5 Spare Time Tricks for Mom

Make the most of your free time with these clever tricks.
Make the most of your free time with these clever tricks.

Go, go, go. Work, kids and everything that life throws our way -- it's amazing that during the daily grind we ever find a few moments of quiet time but it's been known to happen.

It's about time you took advantage of your spare time - and we have a few suggestions how to enjoy it. First up? Reintroducing yourself to your former leisure activities.



Catch Up on a Hobby

It's easy to get bogged down and stressed out in our everyday lives, and when that happens what usually falls off the task list? Time for ourselves. Which is really too bad because making time for your hobbies - anything from reading and scrapbooking to sports or buying new music for your iPod - is important for your emotional wellbeing.

Our hobbies keep us happy. As it turns out, our hobbies can also keep us healthy. The daily grind can cause depression and anxiety, both of which contribute to physical complaints, running the gamut from lack of energy to digestive and sleep disorders.



Time to Lean Means Time to Clean

There's no doubt that household chores are mundane and often time consuming. Rather than spending all day Saturday mopping and scrubbing, take advantage of a spare minutes to keep things tidy.

With just a 15 minute (or less!) time investment, you can make a respectable dent in the disarray. In the living room? Grab a rag and dust just. Kitchen? Scrub the sink and do a quick sweep of the floor. Keep bathrooms and kitchens neat by spraying counters and sinks daily with disinfectant, giving mildew and germs little time to set up camp.


And in less than a minute you can create the illusion of tidiness with small effort: fluff the pillows on the couch, fold the kitchen towel that was left on the counter or make the bed.

Tip: Discreetly store cleaning materials where you might be able to fit in a minute or two to clean. For example, keep a can of disinfecting wipes under each bathroom sink in the house.


Trade Your Slippers for Sneakers

Americans spend nearly five hours a day -- an average of 151 hours a month -- parked in front of the TV, repots Nielson Media Research. While there's nothing wrong with catching up with What Not to Wear (in fact, we encourage it!), channel surfing is no substitute for exercise. We all should trade button pushing for bench pressing. Or at least take a walk around the block.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), adults should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, enough to break a sweat, five times a week. There's no need to do it all at once or even join a gym to hit this goal. If you use a spare 10 minutes to walk around the block three times a day, five days a week you'll hit that 150 minute recommendation.


And yes, mowing the lawn for 10 minutes counts!


Monotony in a Minivan

You didn't plan to sit in your car while traffic moves at a snail's pace. Inevitably, though, we all find ourselves mindlessly tapping on the steering wheel and wondering what's causing this jam. It's monotonous, sure, but if you stash a few things in your car to plan ahead for moments like these the time morphs from boring into time that's been set free.

Use this newly found spare time to catch up on an audio book or practice vocabulary words with a language CD or listen to a recently downloaded podcast. Are your kids in the car with you? Pass out word games or play another family favorite, such as the license plate game or 20 Questions.



Veg Out


Whatever it is that's next on your "to do" list can wait. Taking a little time to yourself during the day is important for your emotional wellness. Veg out and listen to some good music, do some people watching or read some words of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey.


Stealing a little time to relax every day will help recharge your mind and body - with as little as 15 minutes of chill time you'll lower your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption. Sometimes doing a little more "nothing" is key to life balance.