10 Ways To Recharge in 20 Minutes

There has been a bit of backlash recently saying that having a relaxing bath or a bit of a pamper isn’t self care and I’m not sure I agree. If you are a parent you can be constantly at the beck and call of your children whether it's tidying up after them, making them food or just answering their 6 million questions. So for parents I think self care is putting yourself first, for however short a time it might be for, and allowing yourself to briefly take off that parenting hat. 

It can be hard to get a break, but whether you use nap time, tell their other parent you are taking time out, or you need to give your child the iPad for 20 minutes taking some time to do something non parenting related can help you to recharge.

A view of a book being read in bed while looking out of the window one of the ways to recharge quickly as a parent.
Ideas for how to recharge fast when you are a busy parent

10 Ways to Have Time Out and Recharge as a Parent in 20 Minutes

Call a Friend For a Chat

For extroverts talking to people can be a great way to shift your mood and laughing is good for everyone. Children aren’t always the best conversationalists so it’s good to speak to an adult whether they are a friend or a family member. Trying to keep the guy on the phone who called asking “If you recently had an accident that wasn’t your fault” might not have the same impact though.

Have a Bath or a Long Shower (with the door locked)

Yes washing is a basic necessity which we all need to do regularly, but there is washing and there is washing. Somedays I have a shower where I am cleaning myself as quickly as possible, with one ear listening out for the children fighting and some days I can lock the door and just stand under the hot spray of the shower, watching the steam rising and really get lost in the moment. There is a big difference between the two and how I feel afterwards.

Play Computer Games

If you struggle to switch off from all the many things you need to do playing computer games is a great way to shift your focus for a short while. I am a big fan of classic arcade games or simple games like pinball. Nothing too involved which will frustrate me, just something fun for me to escape with for a little way. I have a few favourite apps on my phone or I visit Plays.org which has a great selection of these types of games you can play for free (with no ADs either). I love that so many of these games remind me of those I used to play on my Dad's computer when I was a child.

Listen to Music and Dance

What was the last song you listened to? Do you find that you mostly listen to child friendly, child approved music? When was the last time you put headphones on, put on some of your pre-kid music and danced around the room? If you haven’t done it in a while give it a try. Any music works, but something nostalgic will give you an extra boost.

Read a Book or Some Poetry

I could spend all evening reading a good book, but that’s a wonderful luxury. I almost don’t like to start books I know will be good because I find it hard to put them down and I put off lots of tasks I should be doing to finish it. Then I feel sad it's over.  When I am reading for a short period I have a selection of books which are great for bursts of recharging; some books which I find really motivating and love to read a chapter of and some beautiful passages from much loved books I have read multiple times. Poetry can also be a good way to get this quick fix of literary distraction.


Taking 20 minutes to meditate takes some practice, but it can make a huge difference to how you feel. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It helps to have a timer so you don’t get distracted by looking at a clock. If you need more help then this guide on how to meditate will be helpful.

Have a Cup of Tea in the Garden (Alone)

Whether it's enjoying the sun rays, sitting in the dark listening to the noises of the night or even hiding under an umbrella I find being in my garden (alone) with a cup of tea a great way to recharge. Whether you prefer coffee or a glass of wine the principle is the same. Sit there with your drink, smell it, feel the warmth, enjoy the taste of it. If you are somewhere calm listen to the sounds around you, the birds, insects etc. If there are children yelling somewhere in the background then maybe just focus on that drink.

Paint Your Nails

Pick a colour that makes you smile and paint your nails. It wont take 20 minutes, but that gives you time to relax while they get touch dry too. The time spent concentrating to paint them neatly will distract you from everything else and doing something just for you should help boost your mood too.

Write a Journal Entry

Some people find talking healing, for others they may find it more helpful to write. Getting all those thoughts and feelings down on paper can really help to clear your head. Sometimes you will be writing happy thoughts and the reminder will make you smile, other times you might be writing down something that troubles you, but the act of writing can help to clarify the thoughts and help you see everything in a way you hadn’t managed while keeping it in your head.

Browsing Online Shopping

20 minutes isn’t enough time to get out to the shops, but you can easily open some of your favourite shops' websites and have a browse. It might be looking at the new seasons clothes, some jewellery or new homeware, whatever it is you should look at beautiful items you might want to buy for you, nothing for children is allowed. You might want to add a few things to your basket, but just having the time to think about what YOU want is good for you.

3 ways to recharge in 1 minute

If you are really short of time, but need to reset try these quick tricks:

Have an extended hug. The average time people hug for is around 3 seconds, but an extended hug with someone you care about can be really healing. Some studies have found that after 20 seconds you start releasing Oxytocin (the love hormone) and forming that connection with another person is good for you. You might want to warn them first so they don’t try to escape.

Do nothing. Set a timer for 1 minute then just lie down or sit still with your eyes shut and enjoy nothing. You might be surprised how long it feels on a hectic day.

Jump. You might not be in the mood to keep calm and still for a minute, so go the other way and be super active for one minute. Star jumps are a great option (although to be honest with my pelvic floor I couldn’t manage a minute of jumping) as are burpies or running on the spot. Choose something that is a good bit of cardio and really push yourself to go as hard as you can for one minute. It will definitely shift your mood and leave you in a different place afterwards.

I hope these ideas help you. Why not pin this post so you can find it again when you have had a hard day and need to find a way to quickly recharge?

Ideas of how to recharge and reset in 20 minutes or less when you are a busy parent
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This is a collaborative post.

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