mother and children

What would you do if your husband or mother in law suddenly offered to take the kids for an entire day? If your children were invited to spend the weekend at a trusted friend’s house, would you know what to do with the spare time? 21st century moms understand the necessity of taking occasional “me” days. Here are ways to refresh your mind and relax your body when the kids are having a perfectly dandy time elsewhere.

Get thee to the great outdoors

When you’ve got a chance, get outdoors and soak up some nature. Visit a nearby beach or hike around a local lake without worrying about applying sunscreen or bug repellant to kids. Explore nature trails without a stroller in front of you and don’t forget to walk barefoot through the grass, suggests Daily Mom magazine.

Indulge in a day of pampering

How long has it been since you treated yourself to a mani-pedi, a massage, or a brand-new haircut? When the kids are otherwise occupied, you can spend the time doing something special for yourself without feeling guilty. You might be surprised at the way a pretty new nail polish improves your outlook on life in general.

If you think taking a day off will cause your household to fall into utter disarray, do think again. Your kids won’t suffer if you send them to their favorite auntie’s house for the night, nor will your home descend into chaos, say relaxation pros at Parenting magazine. In fact, taking time off now and then may help you appreciate -and have more fun with- your kids when they arrive back home from their short adventure away.

Read, write and make art

Even the most avid book reader may neglect her favorite page-turning activity once she enters the busy world of motherhood. When the kids off on a play date, it’s the perfect time to pull out a paperback and catch up on missed reading. Writing in a journal or composing a novel are creative writing activities that may be entertained when the children are safely ensconced with Grandma.

If you’ve got a home art studio, good for you! Get your hands covered in clay as you craft pottery, or toss on a smock and go to town on a painting. Time spent in creative pursuits can relax your body and refresh your mind in remarkable ways.

If you don’t have a dedicated art space of your own, you can still create stunningly beautiful artwork with the Coloring Book for Me & Mandala app from Apalon. Available at Google Play, this mom-worthy Android app offers an ever-changing selection of gorgeous geometric shapes and a rainbow of colors with which to decorate them.

Motherhood can be frankly exhausting. There’s no reason any mommy has to feel like a martyr when the kids spend time away from home with a trusted adult. Use the time wisely and refresh your life.