How do you make time for yourself?

And no, driving in the car to pick up a child doesn’t count.

As a mom with three kids, I know I have a hard time claiming time for myself. The one thing I schedule for myself every day possible is running. I have made it a point from when the kids were babies to take this time for myself – even if it’s just a half hour or 20 minutes – to clear my head and get outside whenever possible. I live in western New York – snow country – but I promised myself a few years ago I would get outside unless the conditions were truly dangerous – ie, freezing rain or temperatures below 20 degrees.

When I was home with all three kids (all under 4 years old at one point), I would literally get claustrophobic and desperate for just a breath of fresh air. I felt like I had kids touching me and I was carrying babies all day, and I needed a brief escape (now that they are all in school, of course I am sometimes sorry those days are over!). Running takes care of that. By allowing myself to indulge in this short amount of time each day, I am able to remain calm with my kids and on a much more even keel in general.

I have a friend who used to set her alarm for 5:30 am each day so she could read for pleasure for one hour before the family was up and running. I have another friend who gardens – even if it’s just pulling a few weeds. Growing up, I can remember my mom doing yoga stretches every night in her room at 9 o’clock; no one was to bother her during this time.

How do you make time for yourself or what would you do with this time if you managed to find it?

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Rachael Ray