Making Me a Priority: 10 Ways to Spend 20 Spare Minutes

“How can you take care of (Baby Bird) if you’re not taking care of yourself?!?”

I’ve been sick this week — struggling to get my hypoglycemia under control — but things got really bad Wednesday. Baby Bird nursed for a long time that morning, and by the time I got up to eat, I was lightheaded and sick to my stomach.

I slowly got dressed, then made my way with the kid to my parents’ house a few blocks away.

I was embarrassed that I had to hand my child over to my parents for the day, but I just didn’t have the strength to care for her. I was barely able to pick her up, so running after her seemed like an impossibility.

I brought the situation on myself. I talk a good game when it comes to self-care, but I haven’t been practicing what I preach. I’m not eating as well (or as often) as I should. I’m not staying hydrated. I’ve slacked on taking my vitamins.

I’m not listening to my body.

I spend nearly every minute of every day caring for Baby Bird. Meanwhile, I’m falling to pieces. That’s what prompted the reprimand above from my mom.

By not carving out at least 20 minutes of “me time” a day, I’m putting my mental and physical health — and my daughter — at risk. (I have a history of blacking out if my blood sugar falls too low. I’m pissed at myself for letting the situation nearly get that bad.)

I have find some balance.

Twenty minutes a day isn’t a lot to ask. Here’s how I’ll spend that time.

  • Eating. It’s not that I don’t eat during the day. I just inhale whatever I’m eating because I have a small child tugging at my yoga pants. Or, I take a few bites, then give up on the rest because I need to stop Baby Bird from pulling the cat’s hair out. I can use the 20 minutes to eat in peace — and maybe even chew.
  • Meditating. There are numerous apps I can download to help me learn to meditate. Alternatively, I could do some deep breathing during one of Baby Bird’s naps.
  • Exercising. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of exercising, but I know it’s a necessary evil. And honestly, I always have more energy — and feel more positive — after I’ve done it.
  • Reconnecting. Twenty minutes is more than enough time to check in with a friend or family member I’ve been meaning to call or text.
  • Pampering myself. I’ve never been one to regularly visit nail salons, but I could give myself a pedicure in 20 minutes. I have a foot spa in the attic, and I think it’s time to break it out. It’s a small act, but it’ll help me feel more like myself.
  • Listening to music. Enjoying music has always been how I got to my zen space, but all I’ve listened to lately is Toddler Tunes on Music Choice. Twenty minutes of Sade or Meshell Ndegeocello should help bring me back to a calm, clear place, and maybe that’ll rub off on Baby Bird.
  • Reading. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that had more than 50 words. I could definitely zip through a cheesy romance novella in 20 minutes.
  • Taking a power nap. Nuff said.
  • Watching TV. I find trash TV to be incredibly relaxing. I can’t get through a full “Housewives” episode in 20 minutes, but I can definitely watch “House Hunters” On Demand.
  • Showering. Yes, I shower, but I don’t get to take leisurely showers ( i.e., more than 2 minutes). With 20 minutes, I could wax my armpits before I hopped into the bath. I could shave my legs and use body wash. I could wash all the soap from my body. I could use my Clarisonic. I could put on lotion afterward. Lotion, glorious lotion!

Self-care GIF


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Self-care With Time to Spare: 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself in 20 Minutes


  1. Self care is so important. I know it’s hard with a little one running around and needing you every moment of every day but you have to be your best self in order to take care of her. Light a candle, put on your favorite music, and bring that foot spa out of the attic and treat yourself!

    • I know. It scared me that I felt so unwell I couldn’t care for her on my own. It really was a wakeup call. Thank goodness my parents live nearby.

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