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Give Yourself a Time Out

Telling your child to take it easy is, well, easy. So why does prescribing yourself the same medicine seem so daunting? Probably because, like most moms, you're juggling more balls than any person should have to. Still, there are ways to take those much-needed breaks. According to these stress-busting moms, getting away from everything can start much closer to home than you thought.

Power lunch
If you work in an office, rather than eat lunch with colleagues or friends, head out to a quiet park, library, or mall, and enjoy the time by yourself.
 -- Julie Carr Smyth, Worthington, OH

Leave the driving to them
If you commute by bus, train, or subway, take the time to read or meditate.
 -- Lisa Skarzynski, East Brunswick, NJ

Give yourself a time-out
Break away from everything for a few minutes  -- even if it's an escape to the hall closet while the baby's asleep in the crib  -- to take some deep breaths.
 --Donna Parker, Voorheesville, NY

Put it on your calendar
Take one night a week to do something for yourself, be it a bubble bath, a movie, or a good book.
 -- Julia Baker

Privacy in aisle five
Do your grocery shopping in the evening, alone. It'll get you out of the house for the night.
 -- Jessica Mandell

Take the long way home
If you work away from home, drive the scenic route to your office, and use the extra time to listen to music or a book on tape.
 -- Jan Hanson, San Rafael, CA

Power in numbers
Get together with another mom and take turns enjoying private time to do whatever you want. When you come back from your outing, it's your turn to babysit and her turn to venture out alone.
 -- Shannon Harris, Aurora, Ontario, Canada

Skip the brown bag
If you're lucky enough to work near where you live, go home at lunchtime. Savor the time to eat in the comfort of your home. Use spare moments to finish chores or prepare dinner, if you must. Better yet, use the time to meditate, relax, or read a good article.
 -- Wade Costello, Fairfield, CT