• From Real Moms: 12 Simple Things to Do for a Relaxing Me-Time

    We asked what you'd love to do with some extra hours in a day. Here are the suggestions we love best.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • From Real Moms: 12 Simple Things to Do for a Relaxing Me-Time
    IMAGE Julian Jagtenberg/Pexels
  • Motherhood demands a lot from a woman, starting from pregnancy until the kids are grown up. It's a continuous learning experience, and often, 24 hours isn't enough to accomplish the endless to-do list. The funny thing is, moms are so used to a tight schedule, they probably won't know what to do in the rare occasion they get extra time.

    So we asked fellow moms on Facebook what they thought they could do if they had a few free hours in a day, that doesn't involve sleep (because this one is a given, right?), and many came up with useful and realistic tips. Here are some of the best suggestions.  

    Get lost in a book.
    "I'd read a book. I'd snuggle in a corner, make coffee, and read." -- Aleks Poppins

    There are a lot of books that you can immerse yourself in. We highly recommend this reading list for some light reading, or maybe these books that can inspire you. 

    Go with Toddlers are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault for extra real parenting tips (no sugarcoating added!), or opt for 1,001 Ways to Live Wild: A Little Book of Everyday Adventures

    Clean and declutter.
    "Major general cleaning while listening to good music." -- Lourdes Pangan

    While this counts as a chore still, cleaning and organizing can be an effective relaxation therapy. Start with cleaning and decluttering. Or better yet, have a happier home with a simple makeover! Tackle your home per room or area. Start with your closet. Segregate into keep, donate, or throw. Use nifty storage boxes to coral similar items.

    Have a well-deserved pampering.
    "I would like to have a good and relaxing two hours of full body massage." -- Mariz Rama

    Even if it's just a long bath, go for it! There are a lot of inexpensive yet relaxing spas in the metro. If you can splurge, go with the best. (Devarana Spa at Dusit Thani hotel offers authentic Thai massages which may be done with treatments such as sea salt scrubs.) Or, have a day at the salon with your kids (Bowmanbear Barber Shop caters to kids and their parents!) or your girlfriends (A mani-pedi sesh at Manos isn't only a pampering treat, but you're also doing a good deed for the environment!).

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    Catch up on your viewing.
    "Watch my fave TV series without interruption” -- Vanessa Basilio-Liwanag

    Netflix’s online streaming offers many movies (Cannes' nominated Okja, Brad Pitt's War Machine) and TV shows (Designated Survivor, Gilmore Girls, Girlboss, A Series of Unfortunate Events), documentaries (Chef's Table), and stand-up comedies (try Jo Koy: Live From Seattle) that are binge-worthy. If you like homegrown videos, iFlix has a few that’s worth your time. 

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    Cook or bake something yummy.
    "I'd search for new recipes and recreate [them]!” -- Gena Chua

    For food enthusiasts, getting busy in the kitchen can be relaxing as well. Test your skills with these recipes. If you’re not too keen on your baking skills, there are no-bake cakes and treats you can easily do!

    This Pork Steak in Asparagus-Mustard Sauce only has five ingredients and takes only 30 minute to cook.

    What you'll need: 4 pork steaks; salt and ground black pepper, to taste; olive oil for frying; 2 tablespoons cream of asparagus soup powder; 2 teaspoons prepared mustard; 1 cup water

    Make it: Season pork steaks with salt and ground black pepper to taste. In a frying pan over medium heat, pan fry pork steaks in olive oil until done, and then set aside. Lower heat and then in the same pan, sprinkle soup powder over 2 tablespoons leftover oil and stir to make a roux. Add in mustard and water and whisk to combine, and then simmer until thickened. Pour over pork steaks and serve with steamed white rice and vegetables.


    Then, end your meals by making this four-ingredient no-bake Black Forest Icebox cake.

    What you'll need: 9 pieces chocolate graham crackers; 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks; 1/2 cup fresh cherries, chopped; and 1/4 cup dark chocolate, shaved

    Make it: Whip heavy cream into stiff peaks and then set aside. Layer graham crackers into a 5x5-inch pan. Spread 1/4 cup of cream over it, and layer with 1/4 cup cherries. Sprinkle shaved dark chocolate on top. Repeat layers one more time and garnish with whole cherries and more dark chocolate. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm before serving. 

    Go shopping!
    “Go shopping (if there is a budget).” -- Cathy Santos

    Retail therapy works. When you’re at the store, make sure you pick something for yourself as well (not just for your kids). Check out these new shops (Urban Mom in Quezon City, Fifi & Co in San Juan, Zippy at U.P Town Center and SM North) for mom and baby, or go online at Zalora or Lazada.

    Get creative.
    "Stitching or any kind of crafts." Jay-ann Nazario

    Getting busy with your hands is one way to pass the time. Make magnetic paper dolls, a flip book (drawings) or stop motion (clay creations) animation, or wowen paintings!


    It’s good for your kids to see your creative side. Who knows? Maybe they’d share your passion for arts, too. You can even turn it into a business, too. Teach a group of friends how to do caligraphy, stamping, and more!

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    Plant some greens.
    “Magtanim ng halaman at bulaklak.” - Shaun Paul Reli Irlandez 

    Not everyone has a green thumb, but anyone can try. Grow fruits and veggies at home. or if you don‘t have space, pocket gardens work just as well. Visit Cedarhills Garden Center, Agri-Aqua Network International (AANI), or SIDCOR Sunday Market to get you started. Or get MNLGrowkits's Sow & Gro kit, which already contains a pot, seeds of your choice, soil, fertilizer, a how-to-grow guide, and even a plant marker. 

    Travel alone.
    “Go to the beach” - Mariam Deji Shelle 

    Involve your partner in baby care so you’ll have fewer worries when you travel to a relaxing destination for a day or two by yourself. Taking the kids to their grandparents works, too. Learn from this mom’s experience. Palawan and Baguio are good relaxing spots and seem to be friendly to solo travelers. For places within the metro, book a staycation in boutique hotels such as Azumi Boutique Hotel in Alabang or Cocoon Boutique Hotel in Quezon City, 

    Get moving!
    "Go to the gym if I had an extra time." -- Dezere Espinocilla Tillada 

    It may not be a go-to activity during your free time. but trust us, it’s good for you. If you have not picked up an exercise regimen yet, start now. Walking or jogging is a safe choice; just get the appropriate footwear.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, try something bold but easy, like aerial yoga at Beyond Yoga; it's like yoga; only you're suspended on air by a hammock-like (but very strong) fabric.

    You can also try spinning at Ride Revolution in Shangri-La. It's really just like riding a stationary with a set program. 

    Improve yourself
    “Learn a new skill” -- Rochelle Quilantang 

    Who says you cannot pursue your dreams when you have kids? You can finally pursue a Master's Degree, or sign up with online courses. Harvard offers a lot of online degree courses. At-home or long-distance learning is a big thing now, so that might make things easier. Many moms, celebrities or not, are proof that it can be done. 

    Go on a date!
    “Date with my hubby. We have three kids, and we're not able to spend time with each other.” - Maridan Ricafrente

    Rekindle that kilig and get happy hormones flowing. Set up a unique date aside from eating out, or have it at home (with the kids away or asleep). Better yet, plan another honeymoon with your hubby. Tagaytay and Subic are obvious choices if you want to be near the city, while Cebu, Bacolod, and Bohol are for those who like a more peaceful and food-filled getaway. 

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