck during nap time. I'll turn on my new Real Housewives episodes (or ones that I've seen 3x already; I don't discriminate), scroll a bit, and work on this little blog. Every other week, I'll do my nails, too. Like wearing makeup, it just makes me feel more put together and like myself. But, unlike makeup, Jack and Nick do notice this..."Mommy, nails pink?!"

3. Time Limit: Set a time limit for any apps that are a distraction for you throughout the day (I'm looking at you, Instagram). I'm a textbook rule follower, so when my apps shut down because I've reached my limit, I know I've been on my phone too much (and I resist the urge to push "ignore limit").

Plus, we all know social media is a highlight reel anyway. I'm guilty of it too. Maybe I should start recording the epic meltdowns that occur frequently in our house over monster trucks...stay tuned.

time-limit.jpg?w=473Whoops!

4. Invest in a good skincare routine: Don't blame me, but we're not getting any younger. And if some of your roomies are toddlers, you may actually feel your wrinkles forming, and deepening, each day. A good skincare routine is worth the money, trust me. You'll look forward to your nightly routine, and you'll feel fancy when you slather on your serums and moisturizers each night (your husband won't understand though).

You want people to say, "Wow you look fabulous!" instead of telling you that you look tired (which we all know is code for, eh not your best day today, girlie). At the very least, wear sunscreen every day and wash your face at night before bed.

5. Bedtime: I am not a night owl; I start yawning at 4pm (this is probably why I used to prefer to day drink instead of go out at night. That's like a whole other lifetime ago, though). Establish a decent bedtime and stick to it.

If I go to bed before 10pm, I still hate the sound of my alarm, but at least I feel somewhat rested once I peel myself out from under my covers. I also find that my level of patience is marginally higher to play referee in any and all toddler meltdowns, too.

early-morning-e1634300908959.jpg?w=1024Go to bed early so you don't look like this in the morning.

6. Get outside: Fresh air works wonders for both kids and adults; it's an equal opportunity mood booster. Take a walk, play tag (this is a new one for us, "Mommy run! I tag you now!" so that's super fun), or just lounge in a lawn chair while your kids pick up sticks. Even if it's cold, bundle up and get out there. You'll feel refreshed and your kids will be tired. Win win.

  • yardwork-3-e1634301023575.jpg?w=661
  • yardwork-2-e1634301036494.jpg?w=1024
  • walk-1.jpg?w=1024

Sometimes putting them to work helps tire them out too. That grass isn't going to cut itself and those leaves need raking! Other days, it's just a nice walk with my best guys.

Don't take my word for gold (ha, who does anyway?). You could do all of these things and still have the absolute worst day (or days). I do; it happens.

Maybe these little tricks will help you reset for the next day though. And if that day is a shit show too, well, do yourself a favor and purchase something from one of your online shopping carts (and don't tell your husband I was the one who gave this advice).

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.