Me time when there’s no time

There’s been a consistent theme for me so far this year, and right now moreso than ever. THERE’S NO TIME. I seem to be chasing my tail more than I ever have been before, literally from the moment I’m awake. it’s game ON. This is no different to any of your lives, we are all the same, running our lives, businesses, our families and at the end of the day always seeming to put ourselves last. It’s just the way it goes, the burnt chop syndrome and all that comes with motherhood.

I suppose for me, this year has been different as we made the switch to Highschool which means the casual pace of being at primary school (and literally 2 minutes away) has ended. There’s been LOTS of driving, to and from as there is no public transport outside of the school bus, recently there has been my Mum having her knee replaced which has meant lots of trips to visit her in hospital and then since she has been home, trips back and from home to rehab, shopping and chores for my step Dad. You get the picture.

I wouldn’t have it any other way, and it’s probably the only one downside of living in the country: driving distances (but hardly a downside when you get the privilege and joy of living somewhere so beautiful). I’m just tired you guys, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

It’s always around this time of year that I start to feel a little like this, looking back over the past few years I always struggle a little in June, whether it’s the short, cold days (but I LOVE the cold so let’s not blame that), maybe it’s just that it’s SOMEHOW almost July and I haven’t had a chance to even start my new resolutions, maybe it’s my hormones, the full moon, surely mercury is in retrograde, maybe it’s just being 41 and a Mum of 3 kids aged 4, 9 & 12.

I’m tired.
You’re tired.
We are all tired.

So how can we start to put ourselves first for a change? How can we try and make some “me” time when there are SO many of “them” that demand so much from us day after day. I thought I would share some of the (very) small things that I do now and then that help my mindset, and make me feel a little more human. They are not elaborate, grand things like take myself to a retreat in Bali, heck, I can barely afford to get a massage these days, but just small every day things that I do, that help a little. And something that I need to do more of right now, in June, when apparently I need it most.

1.Set an alarm super early

Now this doesn’t sound very fun does it? I mean, if you are tried, why not sleep in. But here’s the thing: when I sleep in, I am usually woken my an angry 4 year old who wants something, or me, NOW. It’s being woken on someone else’s terms and it generally sets a tone for the day for me (resentful and cranky). So I have been setting my alarm for most of the school terms at around 5.15-5.30am and that means I wake up in the complete darkness, but I have SILENCE. And time for me to get started on some work, without interruption before anyone asks me ANYTHING. I am a morning person I will admit, so maybe this would work better for you at night, but I have been getting an hour or so of power for work done, the fire and house gets warm before anyone wakes, and I feel in control of my morning.

2. Read a book (or 13)

I have FINALLY got my reading mojo back beyond holiday time and it feels REALLY good to be reading again. Getting stuck into a good book makes you want to hop into bed and read it. It stops me from scrolling mindlessly and endlessly though my phone or watching bad TV that I don’t care about (while scrolling endlessly). I love sitting on the couch and reading while the world continues around me – it’s such signal to the family that I am engrossed in something, it encourages others to read. I am loving it and as a consequence I have read 13 books this year! Not bad, hope I can keep it up.

3. Get outside

I REALLY need to start exercising again, I have been so slack this year because: BUSY but it makes a huge difference to my mental wellbeing when I get outside. All the problems that seem SO big when you get caught up in your own head, seem to get smaller and into perspective when you get outside and look at the world around you. You are reminded that life goes on, seasons change and there’s something much bigger than you happening right outside. Get your toes into the grass, some sunshine on your back, sneak in just a few minutes while grabbing the washing, have your tea in the sunshine, go outside and look at the stars at night, smell the smoky, cold air of winter.

4. Get dressed, make an effort

God I get so sick of looking at myself and looking like SHITE. Especially working from home when no one sees me. I usually grab the clothes off the floor from the night before, wear the same jeans, different jumper, not even have a shower and it inevitably makes me feel like crap. Whenever I carve the time out to have a shower, do my hair, whack something on my face I ALWAYS feel better. Yesterday when I did that and the post office lady asked me where I was going, I knew I had to make more of an effort more often. Sure you have to take it all off at the end of the day, but it makes me feel better, it just does.

5. Cancel plans

Sure you have paid for that gymnastics class but shit it feels good just to NOT go one time. Sit and cancel plans (if you can) that little act will feel so indulgent and SO good. I did it last week with Maggie and it was the best thing ever (for both of us).

6. Go on an Instagram holiday

There are so many people right now headed on amazing holidays over in Europe or the snow (and it’s only going to get worse you guys over the next few weeks of school holidays) so I say…enjoy them! Tag along with them – do down some rabbit holes of Instagram to places and lives different to your own and enjoy from the comfort of your couch. One of my favourite times of day is post dinner wash up, post bath when Maggie has quiet time on the couch and I have about 25 minutes or so scroll indulgently through Instagram stories and I just love it. Pure escapism….and it’s free!

7. Go and visit someone you love

In a world of social media where we are the most connected we have ever been: it’s also a lonely and isolating time as we often don’t see people in real life. A simple phone call, you know, TALKING, can be so good for the soul. You laugh IRL you guys. A visit to a friend for a morning, a lunch or coffee date. I went and had a sleepover at my Mum’s place last week with Maggie and realised that in all the time that they have lived in the Highlands I have never stayed the night at their place. That’s not ok! Those few hours with Maggie and me, there, cooking them dinner and then off in the morning felt like an escape from life and I know they loved it too. How easy is that?!

I’d love to know what you guys do to find some time for yourself in amongst it all? Maybe you are an empty nester now and remember what life used to be like and have some suggestions or wise words to share with those of us still in the trenches?

What are your ways to find time for yourself?


  1. I signed up to a 5 week yoga class…1.5hrs a week on a Saturday afternoon for 5 weeks. I made it to 3 classes, and had to leave 30 mins early from one of them and spent the rest either forgetting to breathe or feeling guilty for taking the time for the very thing that would make me a faaarrr less shouty, cranky person. Me time I can (kinda) do, but guilt-free me time? HA! Mythical fucker.

  2. Tash Hodge says

    I don’t get any ME TIME. My husbands a full time shearer and away from Sunday afternoon until late Friday night so his home less then 36 hours a week. We have a farm and 2 little boys that I look after. Weekends consist of rugby league ( for the husband) or farm work of things I can’t do with two kids tagging behind me 😩

    • Oh Tash you sounds like you have your hands FULL. Good luck with it all – hope you can try and find something in the day just for you….even if it’s just a few quiet minutes x

  3. Exactly what I needed to read… time and money being tighter than every and I just feel like I never do something solely for me. I am onto my 3rd book for the month and have been trying to walk in the 30 minutes between dropping off kids and when I need to be at work. It is just a stroll – in work clothes and ballet flats – but good to smell the fresh air and just be…

    • It really can be as simple as that Sally – that’s what I have been finding at least. Hope you can keep the reading up – libraries are the best too!

  4. Oh my goodness I feel you! But please tell me how you get up without waking your kids. The minute I open an eye lid They.Are.There. Send Help! Xx

    • My big two are better now…Mags still wakes when she hears me but I creep around in the dark and the bedrooms are a little bit away from where I hide by the fire.

  5. oh I remember those days, they are just a hard slog.
    I think it’s great that you are mentioning it here, it really is just the tiniest things that can make all the difference. Some days it was just getting to drink my coffee before it got cold. I’ve read many a book half a page at a time before falling asleep. I think the best thing I did was to allow longer for every task than it really needed, specially the ones involving driving, it meant arriving much less stressed and if I was early it allowed time for a hand job ( you know moisturising my hands and cuticles) and if it took longer or there was some hold up or delay, I wasn’t late and didn’t beat myself up about being late.
    I, too started getting up before everyone else, I still get up at 5.30 now, it’s a habit and I quite like it, but back then when the kids were teens it was often the only time in the day when I was alone, and didn’t have anyone making demands on me or my time.

    cheers kate

  6. I love everything about this post Beth! You are speaking for us all. Great ideas x

  7. Well, I’m having some ‘me’ time in the only quiet room in the house: the loo. Take what you can get.

    Early starts are such a good idea, hard to drag self from bed though.

    Are you getting/taking enough Vitamin D? I find this is a game changer for my energy levels in winter. X

  8. You’ve got it under control, Beth. Just re-read this blog if you need some reassurance. Very reflective and worthwhile advice to self. Thanks 🙏

  9. Feel like I have been doing number 5 following Jo & her fam from @countrylifeexperiment on their European holiday. Beautiful!

    Great post x

  10. Do what works for you Beth ! This is a year of change for you and your family so go easy on yourself ? I have been listening to some podcasts over the last week and one was with Gretchen Rubin and Kristina Karllson – they talked about happiness and habits and lots of things that resonated with me ! Gretchen wrote a book which sounds interesting called outer order inner calm which I want to check out ! Maybe add it to your reading list ?

  11. I have my youngest (4 y.o) at home two days a week while the other two (6 y.o) are at school, and when he’s watching some kids telly in the morning, I sneak outside and lay a towel down under a tree and look up at the clouds for awhile. I sometimes get ten whole minutes before the “mum.. mum… MUM?!!… ” starts. Incredibly peaceful and rejuvenating. Sometimes just a few minutes a day by yourself makes all the difference to your mood.

    Thanks for your post, great advice.

    • Great tip – a bit too frosty outside for us at the mo but I get it and have been trying to get outside it makes such a difference! x

  12. Hi Beth, I’m a stay at home mom-turned-empty nester and I still find myself battling the same mindset despite NOT being all that busy. It feels pretty crappy and I’m hard on myself about it because I know it’s within my power to change. I’m so glad I read this today. Such simple advice, but the kind that makes me feel like, “yeah…let’s do all this!!” Thank you.

  13. Lots of wonderful ideas Beth, especially 3, 5 and 7. All I would add is 15 minutes of meditation, daily is best but most days is OK. I know this doesn’t appeal to everyone but I find it really makes a difference when I do it consistently.

  14. You know what I find amusing? I am an empty nester and wish I wasn’t to be honest, I miss the kids, but I find that If I was to say to somebody that I had a relaxing day at home today or did nothing really, I feel like I am being judged. I have the comments well lucky you, must be good to do nothing, like it is bad thing. I mentioned to you before I have had my days of 3 different schools, after school activities,weekend sports, in the car all the time, and I do miss it, weird hey. Seriously everyone thinks that the only way is to run run run. I have always been a huge list maker, still am and I to allow more time for things and then that extra time adds up and I can do something that I want to do, for me. I think we all feel guilty if we have MY time, and you shouldn’t. You are doing an amazing job.x

  15. I’m in the same stage of life as you Donna, I agree about feeling judged and feeling guilty for saying no I’m not busy
    Cheers Kate

  16. I totally get the ‘getting up early’ thing and I still do it now. Cancelling plans can also be one of the best things you can do and saying ‘no’ more often. It’s a tricky juggle especially if you’re a bit of an A type personality 😉 The other thing you said, which is totally true for me too, is the getting dressed and showered and making some sort of effort. I’m often more productive on those days as I’m a real culprit for wearing my workout gear ALL day and not brushing my hair!
    I don’t know the answers but I reckon you’re doing great ❤️

  17. Hi Beth
    My Dad always gave me a hug
    when I was struggling with 4 kids and tell me “your time WILL come” some days/weeks that is the only thing you can hold onto.
    Just keep doing your best and sometimes just doing OK is enough.

  18. Debbie Eustace says

    Make sure your calendar is always up to date and current. That way whenever you go for a beauty or hair appointment, as you pay, book your next appointment and put it into the calendar straight away. It’s easier than trying to find time to make an appointment when it is well overdue.

    Love your blog and insta stories. Thank you so much.

  19. I have got the Borrow Box app. You get an id and password from your local library & can then access lots of ebooks & audio books for free!! It’s a loan like a library book & expires in two weeks. No late returns & late fees. I have been much more adventurous & if I don’t like something I just return it and find another. I have the app on my iPad & phone so I always have a book with me to read during that 5 spare minutes waiting to collect someone. Audio books are great for all the driving too

  20. Great post Beth. I also love the cold but seem to only get around 3 weeks of it up here – it is lovely and cold here. Wish I had a fire, but have to settle for the split system on heat and uggies on feet. Oh Beth – Dolly Fiction, that was a blast from the past – I used to love Dolly Fiction!!! Yes to everything you said and where on earth has this year gone? Seriously!!!

  21. I love audiobooks too Claire and yes to Borrow Box. Do you know what I also just discovered that on Audible if you don’t like a book you can get a refund credit and choose another book – it is brilliant. I had a few sitting there that I hadn’t finished so just returned and got some new credits – it is a win win all round. I just finished No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Viesturs – I am obsessed with Mountaineering stories at the moment – I have no desire to EVER climb an icy mountain but they do fascinate me!

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