To Your Health: Moms get less downtime than dads. Let’s change that

Mother’s Day is this Sunday — no better time to appreciate how much moms work. Or rather, acknowledge that they need more time off.

There has long been a “leisure gap” between moms and dads. In survey after survey, fathers report getting in more downtime – in front of the TV, out with friends, or exercising – than moms.

A study last year estimated dads get in about 27 ½ hours of leisure time each week. That’s about three more hours than moms – a not-so-tiny chunk considering the busy nature of modern living.

And earlier this year, the Pew Research Center reported the biggest difference in leisure time between moms and dads is on the weekends: Dads said they spent about 11 hours on the weekends on leisure activities; moms said they had about nine hours for leisure on the weekends.

Everybody wants more time off. But getting downtime isn’t just about having fun. Leisure helps lower stress levels, boost your mood and promote healthy relationships.

Research has even found that leisure time can improve memory, productivity and focus, and encourage creativity.

So let’s make sure moms start getting the leisure time they deserve.

Moms: You don’t even have to wait for Mother’s Day to roll around. You can start right now, with activities that aren’t big time commitments, but will help you re-focus, de-stress and rejuvenate.

Liliha 8Here are some ideas:

Take a stroll around the neighborhood. Or jump in the car and head for your favorite park. Bring friends or family and catch up.

Read a book. Remember those? Pick up that great novel that you had to stop reading mid-way through because you were so busy. Or consider an audiobook. Put in your earphones, get a cup of tea, and let someone else read to you.

Meditate. Really meditate — as in, don’t distract yourself with your phone or sit with your legs crossed in front of the TV. Just take a few moments and enjoy some silence.

Start a writing journal. Or pick up that paintbrush you put down in college. Hobbies are a great stress reliever, and an opportunity for you to flex your creative muscles. Try embarking on a fun project with a friend, or take up a new hobby with your child or spouse.

Just sit and enjoy the scenery. We live in Hawaii, but we’re so busy we don’t always get to enjoy it. Set up a comfortable chair on your balcony or in front of your picture window. Or bring your beach chair to a picturesque spot and really take it in that awesome view.

Share your own ideas! How do you squeeze small chunks of rest and relaxation into your day?

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