Most adults could use a little R&R every now and then, but the work-at-home moms out there are paragons of the modern condition, juggling kids, work, and running a household right up until their tenuous balancing act collapses thanks to exhaustion. You’ve no doubt heard these wise words: if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. And while you can put yourself last on your list of priorities for an awfully long time, eventually your body is going to take that decision away from you by getting sick or injured and forcing you to take a break. But rather than letting it get to that point, consider scheduling in some time for yourself so that you can relax, unwind, and recall what it means to have a little time for yourself. Here are just a few easy and affordable ways to get the R&R you need even when you have all the responsibilities of a work-at-home mom.

  1. Take a yoga class. There are few better ways to clear your mind, stretch cramped muscles, and relax deeply than by taking a yoga class. And many studios offer either monthly rates or a pay-as-you-go plan that allows you to try a variety of practices as you have time. Of course, you might find yoga too difficult or embarrassing if you’re just a beginner. In this case, consider taking regular walks around your neighborhood to relieve tension and breathe some fresh air. You can fire up your iPod and zone out or call a friend to walk with you.
  2. Lunch with the ladies. Girlfriends are a godsend for the busy woman who spends most of her time taking care of a family and meeting work deadlines. Plus, working from home can be an isolating experience. So at least once a week, take a break to meet the ladies for lunch. You don’t have to go all out and spend beaucoup bucks to have a good time, but you should get out of the house and away from all of your duties for a while.
  3. Pursue a hobby. Whether you’re interested in dancing, karate, writing, cooking, art, gardening, mechanics, Photoshop, or learning a musical instrument, for example, making time to take a short class or regular lessons is a great way to do something that’s just for you. Online classes are certainly an option these days, but consider getting out of the house once a week. It’s a great way to let go of your home-based concerns, meet new people, and treat yourself.
  4. Just say no. Believe it or not, you can relax and unwind by employing one simple word: no! As a work-at-home mom you may pride yourself on how expertly you balance all of your obligations. The problem is that your plate can quickly get overly full, leaving little time to focus on your needs. For this reason it’s important to be realistic about how much you can handle and start saying no to requests for your time. It may be hard at first, and you’re bound to feel guilty, but keep in mind that your first and most important obligation is to care for yourself. So don’t ever feel bad about saying no.
  5. Girls spa day…at home. Although you might prefer to visit a day spa Needham to New York City, a tight budget could stop you from grabbing your closest girlfriends and blowing some dough on a day of pricy spa treatments. Instead, send the kids to Grandma’s house, tell your hubby to head to the sports bar for a day of football with the guys, and have the ladies over for some personal pampering that includes facials, mani-pedis (you can do each other’s nails), and perhaps even some massages thanks to an in-home visit (you can split the cost and take turns). It may not be high-end, but it will give you some time to catch up without kids underfoot, and you’ll have glowing skin and perfect nails, to boot.

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