Top Five Restful Activities for Parents with Five Minutes to Spare

Top 5 Restful Activities for Parents with Five Minutes to Spare -
Top Five Restful Activities for Parents with Five Minutes to Spare
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Rest is fundamental to regenerating the brain cells and rejuvenating the body. Yet, many parents are guilty of not taking the time out in the day to simply turn off the switch and shut down for at least five minutes. The turmoil world of parenthood can become overwhelming at times, but, the calming and de-stressing effects of rest are wondrous to both the body and soul.

Here are my top five restful activities that have been tried and tested to provide that much needed physical and mental rest that we all so crave – and they all work.

Total body stretching and taking deep, long breaths

Pregnant and meditating
(Taken from

Have you ever placed your arms above your head after being in one position for a long time, stretched your body and heard your spine creak and moan in response? It’s amazing how we don’t take time out to stretch our bodies and how knotted and misaligned our back becomes during the day. A lot of stress comes from the extra pressure we add from bad posture, whether we have office jobs and we are not sitting properly, or we are bending our backs and not our knees to lift heavy objects off the floor. These movements have harsh long-term effects on our body.

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When cats wake up from their catnaps, they stretch their entire body out before they pounce about nimbly like ninjas. Stretching like a cat when you wake up, coupled with long, deep breaths, not only stretch out your muscles and realign your bones, but the instant rush of oxygen through your entire body wakes you up faster than a double shot espresso. Try it. As soon as you wake up, inhale deeply as you stretch your arms above your head and elongate the legs, so that you are as straight as an arrow. Then, exhale deeply through pursed lips as you enjoy the stretch. It feels so great afterwards!

Just as a bonus point, if you inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips, you are increasing your breathing efficiency and enhancing your tolerance through exercise. That means you can endure longer, tougher workouts through using this breathing technique.

Switching off the brain

Obviously, it’s impossible to completely switch off the brain, but taking the time to be with yourself and simply meditating is a powerful tool to strengthen the mind and body and, ultimately, de-stress more successfully. Yoga is proven to be one of the most effective ways of keeping the mind and body young. I’ve seen some hardcore, experienced yogis in my time and you would never be able to guess their age, they all look so young and healthy! Meditation aids spiritual growth and reduces stress exponentially, ultimately increasing overall health and providing your body with stronger immunity to stressful situations.

The trick is not to overthink it (ha!) Go to a quiet room, if you can, and shut the door. Either sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, so your spine is straight and upright. Either open or close your eyes, whatever makes you feel more comfortable, and softly focus your mind on your breathing, i.e. don’t overthink it! Breathe in and out naturally, gradually trying to make the inhales and exhales longer and deeper. If you’re having trouble with this, you can count each exhale. Before you know it, ten minutes have gone by and you are relaxed.

Playing meaningless games that don’t require much thought.

These kind of games could be kicking a football outside, playing a game of cards with friends or, if you’re like me and pretty much on your own during the day, playing a game online. Games can be fun because they provide harmless fun and entertainment for a short period of time. There are a variety of games you can play now, from the well-known Microsoft Solitaire on your PC to Google App Hidden Object Games. If you fancy winning some money (real or fake) then you can try online games such as poker, bridge or bingo. Not many people realise that you don’t have to visit the nearby bingo halls to play with your friends now. You can actually go online and play bingo in your own time, whenever you want. Good new bingo sites can be found online quite easily, but the most popular bingo sites can be found here. You can check more of no deposit bingo sites here as well, which are free.

Get some fresh air

Pregnant woman getting fresh air

(Taken from

Even if this means popping your head out of a window for five minutes, do it. Breathe that fresh air into your lungs and regenerate. And if you’re by a tree, breathe in the fresh air around it. I won’t go too scientific on you, but trees use photosynthesis to turn our carbon dioxide into the oxygen we need to breathe. Fresh air boosts your immune system and if you combine fresh air with some exercise, i.e. taking a walk outside, you can raise your immune system further because exercising regularly increases your natural killer cells and fights germs quicker and more efficiently.

You may have noticed that getting the heart pumping and being out and about seems to reduce cold-like symptoms when you’re feeling rundown. I have done this many times and exercise, Vitamin D (your body makes this from the sun when you’re outside) water and Vitamin C (oranges, strawberries etc..) are my top tips for busting colds and flus before they hit hard.

It really does do you good – fresh air actually boosts happiness too!

Get away from what you’re doing and completely take your mind off it

Are you sitting at your desk for the best part of the day or tending to a house full of noisy kids? Stop what you’re doing (if you can) and get away from the situation. Just getting up and walking away gets the blood pumping again. It stimulates your brain cells and allows you to approach your task with renewed vigour. You can gain the bigger picture of whatever you are doing, just by stepping back and gathering your thoughts, so you can tackle your tasks again without the stress and anguish.

Bonus point for mums with very young babies who may not be able to do some of the points above as easily – giggle and play with your baby

If you are stressed and in a state of panic because A, B, and C have not been done, stop what you’re doing (it’s only five minutes, don’t worry) and just take a moment to laugh and play with your baby. It’s amazing how the simple act of smiling can boost your mood instantly. Babies seem to make you forget about your problems, especially when they’re giggling and smiling. You’ll soon remember why you had kids in the first place. 

If you have any tips on how to rest properly, please do not hesitate to leave us a comment. You can find more tips on nutrition, relaxation and health during pregnant over at Mommy Authority. 

*Associated Editorial*

Leyla Preston (590 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: