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Need a Break From Life?  9 Creative Ideas for Busy Moms

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Have you ever called in sick to work just because you “needed a day”?  A little mental health break every so often can do a wonder of good, but it’s not so easy to take a “sick day” when you’re a mom, is it?

But sometimes we really do need a break from life.   Our daily schedules and life, in general, have us feeling consistently drained, exhausted, and just over it all.

It becomes necessary to temporarily distance ourselves from our stressful day-to-day routines in order to restore balance, recharge, and protect our mental and physical health.

Let’s discuss what taking a break from life could look like as a busy mom, how to know when you need one, and 9 creative ideas for when even the smallest break feels impossible.

Need a Break from Life?  9 Creative Ideas for Busy Moms

When do you know you need a break from life?

It’s important to learn how to take regular breaks and insert simple and consistent self-care practices into your daily routines.  This is the best way to care for your well-being and the first line of defense in avoiding chronic stress and burnout.

However, sometimes we’re unable to follow through with our regular self-care methods or we’re going through a particularly hard time and it seems they simply aren’t enough.  If you notice any of the below signs in yourself, it’s a good indicator that you may need a break from life.

Signs You Need a Break:

  • Mentally exhausted – Irritability, high stress levels, and low energy levels are telltale signs of mental fatigue or exhaustion. 
  • Physically exhausted – You have a weakened immune system due to stress, fatigue, and/or have developed poor eating habits.
  • Constantly on edge – You feel anxious more often than not and are constantly on edge.
  • Easily triggered – Just about anything can set you off, resulting in an overreaction to situations, angry outbursts, and heightened emotional responses.
  • Lack of motivation – You lack the motivation to do anything, even those activities you normally enjoy, and may even feel resentful of your responsibilities like childcare, housework, and job-related functions.
  • Withdrawn – You’re pulling away from people and want to be alone rather than engage with others.  Perhaps you don’t want to be physically touched by your partner or children. 

Related:  “How to Recover From Mom Burnout”

Is it OK to need a break from life?

It is absolutely OK to need a break from life when you recognize that you’re nearing your breaking point.  Furthermore, taking a mental health break is a proactive way to avoid burnout.

We all need a break at some point in our lives, but as moms, we tend to feel guilty whenever we do something for ourselves. But by taking care of yourself first and foremost, you are actually doing the best thing possible to safeguard the well-being of your entire family.

If you’ve been feeling tired, rundown, or overwhelmed, and don’t allow yourself to take a break, you won’t have the physical and mental fortitude to best care for the people you love. 

Actually, you will not be in a place from which you can give to anyone, let alone your children who need and deserve the best of you.

Related:  “How to Put Yourself First Without Feeling Guilty”

What can you do when you need a break from life?

It might seem impossible to take a break from life, but once you recognize the signs that you need one, please don’t ignore them, and certainly don’t feel guilty about it!

Consistently dealing with too much stress for an extended period of time can lead to burnout in the long term so the most important thing and the first step is to acknowledge that it’s ok to feel the way you do. 

Then give yourself permission to honor those feelings by taking the break that you need. Next, you have to figure out a way to make it happen.

This starts with thinking about what kind of break you need and what is logistically possible right now in your professional and/or personal life.

What kind of break can you take?

The kind of break you can take will depend on your current work and childcare situation, as well as the level of support you have available from your partner, extended family, and friends, as well as your financial circumstances.

Regardless of what type of break and how long that break is, the important thing is feeling restored and ready to return to life’s responsibilities with a rejuvenated and fresh perspective.

Regular breaks:

Take time for yourself daily

As I mentioned earlier, the best line of defense against burnout is to take regular breaks or time to recharge on a daily basis.  Maybe you’ve been letting this slip through the cracks and haven’t been taking enough breaks?  Now you’re feeling the effects…

Try to think of a few ways you could add a little self-care to your day.  It doesn’t have to elaborate.  In fact, the simpler the better.  

Things like physical activity, deep breathing exercises, taking time away from social media, or going to bed early can all help you to feel your best. And to make sure these regular breaks happen, actually schedule them into your day. 

If you need some ideas, I’ve got you covered with 60 Simple Acts of Self Care for Busy Moms.

Get rid of obligations

In order to free up some time and give yourself a needed break, you might have to get rid of some obligations.

Take a real hard look at your schedule and think about what might be making you feel overwhelmed or overextended.  What can you let go of in regard to social obligations, commitments at work, family arrangements, etc?

Remember, you are the gatekeeper of what you allow into your calendar and hence into your life.  How can you take back some of your time?

Related: “#1 Reason for Mom Overwhelm and How to Fix It”

Short breaks:

Take yourself on a date

You may find that these regular acts of self-care aren’t cutting it and you need something more.  Would a “mental health day” from life do the trick?

If so, how about taking yourself on a date?  Sometimes a day to yourself is all you need – wander the city by yourself, treat yourself to dinner and a movie, volunteer at an animal shelter for the afternoon, or go on a solo hike.

Spending time alone is healthy and a day spent enjoying your own company every once in a while is often just the break from life that will help to restore you.

Related: “65 Inspiring Enjoy Your Own Company Quotes”

Go on a mini-retreat

How about you take the idea of taking yourself on a date to the next level and go on a mini-retreat?!  It could be just for one night, for the weekend, or even a few days or a week, depending on your situation. 

Can you imagine having a night or two alone in a hotel room or a whole day by yourself doing whatever you want?  All that time to think about nobody else but yourself?  You’ll be amazed by how recharged and refreshed you feel when you come back from this mini-retreat.

By the way, if you can’t afford to stay in a hotel, think about other ways you could get away.  What about house-sitting for a friend, a house swap, or simply going to visit a friend or family member?

Even if you’re not completely alone, it will still do wonders for your mind and spirit to change up your surroundings and remove yourself from the daily grind of housework, kids, job, or whatever else has you in a funk.

Longer breaks:


If a longer break from life is what you desire and you have the means, plan a vacation!  A week spent sitting on the beach or exploring a foreign city you’ve been longing to go to could be just the break you need.

You might choose to go on vacation by yourself, with your partner, kids, friends, or extended family.  Whatever the case, make sure not to overload your vacation with tours, excursions, and activities so that you have the chance to rest. 

It’s important to find the right balance of activity and relaxation for your vacation time.  The idea is to get away from your normal stressors and do something fun in whatever way feels right for you!


Perhaps you need a vacation, but can’t afford to go away?  If so, a staycation to get you away from your day-to-day can be so helpful when you need a break from life.

Take a few days or a week off from your job and use it to relax around the house or plan a few day trips to nearby areas you like visiting.  But remember the point of this staycation is to rest and get the rejuvenation you need so even though you’re home, don’t start catching up on overdue phone calls, cleaning the house, checking work emails, or doing other typical chores. 

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you might ask a family member to visit and help with the usual childcare duties so you can get a break.  Just make sure that person understands why you’ve asked them to visit and that they’re willing to provide the help you’re requesting.  

Leave of absence

If the thought of returning to “real life” after a vacation or staycation makes your stomach turn, then it might be time for an even larger break from life. 

When it’s your job that is your biggest stressor, a leave of absence during which you reassess your career goals and priorities could be in order.  

Maybe you’ve been working a lot of long hours and have been feeling overworked and undervalued, your goals have changed, or you’re simply not invested in your career like you once were.

Use this leave of absence to think about what changes you can make going forward to mitigate the stress your job is causing you.

Life changes:

You might take a break from life and decide that you need to make some major life changes in order to feel happier on a regular basis and protect your well-being going forward.

This could mean quitting your job, shifting your childcare situation, or even your relationship with your partner.

Understandably, it’s not easy to walk away from your career or relationship, overhaul childcare arrangements, or completely change course in any area of life, but it’s important to assess what is possible for you and make whatever changes you can.

It’s also a good idea to talk to a therapist or trusted advisor before making any major life changes and ensure you have any additional support you need before doing so.

Related: “When is Enough Enough?  15 Signs to Know it’s Enough for YOU”

How do you take a break in life as a busy mom?

You may have gotten this far and wholeheartedly agree that you need a break from life.  Heck, you’ll take whatever kind of break you can get, but even the smallest break still feels impossible.  

In that case, it might be time to get a little creative….

9 Creative Ideas for When You Need a Break from Life

9 Creative Ideas For When You Need a Break From Life

1.) Ask a loved one for help

Grandparents are often eager to swoop in and help with childcare, giving you some needed time to yourself.

But if you don’t have family nearby that can help you out, ask a loved one if they would video chat with your little one while you take some time to yourself. 

Schedule it weekly and make it a regular standing in-person or virtual playdate.

2.) Create a “do not disturb” zone for yourself 

When I go into our office/guest bedroom where my Peloton is located, my kids know not to bother me there.  Once they see me headed that way in my workout clothes, it’s a signal that I need some time to myself to recharge with a quick workout.

Try creating your own “do not disturb” zone in your home and let everyone in your household know what it means when you go there.

3.) Set up unexpected “invitations to play”

Sometimes in order to get some time to yourself, you have to set your kids up to play.  Do something that is out of the ordinary or “special” for them in order to spark their imaginations and invite them to play.  

Try setting out an unexpected combination of toys in a room they normally don’t play in or purchasing a new activity book or toy that will excite them and encourage independent play while you take the break you need. 

4.) Don’t be afraid of some screen time

Most kids are happy to enjoy some screen time when allowed.  Some of you may “cancel” me for saying this, but an iPad can be a great babysitter at times.  

I’m not saying that you should let your kids spend countless unmonitored hours on their devices, but don’t feel guilty about a little screen time here and there, especially if it will help give you a break when needed. 

If you’re totally against devices, letting your kids play video games, or they’re too young for that, don’t hesitate to queue up an educational video on the TV or an age-appropriate movie.

5.) Institute quiet time

Your kids may be young enough that they’re still napping and if so, please use this time to do something to restore yourself.  But there will come a day when your kids no longer want or need to nap. 

When that time arrives, a good way to get a break for yourself is to use that former nap time to institute quiet time for everyone.  

I know a mom who was religious about adhering to “quiet hour” every afternoon once her kids all had given up naps.  She would have them read, color, or play quietly in their rooms while she took the time to do something to recharge herself.

6.) Examine your fringe hours

Look closely at your daily and weekly schedule and see if you can better use the small chunks of time on the fringes.  Making use of these odd hours can allow for extra “me time” that is greatly needed.

I started waking up an hour earlier than my kids every weekday for intentional “me time” and it’s been a game changer for me.  If you’re not a morning person, still dealing with broken sleep due to night feedings, or get woken up in the wee hours of the morning by a hungry toddler, this may not work for you.  

Instead, could you take some time after the kids are in bed for the night? Is there a way you could sneak out for a walk after dinner while your husband does bath and books?  What about getting out of the house early on a weekend morning before the family is stirring? 

7.) Arrange a childcare swap

An obvious suggestion is to ask a family member for help with childcare or hire a babysitter for a few hours a week to give you a break.  But if this is not a realistic option for you, how about a childcare swap with another mom?

Figure out a time when she can watch your kids while you get in a workout, enjoy a coffee at your local coffeehouse, wander the aisles of Target alone, or do anything else that will help you to feel rejuvenated. Then, another day, you’ll do the same for her.

8.) Implement a rotating parent’s night out with your partner

Choose one night each week or each month (whatever works for your family) that you’re free to go out and do whatever you want while your partner manages the home front.  The next week, switch it up and he gets a night to himself.  

Dedicate the night off to your social life or lock yourself in your bedroom to read a good book or watch your favorite show.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.  Just take the free time to recharge and reset.

9.)  Try a “do whatever you want night”

“Do whatever you want night” is a night where we give our kids permission to stay up late, eat tons of junk food, play video games, and basically do whatever they want, as long it doesn’t involve bothering mommy and daddy.

It’s not something we do often and it usually involves way too much screen time and junk food, but it’s fun for the kids and allows for a needed break for the parents.

Do you need a break from life?

After reading this post, I hope you’re better able to answer that question and feel confident that if the answer is yes, it’s okay to admit it and take the break you need.

Doing so will help to safeguard your mental health and avoid burnout, both of which are of the utmost importance. Listen to yourself and make space for what you need in order to feel your best. 

Did you like this post?  Check out some others along these lines:

Hustle Mode: 5 Warning Signs You Need to Slow Down and REST

50 Super Simple Ideas for Self Care Saturdays

How To Glow Up Mentally: 25 Essential Tips

Does Being Selfless Make You a Good Mom?

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1 thought on “Need a Break From Life?  9 Creative Ideas for Busy Moms”

  1. So many excellent, practical ways to give yourself a break from life.. Carly has creative suggestions that we all can benefit from, not only busy moms. So well-stated as always!

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